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My 4 Easy Steps To Staying Organized

It took me quite awhile to not only become as organized as I am, but to appreciate and love being organized. For a long time I hated it, it made me feel too constricted or whatever. But once I started figuring my way through these four easy steps I started to realize how wrong I was. Being organized helps reduce my stress and anxiety about school work and life in general, which is honestly so helpful.

Step One: Use Your Planner!
When I started college I thought I was too cool for a planner. I thought I could remember all of my assignments and all the work they entailed. I thought I could remember all of the due dates for those assignments. I thought I could keep track of all of my life responsibilities in my head. I just thought I was too good for a planner. I WAS WRONG, DON’T BE FRESHMAN ERIN. Planners are an essential tool to keeping your schoolwork and life organized. After syllabus week I recommend going through and filling out your planner for the rest of the semester with your course work and be as detailed as you can! This will help you see all your assignments, for every class, in one place - which will allow you to see your busiest days/weeks. On the other hand, it will help you see when you have the most free time, which is why you should add in your life events as well; appointments, interviews, hang out time, anything. It is imperative that you use the monthly section of your planner as well, so you can see your whole month at a glace. Personally, I write out life stuff in the monthly section and then I will put a star symbol in the corner of that day if there is a big project due or something. In the daily/weekly section I will write out in detail my assignments, like I said above, but then I will also add in the life events just so I can see everything in one place. The planner I use, which is linked below, has a notes section in the back but it doesn't have lines. This is perfect because I set those pages up bullet journal style - I have my many different trackers in these pages. 
Here is the planner I use and I have been loving it!
Step Two: Color-Coding is so Important
Along with using your planner to write down everything from school work to appointments, you should absolutely be color-coding. Everything that affects my life has a color assigned to it and I keep a key taped on my desk - just in case I ever completely blank. My color-coding key looks like this (though this is just an example)

Color-coding is so useful for me because it makes it very easy to see what each assignment/event pertains to. Using colored pens to write out everything in my planner also just makes that activity more fun for me, like it actually motivates me to fill out my planner. And like I said before, having your planner filled out in advance makes it so much easier to stay organized and on schedule! I also use this technique with my to-do lists, which you will read more about in the next step! 
Here are the colored pens that I have been using and loving!

Step Three: To-do Lists Will Soothe Your Stress - I Promise!
Now, I know to-do lists can get really long which could actually give you more stress... I get that. But it doesn’t have to be that way! To-do lists have helped me so much. All I do is write down what I need to do (using the correct colors), in no particular order, and then highlight it when it is done. I don't put them in an order because I want to be able to do complete the tasks in any order I feel like for the day. It feels so good crossing off a task that you have completed. And it also feels good to look back at all the tasks that you have completed to show your progress! Color-coding is a key player in to-do lists, as it takes your organization to the next level - at least I think so. The way I do my to-do lists is I write the task that I need to complete in the color that it pertains to and then once I complete it I highlight that task with the same color highlighter - I just think it looks nicer than scratching it out with a black pen/sharpie or something - but that's just me. Here is an example:

To-do lists can be very simple, very detailed, or somewhere in-between. Mine definitely varies. Sometimes my to-do lists will have a bunch of details regarding one task, sometimes it will have the due date off to the side, or sometimes it will just be extremely short and straight forward. The beauty of to-do lists is it's up to you! I would play around with different formats to see what works for you the best. I also keep my to-do list in a little journal, because it is easy for me to carry around in my purse or backpack. Here is a list of the tools I use!
Bic Brite Liner Fluorescent Highlighter
Step Four: A Rambles Journal 
Now, the actual format of this journal isn’t organized in the least bit...but I am totally okay with that. I keep this journal on me at all times to write down anything and everything that I need to remember. This could be notes from a meeting, ideas that pop into my head, random information, or tasks/events that I will need to transfer over into my to-do list journal and/or planner. This helps me stay organized because it is where all my information is - I don’t have to fumble through a whole bunch of different papers or sticky notes. Now, I don’t use this method for class. When I am taking notes in class I typically do that on my laptop in a word doc and just save it to a folder that is for that specific class only. This ramble journal is just for anything important-ish that you’ll need to remember! Here is the journal I use and here is the pen I use.

From left to right: Rambles Journal, Planner, To-Do List Journal
Fun Fact: I have had this rambles journal since I was in middle school I believe - it used to be my diary!  
There you have it! These are my four easy steps that help me keep my school work and life together. My organization process is ever so changing, but this system has really been working for me for the last two years! I hope these steps help you as you make your way through life. I would also like to hear how you stay organized! Let me know in the comments below:)


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