Let’s Get Organized!

Let me tell you something kind of ironic. One of my favorite hobbies is looking at blogs of people who are just really organized though I, myself, find it hard to keep things very organized; for example, my closet looks like the aftermath of a natural disaster 75% of the time. But I know that I’m not alone in this hobby! There is an entire category of these blogs called “Studyblrs”, with aesthetically pleasing photographs of things like diagrams, bullet journals, and notes color-coded in possibly fifteen differently-colored gel pens. So, of course, scrolling through these organization prodigies with far greater hand-writing than I could ever dream of achieving has become a vicarious kind of pastime. But here’s the irony: when I would get a little too stressed or overwhelmed by classes, I’d choose to ignore the work in favor of the distraction of scrolling through blogs owned by people who weren’t ignoring their stress … by staying organized?
This year, I finally made the connection, and have transformed the fun of organization into a tool to actually aid me in staying on top of my studies. And it’s rocked. So to you all, reading this blog – past, current, future, or honorary Golden Bears – I want to share with you a few fun ways to keep your (most likely multiple) responsibilities on track!

1. First thing’s first: you need a hip spacious planner. This is because you’re going to write down everything you need to do for the week, and spread out your workload into reasonable time increments. Wow, Alice, that sounds like a lot of work so I think I’m not going to do that. Ok, understandable, but what if I told you that it will either let you relax about feeling like you can’t get any work done or give you a much-needed wake-up call that you can’t spend another day pushing off your paper to binge watch Stranger Things? Motivation!

For me, I wanted a planner with some personal flair, so I treated myself over winter break to a planner from plumpaper.com, which allowed me to customize the entire design of my planner, with an inspirational quote to-boot. Score.

However, for those looking for something less expensive, never fear. You can schedule your life just as easily with any weekly planner – no frills necessary — so long as it gives you the space to write tasks for each day. If you’re a do-it-yourself-er, you can even make your own with any old notebook, writing the dates of each day out yourself, like a “bullet journal”. This works especially well for the artistic types, for example:

 (photo credit)

As an additional bonus, you get to put an x or a check-mark next to things you’ve finished for the day, which is always satisfying.

2. Organization means knowing you need to do something ahead of time, which gives you the non-procrastinator advantage of setting up things like one-on-one office hours for extra help on a problem set, scheduling an appointment with your advisor, or getting together a study group! My favorite place to study on campus in solitude is the Free Speech Movement Café, especially on a sunny morning. However, with groups, there’s nothing better than a private room for your group and only your group – which you can book online for 2 hour increments at libraries like Moffit and Bechdel!

 (photo credit)

3. Some days, you’re going nonstop from dawn till dusk and it feels like there’s no way you can’t be forgetting something, there’s just too much to do. These are the days that call for the hourly planner. Halt – I’m not saying you need to do this every day. But sometimes, you have so many responsibilities on your plate, you don’t even know where you can find the time to eat! That’s where the handy-dandy hourly planner comes in. This can be done on the computer, using a program like excel or numbers, or you can use the hourly planner from this bomb.com blog I stumbled upon, called The Organized Student (There are plenty of other helpful “printables” available on there, from goal-setting to grade tracking). Seeing the location and time of each of your commitments at each hour of the day displayed neatly in front of you allows you to better unveil the time gaps most convenient for grabbing lunch, or heading to the gym. Which leads me to my last point…

4. Don’t forget that the primary, numero uno, most important thing is taking care of yourself. Never think that you have too much to do to shower, or sleep, or eat – these are basic necessities of life. Being clean is better than being cranky, which comes from both lack of sleep and food. Organizing time for non-academic socializing and exercise each week is also essential – regular exercise is known to help with depression, stress, and anxiety and well, being with friends is always fun, right? Staying organized also means staying happy.

Wherever you are in life, I hope you found some of these tips helpful for evolving into a more-organized version of you. Good luck this midterms season to all you college students – may the odds be ever in your favor! (Though, thanks to your bullet journal, you’ve been studying for chem for over a week – you don’t need anybody’s odds! You’re going to kill it – figuratively speaking, of course.)

Author: Alice Kane

Hi-ya! I'm Alice, a third-year undergraduate student studying both English and Conservation and Resource Studies here at the University of California. I grew up in the bay area and always dreamed of coming Cal - and here I am! Studying two completely different fields of study can be challenging, but it's an unbelievably rewarding experience. I get to learn about the world from some of the most brilliant professors, from both a scientific and artistic perspective! In the times I'm not studying, you can find me writing, reading, and/or eating at the Free Speech Movement Cafe or on memorial glade, spending time with good friends, at a national park, or petting dogs on Sproul! Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you around campus sometime soon. Go Bears!