Organization 101

It isn’t easy being a university student!

I absolutely love my “new life” – living away from home and becoming more independent without a personal chauffeur, chef, and counsellor at my side (thanks, Mom). Unfortunately, there are moments where I feel stressed and overwhelmed with homework and quizzes, school events, and cleaning that needs to be done. 😦

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From exams to cooking and cleaning on your own, plus social events and school clubs – and, of course, the need to sleep – it is difficult to be organized in terms of  time and belongings. It might sound easy in theory (it certainly did when I was in Grade 12!), but I realized after a week of living alone that many of these tasks are incredibly time-consuming.

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Plus, with hundreds of deadlines, personal things to take care of, and piles of textbooks and papers, how is it even possible to stay on top of things? It’s difficult, but there are definitely sneaky little tips that work for me.

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I’ve compiled a little list of the top ten things I like to do to keep organized. Although I am completely scatterbrained at times (okay, 98% of the time), it really helps to find tips that work for you. 🙂

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My Top 10 Tips for Staying Organized

  1. Buy and use an agenda religiously. Record everything from the event to it’s time and location.
  2. In my agenda, I like using different colours for different things. For example, blue pen is for classes, green for yoga and fitness, red for appointments and meetings, etc.
  3. Snap a picture of your class schedule and use it for your phone’s lock screen! This tip was a lifesaver for my first and second weeks of class, when I was completely lost and confused on campus.
  4. Purchase some dollar-store organizers for books, notebooks, little things (labels, tape, erasers, etc.), and a good pen/pencil holder.
  5. Use folders. I like colour-coding mine according to different subjects.
  6. Make a meal plan, and then write a shopping list. I like grocery shopping once a week for big things, and then picking up little things (mostly fresh produce) at the farmers market during the week.
  7. Write To-Do lists whenever you are waiting for the bus or just sitting around. Add to it as you think of a certain thing that needs to be done. That way, when you have nothing to do, you can quickly check out the list for a new task. I use my iPhone’s Notes app at least fifty times a day… no exaggeration.
  8. Get some exercise! It sharpens your brain, improves memory, and keeps you awake… and organized! You all know that hot yoga is my exercise of choice. I’ve been doing it three or four times a week here in Waterloo – unfortunately my card is almost out! :O
  9. Buy dollar-store boxes to store little things that you rarely use, like locks, stapler refills, tape rolls, and so on. Dollar stores also sell adhesive labels that are super useful for labelling your boxes! Man, I love the dollar store.
  10. Stick to a weekly schedule. I use my Swiffer once a week (every Saturday night, while listening to Disney music – yup, while everyone else is heading off to cool parties 😉 ), give the bathroom a scrub every couple of days, and do my laundry and meal prep every Sunday afternoon.

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I love my new computer mouse and mousepad! They are my favourite colours, and I think the mousepad has the neatest design. 😀 Little things like that make me happy!

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I hope these tips come in handy for you – tell me, what do you do to stay organized?