At this point in the semester, most of us are hitting that point of no return. With Thanksgiving on the horizon and winter break just beyond, the end of 2014 is near. You know the feeling – the “I should have gotten my life together earlier in the semester” feeling. As communication students, we understand the implicit need to stay on top of deadlines – whether it be for a paper for class, a content calendar for your internship, or a group project for that impossible elective class you registered for because it looked “interesting.” The good news? It’s not too late to implement some of these organization tips into your routine to make the rest of this semester a little bit more bearable.
- iCalendar: If you’re team MacBook , iCalendar’s desktop platform is a great way to stay on top of your busy schedule. You can color code your calendar by different categories – for example, assigning a different color for school, personal life, and internships. iCalendar is a great way to visualize your schedule and you can view your calendar by year, month, week and even day – schedule out hour by hour if you’re feeling particularly ambitious! Bonus: if you have an iPhone, you can sync your calendars to iCloud to receive reminders on your phone and computer. You’ll never miss a deadline again.
- Planner: Even though I recently started using iCalendar to stay more on top of my schedule, I still have stayed faithful to my original mode of organization – my trusty planner. There’s something very comforting about putting pen to paper and checking off tasks as they go. I use my planner to keep track of due dates, important events, and even make mini to-do lists for each day. Which brings me to my next strategy…
- To-do lists: I live and die by to-do lists. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed by my full plate, it’s helpful to prioritize my tasks by order of importance. Under each day in my planner, I keep a running list of things I want to accomplish in that 24 hour period. This helps me stay on task for the day – not to mention it feels very satisfying to cross things off for each day. I also keep a running list of tasks categorized by personal tasks, extracurricular tasks, internship tasks, and tasks corresponding to each of my classes. This is helpful for seeing the big picture and making sure I’m staying on top of future deadlines on the horizon.
- File organization: Keeping your documents, folders and class notes organized can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re like me and you’re well into college with a lot of data on your computer. First things first, make folders for all areas of your life – classes, family, extracurriculars, job search/internships – and begin categorizing your documents into those folders. You may find that you can make subfolders for some of these. Add and subtract files as needed. For example, I file all my past course folders – containing notes, study guides, projects – into a broader Semester (ex: Spring 2015 semester) folder, which I then file into a broader BU folder. Find a system that works for you and stick to it! Bonus points: back up your computer regularly to an external hard drive. Last semester, my computer crashed two weeks before finals period but I had luckily backed it up a few days before and as a result, didn’t lose too much data. Google Drive is also a great place to back up important papers, PowerPoints and other documents crucial to your professional and academic success.
By implementing these organization tips into your everyday routine, you’re sure to be poised for success in the classroom and in the communication field.