Guest Post from the Writer of ‘Lollipops and Longchamps’
Most of you are either in high school and college, which means in a couple of weeks, you will be heading back to school and starting a new school year full of assignments, tests, extracurriculars and more! Organization is super important for sticking to deadlines and making sure you don’t go crazy during some of the most hectic weeks of the year.
Since elementary school, I have always been extremely organized: I kept a binder and a folder for each of my classes, each of my planners from fourth grade through the present are color coded by class and activity and my desk is full of sticky notes, to-do lists, calendars and highlighters (which is usually a huge mess- I’m still trying to work on that!).
For those of you looking for some organization tips and inspiration, here are five of my organization tricks that have helped me over the years!
- Color coding is your best friend: Studies have shown that you are more likely to remember things if they are written in a different color other than black or blue. In my planner, I use a different color for assignments, appointments, deadlines, meeting and more.
For each color, I write down what it corresponds to along with a short description. For example, blue corresponds to due dates for projects, essays and presentation, and pink corresponds to birthdays and holidays.
Use daily, weekly and monthly calendars to map out your life: This is where your phone comes in handy. If you have a Gmail account, you can easily use Google Calendar to plan meetings, organize your schedule and even plan your meals (this is very handy for college students who want to save money!) I also like to use the monthly calendar in my agenda to keep track of events and meetings.
- Sticky notes can help prevent sticky scheduling situations: I use sticky notes to write down my to-do
lists, goals, reminders and important information. I use the standard sized sticky notes to write out my to do lists and the smaller, “flag” sticky notes to write reminders or mark my place in my planner.
Sticky notes are great for writing motivational notes to yourself or even little quotes to put on your mirror to read in the morning.
- Start early: I like to give myself at least a week to complete assignments and another two weeks for important meetings. This semester I am vice president of my university’s pre-med association and co-president and founder of our Operation Smile chapter- not to mention, I have a part time job, I blog, and I am a full time student. Needless to say, I am extremely busy and its important for me to know what’s going on before it even happens.
- Make use of freebies: Pinterest is full of organization printables that are absolutely free! They range from meal planners, to- do lists, water intake trackers, goal lists, shopping lists, chore lists and more! These printables are so cute and are perfect for your agenda, bulletin board, or bag. I mostly use a water tracker sheet, shopping list and meal planner, and a daily routine sheet that is basically a condensed version of my planner (perfect for when you are super busy!) Some printables cost money because they are sold through a blog or Etsy- most of the ones I’ve seen are notepads or personalized planners- for under $10. I’ve included links to my favorite printables below. Enjoy!
Staying organized doesn’t need to involve a complete remodeling of your life- you can take small steps like cleaning out your desk once a week, sorting papers, or even cleaning out your purse or backpack! Once you find organization methods that work for you, it becomes so much easier to keep track of everything going on in your busy life!
Links to Free Organization Printables:
- Hello Monday’s weekly planner: She has a sheet for every day of the week with sections for writing out your hourly schedule and breaks down your to-do list into six categories (work projects, meal planning, beauty, appointments, cleaning and fitness). This printable is great for people who like to categorize their to-do lists instead of having one long list of tasks that are completely unrelated. Click here for the download.
- I Heart Planner’ s 31 days of Free Printables: Last year, she devoted an entire month to making free organization printables! Some of my favorites are the half letter daily schedule, day habit tracker (perfect for those having difficulties starting a new habit), and the library book tracker (that way you have all of your due dates in one place!) She also has a free organization course to help find your “perfect” organization system; she sends one lesson a week each with a tip for improving your organization!
- Clean Mamma’s Water Tracker: I told myself that I would drink more water; thanks to my busy schedule and the abundance of coffee, tea and juice around me, I stopped sticking to my goal. This printable is perfect because the sheet is small enough for your planner and when you flip to your weekly agenda, your water tracker will be right there looking at you. Each sheet comes with two trackers (two weeks’ worth), so you can print off copies to last a couple of weeks, or laminate one copy and use a dry erase marker to track your water consumption. I like to see my progress, so I’ll probably make a bunch of copies to last a month and see how I like that versus printing one copy.