“Falling” Into a More Productive Life

Each and every fall my friends and I find ourselves joking that it’s finally the perfect opportunity to get our lives together. The refreshing weather that comes with the changing of the seasons, as well as the prospects of a brand new school year, always make me feel as though I should make some changes for the better in terms of my academic life. As a junior, this also means beginning to make long-term plans regarding what I want to achieve after I graduate.

On a day-to-day basis, I have a very specific planner system that I use to stay organized and keep on top of the work I have to do. If you feel as though you are in a rut, productivity-wise, I suggest experimenting with different planners or combinations of planners to stay on track. Personally, I use three different tools:

– Google Calendar: This is where I keep track of my class and work schedule, as well as important meetings and events that I have going on around campus. It conveniently syncs my phone and my computer so that I am sure not to miss any essential moments of my life.

-Weekly Planner: This is where I write down more specific, short-term assignments and readings. I update it after every class to stay on top of all of my assignments. I almost make sure to get a planner with a “notes” section on each week’s spread because I like to keep a basic workout log.

-Daily To-Do list: Every morning (or the night before if I’m feeling extra productive) I write down all of the tasks I need to complete during the day. This gives me an opportunity to break larger assignments into smaller pieces, as well as have everything I need to achieve during the day in an accessible place. I always write the list on a Post-it note, and then I either stick it to my desk or inside of my weekly planner, depending on the day.

It sounds complicated, but trust me, my life would be in shambles without it. It took about three semesters to find the perfect system for my life, so don’t beat yourself up if you feel as though whatever planner/calendar you use is not working for you.

As I look ahead at the major things I want to achieve between now and graduation, as well as after graduation, I keep a goals list in an old notebook. I always have it close (usually in my top desk drawer) so that my goals are always in the back of my mind. The list not only contains goals such as “Write an Honors English Thesis”, but long-term to-do items such as “Take a GRE-prep class” and “Research graduate school programs.” Though these are goals that have always been on my mind, I feel as though now is the best time to start to plan how I will feasibly go after them.

It’s never too late to get organized! Though the systems and tips I’ve explained may not work for everyone, I hope they’ve at least inspired you to use the changing of the seasons and the new academic year as a way to rethink and maximize your productivity!

Do you have any organization tips and tricks? Leave a comment and share them!

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