How to Actually Stay Organized this Semester
Most of us want to start the new semester with a plan to be organized. Here's how to actually follow it this time.
Get a Planner
Planners come in all formats, colors, shapes and sizes, and they are the best way to make sure you stay on top of things. To find the perfect planner for you, check out this article.
Fill It, and Then Add More
Planners are useless unless you use them consistently. When you get your syllabi at the beginning of the semester, start filling your planner. Most teachers lay out their entire plan of readings, assignments, projects and exams in their syllabus, so make sure to put all of that in your planner ASAP. As the semester goes on, adjust what you’ve written as needed, and make sure to add appointments, plans with friends, work deadlines, your weekly workout schedule, etc.
Keep a Necessities Stash in Your Backpack
Go to the dollar store or Walmart and buy a notebook and plenty of pencils and pens. Keep these in your backpack for the rest of the semester. That way, you’ll always have paper and writing utensilswhen you need them. If your class requires scantrons, buy a pack of them to put in your backpack as well. Next time an exam rolls around, you can focus solely on studying.
Unsubscribe from Emails You Never Read
Almost everyone has subscribed to at least one email list that they never pay any attention to. Cleaning out your inbox can help you feel less cluttered and more organized. Unsubscribing will also keep you from being distracted when your phone or computer alerts you about an email you won't even read.
Get a Budgeting App
Tracking your spending habits is a huge step toward organizing your life. Personally, I use the app “Spending” to track my money, but there are a ton of budgeting apps out there you can use.
Using a budgeting app can help you realize how much money you waste on things like eating out, and it helps you figure out better ways to spend your money. It is a great way to organize your finances, and I highly recommend it.
Attach a small whiteboard or magnetic notepad to your fridge for quick reminders. Use this for grocery lists, future errands, or even for passive-aggressive notes to your roommates.
Clean as You Go
To prevent a massive pile of chaos and doom from building up in your dorm or apartment, clean up messes as they occur. Put clothes into your laundry basket immediately instead of leaving them on the floor, or put your dishes into the dishwasher immediately instead of letting them stack up in the sink. Small actions will save you a lot of time later, and they'll keep you from feeling drowned in unnecessary clutter.
For chores that are a little more intense, such as cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming or doing laundry, try to schedule a specific time to do them. If you see that you have a free hour on Mondays or Thursdays, plan to do a chore then. Organizing your chores will keep them from piling up.
Plan for Surprises
Whether the good kind or the bad, surprises tend to happen often. Consider setting aside money for unfortunate events like speeding tickets or parking violations. Plan free time on certain days in case you or your friends want to get together. Essentially, expect the unexpected, and you will be much less stressed.
Take Care of Yourself
While your classes are important, the best way to keep your GPA up and help yourself to stay on top of your responsibilities is to take care of your personal health, both physically and mentally. If you aren’t mentally or physically capable of doing anything in your newly organized life, becoming organized loses its purpose. Make sure you are taking care of yourself, and you should have a wonderful semester! Here are some of our best tips for maintaining mental wellness.
Whether it was your New Year’s Resolution, or you just felt like doing it, becoming organized is a wonderful goal. It can relieve stress, keep your dorm or apartment cleaner, and may even help you save money! Best of luck to you all!
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Lydia P.