With summer coming to a close, it’s time to rethink priorities – either you’re just getting into the swing of things with school or kicking it into high gear at work after a summer of travel or possibly other interruptions. The truth is, staying organized is never as easy as it looks, even if you’re a total Type A. From time to time, even to-do lists can get muddled and calendars messy and overwhelming. When you feel that start to happen, you can use these tips to regroup and refocus.
Make Reasonable To-Do Lists – To-do lists can be lifesavers, but they can also be your downfall if you don’t keep them realistic. If your to-do looks more like the start to a novel, you may need to consolidate. Try focusing on the MOST important 3-5 items before even writing other tasks on your list. That way, you don’t look at a full page and feel overwhelmed, which often leads to more worrying than getting things done!
…But Make the List – When you don’t make a to-do list at all, it’s tough to get your thoughts straight on what must be done. If you aren’t much of a list maker, I suggest at least jotting the major priorities down, so you don’t get sidetracked.
Prioritize Regularly – The hard part of any commitment is that priorities change. There isn’t a job or class I can think of that doesn’t deal with interruptions. So, unfortunately, reprioritizing is often necessary to organization. Stay on top of it by regularly scheduling “check ups” with yourself to go over priorities. Maybe you’ve spent the last month staying after school with a math tutor, but now you’re falling behind in English. It could be that this part of your English course is more difficult for you than math, so you need to focus on that instead.
Compartmentalize – Who else hates seeing a binder overflowing with papers and sticky notes? It always made me a bit nervous. Instead, group things into main categories (and just like with to-do lists, you don’t want to break them down into too small of pieces), which will make it easier to divide and conquer tasks. That way, when it comes down to completing an assignment, you can pull out that piece exclusively – you’ll never lose items or have unwanted distractions in the way.
Choose Tools that Work – For some, a plethora of office supplies like color-coded tabs, sticky notes, and index cards, eases anxiety. But for others, this method only adds to the clutter. If you’re unsure what your perfect work environment is, try a few organizational supplies for a month. If, for example, you find that after a month keeping a daily planner isn’t effective, there’s no point in keeping it as your method of organization.
What’s your best way to stay organized? Share it in the comments below.
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