Monday, October 21, 2013

Organize Me: Let's Get Organized Week!

As you can already tell what I will be covering from the title. Yes, organization. It is such a simple method but it can be very beneficial when used to its full potential especially for people who have a very busy schedule. You might say, "Why? I can just get a planner and I'll be set." Well, just writing everything down on a planner will guarantee that you will be able to remember what you have to do or even do everything that you have written down. Let's face it. Some of us may have planners and write what we have to do for the next several days, but we either just leave that somewhere to collect dust or just forget to look at it. For the next several posts, I decided to have an "Organize Me" section. This will feature organization, prioritization, motivation, and time management. I will be providing you with useful tips that can help you take to unnecessary stress from your life just by simply being ORGANIZED.

  Let's Get Organized!

Tip #1: Get a Planner!
    Okay, I know I said planners may not guarantee you fulfilling all your task, BUT there are ways to take advantage of its use. The question is: How can you utilize the planner to its full potential? Below are ways to effectively use it. (Make sure you can easily access it whether you are using an online, phone, or notebook planner.) 
Take it wherever you go especially when going to work or school.
  • As soon as you get a planner, write down everything that you have to do for the week, the month or even the whole year. Write down whatever you have. (Now, do not forget to write down your contact information just in case you forget it somewhere)
    • Students:
      • As soon as you get your course outline, write down ALL the due dates for your project, presentations, and exams.
        • After writing down what you have due, write a reminder at least 2 weeks before the assignment is due just in case you forgot to do it; at least you have 2 weeks to work on the assignment.
      • If you are using a notebook planner and you have pages you think you will not use (months that just past), you can utilize it. 
        • Create a one page copy of your course outline and tape it to one of those pages. This will allow you to have an idea of how much time you have until something is due or how many weeks until your exam (course outline lists your agenda and due dates for the semester) 
      • For the notes pages, you can also use it as reminders. For me, I use it to list what I want to accomplish for the academic year. This just reminds me of my goals, such as what grades I want to get, what organizations I want to be part of, and more.
    • Non-students:
      • For someone who have a busy schedule, you can also use the tips for the students. Below are some additional tips that may help you.
        • Color code your events (if your choice)
          • Color coding something helps especially when you different events going on, such as kids school events, work events like meetings, bill due dates, and miscellaneous stuff. This gives you the visual cue of what the event is without reading what is written down. (You can use highlighters or different color pens)
        • Using bright sticky notes
          • Bright sticky notes are more likely to catch your attention; therefore, it will make you look at it and remind you what you might have forgotten
          • This is also useful for additional "To do" list for the day or week. It serves as a "remind me note."

Tip #2: Get a big calendar.
    If you are a visual learner, like me, seeing what I have to do for the whole month helps me remember what I have to do.
  •  Place it where you can easily see it. Preferably where you often go, such as:
    • Your office (for those who have one) 
    • Your bedroom by your study table
  • Write down everything that you have going on for the whole month, if possible. Remember to include the following:
    •  Name of what is going on that day, like "Big paper due!" or "Conference Day!"
    • Time, 
    • Place, if applicable. 
      • Here are some examples:   
        • For a CEO of a company: December 20, 2013, Company Christmas Party at the Hilton Hotel Ballroom 8 - 11 pm
        • For a student: November 1, 2013, Annotated Bibliography for Child Psychology due at 9:00 am, online and in class.

Tip #3: Get a Small Notepad
    For this one, you can use your phone's notepad. Now, I know this does not sound interesting but it does help especially if you forget your planner. We all have those random moments where we think of something that we have to do.
  • The notepad will help you jot down any ideas or random "to do" list that you have
    • For example, you might be at Starbucks seating down chatting with your best friend and all of a sudden your conversation has reminded you that you had to do something for work or class and your planner is not with you. You can simply write it down. (Make sure you look at it late)

Sample Scenario:
Angelica Kim is undergraduate student in her second semester taking six classes (18 credits), taking part as a leader of three different students organization, interning in two different places, working part time, and tending to her loved ones' needs. She is also trying to get into graduate school so that she can start in the fall semester for the next academic year.
What will you do in this scenario?
What she did:
  • Bought a weekly/monthly planner which gave her an overview of the whole month as well as the whole week
  • Printed out one page versions of her course outlines and taped them to the pages of the weeks that has already passed
  • Wrote down:
    • Dates and times for work and internship
    • Due dates for her research projects, presentations, exams, assignment due dates, and what assignments are due at what day
  • In the back of her planner, she wrote down her required duties for each organizations, meeting times and dates. She also used this space to write out what she wanted to accomplish by the time she graduate, such as graduate sumo or magna cum laude (requiring her to have either a 3.95 or 3.754 GPA), getting scholarships, and getting into graduate school

What happened to her?
    Well, you will find out what happens to her after my "Organize Me" segment, so stand by and find out.

I hope my tips for getting organized had somehow encouraged you to use a planner and organize your schedule. It takes awhile to adapt organization into your everyday routine but this is beneficial for everyone. Organization allows people to stay on top of things especially those who have super busy schedule. I hope these tips will help you avoid those panic attacks when you forget to do something. If you know someone who may benefit from my tips, do not forget to point them to my blog. Spread the word :)