5 Ways To Stay Organized And Focused This Semester
At the beginning of the semester it seems like staying organized will be a piece of cake. Once you get into the first few weeks or so, assignments start to pile up and it is easy for things to get out of hand.
College life is extremely busy with several classes, extracurriculars, sports and clubs. Remembering to do everything and be where you need to be can get frustrating, so it is very helpful to have a system to keep everything straight in your academic life.
Here are tips and strategies to keep you organized and focused this semester.
1. Actually PRINT your class syllabus.
Of course professors normally review the course syllabus with the class on the first day. However, many colleges are trying to cut down on paper usage, so professors do not give students a hard copy of the syllabus.
Print out the important dates section of the syllabus, which includes assignment due dates and quiz and exam dates. This is important to keep on hand, so you can always know when something is due and won’t be taken by surprise when you are given a quiz or exam.
2. Have a planner and USE it.
One of the most difficult things about being successful in college is balancing everything. Between four or more classes, sports practice, homework, attending different sports events, papers and hanging with friends, it can seem like there is not a second to spare … or sleep.
Buy a planner and record important dates such as exam dates, football games, paper due dates and choir practice. You can also try to color code different classes and activities to make it easier to read.
Before making any plans with friends or anything that is not a priority over school, check your planner to make sure you will have the free time. Don’t schedule to go to the movies or a party with friends if you have a paper due that day, an exam the next day and know you won’t have the time to study.
3. Make DAILY and weekly “to-do” lists.
It may seem sort of old school, but when you have a lot of things to get done, you can get overwhelmed or possibly forget about something important. Writing all different tasks out can settle your mind and make sure you get everything done.
First start out writing a general “to-do” list of tasks that need to be done within a week or so (you can also write the due dates next to each task). This can include reading assignments, homework, papers, studying, and even going to Target for milk or vacuuming your apartment.
Next make a “to-do” list for that particular day; this breaks down your long “to-do” list and makes it seem manageable. Add a few tasks that you have pre-prioritized (do not do a paper that is due next Friday before a paper that is due two days from now).
This will make sure you stay on track and get things done in a timely manner, rather than last minute cramming. After accomplishing each task it will feel great crossing them off your list for that day and your weekly “to-do” list.
4. Make ALARMS for tasks on your smartphone.
Creating alarms in your smartphone is another great tool to improve your time management skills. Label alarms for any kind of task you need to do.
If you are reading the assigned chapters for a class in your dorm and have soccer practice that evening, set an alarm: “Soccer Practice *soccer ball emoji*.” This way you can stay focused on homework and make sure you won’t be late for practice!
Considering you will always have your phone with you, it is the perfect way to keep a constant reminder of staying focused on school.
5. Do NOT procrastinate.
When you are in college it is almost impossible to not procrastinate (especially with writing papers). Sometimes it feels easier to put things off to have some fun or just watch a movie and relax for once. However, it really creates more pressure in your life and could possibly do a lot of harm to your grades.
All of these tips can help you stay clear of procrastinating. When you get into the habit of getting things done a day or so before they are due, you will notice how much better you feel. You will have a weight lifted off your shoulders rather than adding more stress by waiting until last minute.
Good luck this semester!
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