Whether you’re getting ready for your first year or coming back for your last, back-to-school can be challenging and overwhelming after a long summer.
Having a strong plan to stay organized is the best way to welcome back school and extracurricular commitments. Here are 3 must-have tools that will help you stay organized when starting the new school year:
Keeping track of your long-term commitments is one way to keep yourself organized. When you’re taking a full course load, participating in numerous student clubs, and networking at on-campus events, it’s very easy to fall behind in your work or forget about an important commitment. Listing out all the assignments and major events you have each month is a good way to keep your busy schedule on track, so you can judge when you’ll be the busiest during the semester.
Try using a calendar app on your computer that you can sync to your phone – this will allow you to easily make changes or additions when you’re on the go. Start by filling in class times, assignment due dates, and club events at the beginning of each month. Then, you can update it weekly and add in new commitments.
Planning out your long-term responsibilities is a great start. However, looking at all the tasks you have to complete in a month can be daunting, so the next step is to prioritize by keeping a short-term to-do list.
A whiteboard is the perfect tool for this. Prioritizing, keeping a list of what you want to accomplish in a given week, and tackling each task one by one is an excellent way to ensure you finish everything in a stress-free way. One way to effectively organize your to-do list is to keep a large whiteboard above your desk or somewhere you’ll see it everyday that lists all your weekly to-do’s. This way, you can organize related tasks by urgency and leave yourself additional reminders.
Agenda or daily planner
For day-to-day personal reminders, there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned agenda. Recording homework, assignment, or group meeting reminders in your day planner is a great way to make sure you haven’t missed transferring anything from your calendar or whiteboard. Keeping a planner is also a great way to determine what time of day you’re free to complete a given task. For example, when you have a 20 minute break between classes, use that time to catch up on emails.
You can keep track of your daily plan using a notebook or using an online application. The reminder app on your phone is also a great tool, as it allows you to categorize each task, check them off when completed, and set frequent reminders for more urgent tasks. You can also sync the app from your phone to your computer, giving you access to the list wherever you go.