The Secret to Getting Organized

Find extra time in your day with these 5 organization tips

Whether you are studying at a college, vocational school, or a nursing school, it’s a good idea to have a system to stay organized. Your courses and labs can be very demanding, and before you know it, you can fall behind on your homework and studying. You may have competing demands outside of school, such as a part-time job, young children, or elderly family members to take care of. Getting organized can help you juggle the demands, and with any luck, have a little time left for yourself!

Tip 1: Seize the day
One of the best tips for being productive is to make good use of your mornings. If you wake up at the very last minute and rush out the door, you start out the day feeling stressed and frazzled. Instead, set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier than usual. You will be amazed at how much you can get done in these extra 30 minutes. You can organize your day, eat a healthy breakfast, and maybe even fit in some exercise.

Tip 2: To-do lists
Even if you have a memory like a steel trap, it helps to write things down. When you get different assignments from different instructors, you need a good system to complete all your tasks on time each day. If you prefer paper and pencil for your to-do lists, make sure you are using a small notebook that you keep with you at all times. Or, if you like everything to be at your fingertips on your phone, you might want to try online to-do lists, such as Evernote, Any.do, Wunderlist, or Todoist.

Tip 3: Calendars
To-do lists are great for the day-to-day reminders of what you need to do each day. But you will also need a good calendar system for the longer-range responsibilities, such as test dates, project due dates, and other important events. Be very diligent about recording important due dates in your calendar as soon as you learn of them. You can try Google’s calendar, or other calendar apps like Any.do or Sunrise, depending on your preferences.

Tip 4: Folders
When you are a student, the paperwork, worksheets, and online documents can start to pile up. If you don’t have an organized way of storing your documents, it will be hard to keep track of them. One suggestion is to create a folder system. Keep one folder for each class. Also keep a general school folder for communications about registration or school-wide events. In addition to paper folders for your hard copies, you can also set up folders on your hard drive, in your email, and in your bookmarks. Synchronizing your folders like this will help keep all the relevant information in a place that is easy to find.

Tip 5: Block schedule your day
These days, there seem to be so many distractions that it can be hard to find a good solid time to study. Take control of your schedule by blocking out time each day for homework and studying. Block out 2 to 3 hours in your calendar, and don’t schedule anything else over it. Tell your friends and family that you are unavailable during that time. Go to a library or coffee shop to escape the distractions of home. Put your phone away and don’t allow yourself to look at it until you are finished studying. Most people find that they are much more productive this way. This also helps you get your schoolwork out of the way, and allows you to enjoy the rest of your day without the thought of homework hanging over your head.

We hope these tips help you to improve your approach to school. With an organized method for your studies, you should be able to see results!


This article is provided by the Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health. We provide study tips and career advice through our weekly blog. Contact us to learn more about studying with us.

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