Guide To Staying Organized - 3 Tips You Can Actually Stick To
Written by: Diane Jeon
As seen in the September 2018 Lazy Faire issue
You start the school year feeling prepared for your courses, jobs, and other commitments. You have the snazziest bullet journal, email notifications cleared out, and Google calendar updated to the minute. Then, after rolling pass syllabus week, opportunities and their associated stresses come flying out of nowhere and what seemed like an easy-peasy lemon-squeezy year becomes difficult-difficult lemon-difficult.
Truly, this is not uncommon among students, particularly ambitious “yes” individuals within our Business faculty. To help mitigate your risks of overburden and chaos, here are three tips for organization that may actually make this year, your year.
Find your tools.
And I don’t mean start using seven different platforms. Keep it simple, test things out, and choose one or two methods that work for you. These tools should keep your priorities and timelines in check. Need help choosing? Consider some of the tried options below:
Description: an online “Kanban” style system - or, a visual workflow platform that stores your tasks and projects in the form of cards and then arranges the cards by category.
Purpose: project management.
Can be used on desktop and mobile
Offers add-ons like Zapier that causes an action to occur automatically based on triggers you set
Offers Power Ups such as Calendar or Google Drive
Can be limited in collaboration features
Can be difficult for non-visual learners
Can lose visibility as the number of tasks increases
Requires the user to have a process in mind already
Description: a cloud-based team project management software where “tasks” are created to monitor individual components of a wider project.
Purpose: task and project management on a group level.
Free for groups up until 15 people
Intuitive and user-friendly
Can be used on mobile and offline
Offers project timeline features and calendar mode
Offers inbox feature to receive updates and comments on specific tasks
Can integrate with Gmail, Slack, Microsoft Outlook, Dropbox, Google Drive, Zapier, and more.
Unable to view all projects and timelines in one place/on one page
Can be “too flexible” of an interface
Not intended for solely individual use
Sends many, many email updates
Description: A small paper book used for recording memos, writing, and sketches
Purpose: depends on your imagination
Pros: only limited by your imagination
Con: also limited to the physical world
Find your motivation.
This step is usually where students falter. Losing motivation occurs around the second month of the school semester. We often forget that staying organized is a continual process. When motivation is low, so is the capacity to maintain timelines and tasks.
Prior to starting any project, it’s important to identify why you wanted to start it in the first place. After identifying it, write it down. Refer back to it during tribulations to remind yourself why you began.
This motivation-identification is necessary for school semesters as well. Why are you in school? Why are you in business? Try framing each semester as one out of your eight or nine stepping stones in finishing a degree that will propel you to your next step in life.
Find your grace.
You’re likely going to fail. It’s daunting for me to say this, but I don’t mean you’re going to crash and burn. However, it’s very possible that somewhere down the road, you will stumble or veer off track slightly in the onslaught of the new semester. And that’s okay. Recognizing that failure is part of the process and allowing for buffer time in your plans will set you up more seamless organization, growth, and true success.
Good luck this fall!