Organization: Getting It Together

Sep 18, 2017

Words by Kellie Nock

I know, I know. This was supposed to be a fun blog about activities to de-stress. Don’t let the title fool you — it will still be a fun blog. I know organization isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of unwinding. It can even be overwhelming, but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be. Sitting down and getting organized is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself in the future. So, hello, future you, you’re welcome in advance.

First, we need our arsenal. Get a yearly planner, get some Post-It notes and get some fun with highlighters and stickers. It’s time to hunker down and strap up. My first step is to typically look at all my syllabi and go through them. Most syllabi have a class calendar on them with the due dates of each assignment and exam, so go ahead and mark them in your planner. After you mark all of the important stuff down, don’t forget to add in the fun stuff worth remembering, like holidays and birthdays. Anniversaries and events are important too. Without the fun stuff, it can feel a little too serious, and remembering your friends and family members’ birthdays is always important. Plus, any excuse to use stickers is a good excuse.

This planner is your new best friend. It will go everywhere with you. Take it in the bathtub for all I care ‒ whatever helps you remember to have it on you. When you’re out and about, it’ll be useful for noting assignments or events that you hear about outside of a syllabus.

Now, bear with me. All of this stuff about planners may seem like common sense, but a lot of my friends and colleagues remark on how stressed they are, and those are always the people who don’t use any form of organization to keep track of due dates. It’s OK to not be constantly writing things down in your planner, but giving it a quick look at the beginning and end of the day will help you get a grip on what you got done, and what you still need to do.

So, you’ve got your planner full of information. What next? My best recommendation is to grab five or six Post-It notes. Put them somewhere you will look often, maybe a desk or a cupboard. Mark one for each day of the week, then write what is due on those days. As the week goes by, cross off each task you have completed. It’s satisfying when every to-do is crossed off your list for the week.

So, while it’s not yoga or rock-climbing, staying organized is still a big part of de-stressing. You’ll be thanking yourself when no assignments creep up on you the day of the deadline and your stress doesn’t come to bite you in the butt.