I’ve been in education for a seriously substantial part of my life – I’m now 22 and I started nursery school when I was 4. Fine, the levels of education have changed, but education of different kinds has taken up 18 years of my life. Now as I head towards the end of my masters, I’ve finally found the best ways that help me study and stay organized & I thought I’d share a few of them.
1. Get a diary and learn to love it. The obvious one, but perhaps the most ignored. Get yourself a diary – it doesn’t have to be expensive at all – and learn to love it like a child. Get into the habit of writing appointments, meetings, classes and more (coffee dates with friends, trips away) into it. Get into the habit of checking your diary daily
2. Get into good habits of checking your university (or work) email account at least twice a day. I tell this to my students that I TA for constantly. Check your emails – there’ll be times where nothing is waiting for you, but there’ll be times when there’s an important email that needs a pretty quick response, too. I like to check mine when I wake up, around halfway through the day and just before dinner.
3. Write to do lists before you go to sleep or when you wake up. I have a separate notebook just for writing my to-do lists in (mine are from this website – although I’m not sure if my actual ones are still for sale..). I’ve gotten into the habit of writing my to-do list before I go to sleep. I’ve found that it actually helps me to sleep better as my mind isn’t racing with thoughts of “omg what do I need to get done tomorrow????”. It’s quite nice.
4. Flashcard it up & speak to yourself. My best revision tip. After I’ve had a class, I set aside a few hours (it might be the same day, or the next) to go over my notes and create flashcards that I go over across the duration of the week. For example, one of my classes has tests on the previous week’s material each time, so my flashcards are super useful for on-the-go revision. If I’m in my own room, I try to create a narrative with my flashcards so I feel comfortable talking about the subject as well as writing about it.
5. Detach yourself from social media where possible. This can be kind of difficult, as I know a lot of work has to be done on the computer. However, I make the effort to at least ditch social media while I’m working. I can easily spend hours wasting time on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and more. To help with this, I put my mac on ‘do not disturb’ and my phone is put on silent and far away from me. Quite often, I’ll put an alarm on for however long I’d like to work. When that goes off, I can have 15 minutes or so checking my social media.
6. Do your work when it’s set (aka don’t leave it till the last minute). Oh my goodness, I don’t know if this is me being an over-achieving perfectionist or what, but I have absolutely no sympathy for people who are stressing because they’ve left their 20 page paper until the last minute. Do it. Think about it from the moment you get it. Be prepared. I use this homework planner to help me prioritize where necessary.
7. Let yourself breathe. The one thing that I’m really having to make myself work on & probably the most important one of the whole lot. Take time to chill out, breathe, check in with your body and your mind, assess what’s going on.
Obviously these aren’t concrete tips that you have to follow, but these are the ways of staying organized and on top of my work & I hope some of these help you. What are your top tips for staying organized? I’m always on the look-out for more! Let me know in the comments below.
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