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A GUIDE TO ORGANIZATION: A GUIDE FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS Learning how to be organized is crucial, whether you’re a senior about to graduate from high school or a freshman starting college next fall.

Not only will you need this ability to manage your academic and social obligations while in college, but you’ll also need it to complete projects and meet deadlines in your job in the future.

You’re right if you think it’s hard for me to outline exactly how to be organized step-by-step. Instead, I want to show you some of the strategies I’ve used and offer suggestions for how you may modify them to fit your particular working style.

How to Be Organized: College Student Edition - Get your studying under control and improve your grades (and life) by learning how to get and stay organized while in school!

THE ESSENTIALS: USE A PLANNER THAT SUITS YOU I love planners, as you may have observed if you’ve visited my site for a long.

The explanation is straightforward: not only do they assist me in controlling my thoughts, but they also stop me from covering my room in hundreds of sticky notes.

Finding the ideal planner should be your first priority while back-to-school shopping as a college student. One that breaks down information by month, week, and year may be preferred by you, or you may choose a more general one without as many bells and whistles.

Recently, Erin Condren sent me their LifePlanner along with a ton of other incredible items, and I have absolutely fallen in love. It’s crucial for me to have all of my lists and to-dos in one location because I work remotely and have multiple projects to manage at once.

Sincerely, I think I would have liked this planner in college.

In addition to the 18 months in mine, I also have monthly calendars and weeks divided into days, which I can mark with their adorable stickers or vibrant pens to indicate undertakings or critical deadlines.

How to Be Organized: College Student Edition - Get your studying under control and improve your grades (and life) by learning how to get and stay organized while in school!

One of the finest things you can do when organizing your planner is to enter all due dates for your deadlines, assignments, tests, and social commitments (such as clubs, organizations, and intramural sports).

To make these dates stand out so that you always know when they are approaching, you may use stickers, various pen colors, or tabs. I have been employing the Erin Condren stickers and rollerball pens (one pictured above).

SEARCH FOR YOUR HAPPY PLACE Being out of touch with what made me feel peaceful and focused was one of the worst mistakes I made as a college student. I didn’t start being more organized when I had inspirational words to look at until after I graduated.

Some of my acquaintances have become more organized by surrounding themselves with mementos from their homes or items they genuinely find interesting (because we all know that doing that whole organization thing isnt everyones favorite). Sometimes you have to entice your mind to change and carry out acts, and you might even have to offer it a cookie as payment (but seriously chocolate worked for me every time).

How to Be Organized: College Student Edition - Get your studying under control and improve your grades (and life) by learning how to get and stay organized while in school!

TIP FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS: Positive language may not be your cup of tea. I got it. It is not effective for everyone. However, it’s crucial that you choose the approach that works best for you so that you can develop the habit of making and adhering to a schedule.

To get clear on what you need to succeed and stay organized in college, I’d suggest asking yourself some of the following questions:

Why am I attending college, exactly? Which of the organizational techniques I’ve tried in the past have failed? What was it about those tools that made them so unreliable? Can you honestly state that you have given something your all over the previous two weeks if you claim it isn’t working? What triggers a sense of tranquility in me? REMAIN CLEAN IN YOUR DESK AREA. Even though I’m a stickler for cleanliness and organization, I still have trouble keeping my desk free of clutter. My desk can literally appear like a whirlwind just a few hours after I start the day with a few items on it.

For me, college was similar.

I used to have a ton of sticky notes with weird phrases and due dates on them. I had a hard time remembering which notes corresponded with which lessons by the time I went back to review what I had written. Speaking of tough! Sorting my notes turned out to take more time than organizing the material so I could study.

Put your sticky notes in a planner or notebook with a section for significant notes as a self-serving favor. I’ve been inserting these messages in the LifePlanner in the additional lines that can be found under each day on the weekly/daily view pages. I’ve also written these comments in side areas and the additional note pages that are frequently included in the back or front of other planners in the past (though I must say it has been extremely convenient to have the extra space below each individual day).


TIP FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS: Chances are you won’t have much desk space to begin with if you’re living in the on-campus dorms. Make sure not to go overboard with the desk accessories when you pack for college. Instead, pay attention to items you will use frequently, such as a desk lamp, notebook, pencil holder, etc.

Try adding a junk drawer to your workplace if you simply can’t help but keep a lot of things on or next to your desk. I’ve had one for a long time, and it works wonders for me. Even while I may not frequently glance at the items in that drawer, for some reason, having them there in case I ever need them makes me feel better. Frequently, I add some old mail, notes, office supplies, stickers, and pens that I’ve accumulated throughout the years.



So many people have the idea that in order to keep organized, they must physically write down everything. I was the same way in the past.

I would list my tasks and due dates in my planner in entire phrases. When I went back through my planner to review everything, I discovered that I felt really overwhelmed by all the writing—not exactly a promising start.

I’ve adjusted my method today and only write extremely brief notes that serve as memory triggers. I store major details that I might need to remember in a notebook I have on the side (Erin Condren makes some adorable productivity notepads that are incredibly enjoyable and full of writing space).

If necessary, this serves as my longer to-do list for the day. Then, I cross off tasks as I finish them and make any necessary planner updates.

LAST THOUGHTS It can be challenging to develop organizational skills, particularly if you are about to start your first year of college. Take heart! When I was attempting to figure out what strategy worked for me, I was in your position and felt like a hot mess the entire time.

I want to remind you that this isn’t going to happen overnight, no matter where you are in the organization process. Don’t give up even though it could involve some trial and error and frustration along the way. You’ll eventually get the hang of everything and be well on your way to not only success in college but also success in life.

I’ll be here the entire time encouraging you!

Please be aware that although I received the Erin Condren items free of charge, the thoughts expressed here are mine alone. I only include goods that I wholeheartedly endorse!


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