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How to Stay Organized as a Busy College Student By: Kathryn Sherrock

Being a college student is a time to become independent, responsible, and engaged. Students are encouraged to take challenging courses, get involved with clubs or organizations, make new friends, stay physically fit, apply to internships and jobs, AND get 8 hours of sleep. All at the same time! It can be extremely challenging for students to multitask and not become overwhelmed, stressed, and burnt out. Staying organized and effectively managing time can reduce stress, burnout, and increase productivity! 

How can busy college students do it all? Here are some tips for staying organized:

  1. Use a planner: Using a planner has been a lifesaver for me throughout college! Keeping track of assignments, deadlines, and classes is crucial to managing a busy college schedule. I use my planner to help me visualize what I have to do in upcoming days, weeks, and months. The planner I use has both a weekly and monthly calendar, so I am able to track extracurricular events, school breaks, assignments, etc. in different ways. 

  1. To-do list: I have gotten into the habit of keeping a daily to-do list in college, and it is one of the organization strategies that has helped me most! Daily to-do lists allow you to prioritize tasks based on deadlines and assignments. I used to get overwhelmed and stressed by looking at a long list of things I had to do, but making a to-do list allows me to break down large tasks into smaller, manageable ones. I don’t think I would get anything done if it wasn’t for my daily to-do list!

  1. Use a calendar: Whether it is in a planner, your computer, or phone, using a calendar to write in events and assignments is a great tool for organization! I personally use the calendar in my planner, but I know a lot of people use websites such as Google Calendar! I have personally found that using a calendar reduces stress because I am able to visualize what I have in the coming weeks and months ahead. For example, if I see that I have an exam in two weeks, I know how to properly allocate my time with other classes and activities, so I am not cramming to study at the last minute!

  1. Find when & where you are most productive: Discovering where and when you are most productive is a crucial aspect of staying organized in college! For me personally, I am the most productive in a quiet space. On campus, I prefer going to the silent floor at the library so I am able to focus and get work done. I have also found that I am able to focus and retain information the best during late morning and early afternoon hours. Knowing the environment and time of day you are able to focus and be productive in can lead to reduced stress, procrastination, and more free time!

  1. Avoid procrastination: Procrastination can be your worst enemy in college! It can lead to missed assignments, poor grades, all-nighters, and cramming last-minute for exams. Which is no fun! From experience, I have found that my best quality work is never done when I have waited until the last minute. Procrastination can also lead to increased levels of stress and anxiety. College is already a stressful time, do not let procrastination make it worse! 

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