How to be a super organised student
18th September 2014
When ever I am asked to describe myself in an interview the first word out of my mouth is “organised”. I wouldn’t say that I’m obsessed about organising but I do think it helps to make life a little easier. And if ever there is an important time in life to be organised it is when you are a student.
Here are my tips for being organised as a student. It’s all about knowing what you are suppose to be doing as well as where and when.
Write out a detailed copy of your timetable for the year
Some may find this extreme and perhaps a little over-prepared but I found that when I had a detailed copy of my timetable for the year it things a lot easier.
Due to the way my timetable works, some weeks I have lectures for a particular module and sometimes I don’t. Some times I have additional lab work or GIS practicals. It’s good to have a plan of everything so I know exactly what is going on each week and each day.
This way I’m ready is someone asks if I’m available for a certain day or when I’m trying to organise appointments at the doctors etc.
To make this timetable I take all of my timetables for the year (I have one for each module) and put them together so there is one table for each week. I include details regarding the lecturer’s name and what type of session it is i.e. practical, GIS, lecture.
This is what my detailed timetable looks like for this year. I printed it out for quick reference. I also made additional notes and alterations as the year goes on.
Use a diary to plan out your week
On a Saturday or Sunday before the new week begins, I take my detailed timetable and write all relevant details into my diary. I also include extra notes such as deadlines and meetings.
I use a colour coding system in my diary. For example, field trips are marked with green, holidays with blue, deadlines with orange, etc.
Here’s a good example of a busy week from February. I use abbreviations for modules (i.e. G&D is globalisation and development) so that’s why it looks like gibberish.
If you aren’t a fan of using a diary, you might prefer to use a weekly planner like these ones available from Paperchase.
Plan out your day
So, we’ve been breaking it down one step at a time: year, week and now day.
Take a few minutes out of your morning (or the night before if you’re not a morning person) to look over your day in your diary or planner. It’s a good idea to know exactly what you are going to be up to for the rest of the day. It might help you to plan travel times, meals and what to wear.
You can also see when you have time free to get on with other daily tasks such as cleaning, food shopping, assignments, etc.
Use alarms and timers
This won’t work for everyone but using alarms on your phone can be a great way to keep you on track. You can set them to remind you to attend lectures or meetings.
When I study I use a timer. I usually set the timer for 30 minutes. I work for 30 minutes then take a 5 to 10 minute break to walk around, snack or browse the internet. It’s no good over working yourself. Working in small intervals is so much more beneficial.
Make sure you give yourself a break!
This tip won’t get you organised but will help when everything becomes a bit too much.
I find that students either don’t give themselves enough breaks or give themselves too many. It’s important to find the right balance.
Every now and then you need to give yourself some time to relax and to forget about your worries. University/college can be a stressful time so you need to let go and live a little. Whether you prefer to go out and socialise with your friends or stay in with a good book and a bubble bath, do something that takes your mind off your everyday worries.
Having an organised life as a student will help you to find time that you dedicate to yourself.