Organization might be the last thing on your mind now that you’re living on your own. Your room can be as messy as you want since there’s no one to fuss at you! (Except, perhaps, your roommate.)
But organization goes way beyond cleaning up physical clutter. How you organize your mind and your time in college will greatly influence your success and keep your stress levels low.
Some of the best boarding schools and college prep programs will teach you these life skills to help you with your course work in high school, and the same tactics can be carried over into your college career. Here are some of our top tips!
Organizing Your Time: Write It Down!
Traditionally, an agenda book has helped college students keep track of due dates, tests, breaks and fun events. But today there are a plethora of mobile apps you can use, depending on what’s easiest for you.
The key thing is to track absolutely everything. As soon as you get your syllabus, record the important dates in your calendar. Sometimes it is also helpful to pencil in additional actions. For example, starting 3 days before a test, write “3 DAYS TO STUDY.” That way, if you forget to look far enough ahead in your calendar to prepare, you should at least have a three-day warning and still have time to study.
Make sure you always look about a week ahead. Even if it’s Thursday, look ahead to the next week so that you know what you need to do over the weekend.
Organizing Your Mind: Taking Care of What Matters
Few people realize the importance of keeping their mind organized. With mental organization comes mental clarity. When we have a million things swirling around in our minds, it’s virtually impossible to focus on the task at hand. This can make concentrating during a lecture very difficult, not to mention trying to study or do research.
Learning how to push aside distractions in order to focus on the present will not only make it easier for you to study and get your school work done, but it will also make you a happier individual. And that’s just as important as anything you could learn in a textbook. It means you’re less likely to “take your work home with you” and to spend quality time with your family when you’re older, for example. It also means you won’t worry yourself to death while forgetting to be grateful for what you have.
There are many strategies that can help you focus on the present. One is called mindfulness meditation, but look up other methods that might work better for you.
Organizing Your Space Matters Too
Have you ever been stressed about writing a paper or studying for an exam that you begin to procrastinate even though you know you shouldn’t? When we have trouble concentrating on the task at hand, we’re easily distracted by other things. One of the biggest distractions can be other items on our to-do list, such as cleaning up the house.
You end up being tremendously productive on everything but your school work. This can happen regardless of how clean you keep your surroundings, but a calm, clean room can help create a calm, relaxed state of mind. There is nothing to immediately distract you.
Staying organized isn’t about being a neat and tidy person for appearance’s sake; it’s about reducing your stress so you can enjoy your life!