I know it’s only really the start of August but September will come around soon enough and with that the dreaded start of term but it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Keeping yourself organised throughout the academic year can make the whole ‘back to school’ process a lot easier. Just a little bit of background about me – I’m currently going back into my final year of university so I’ve struggled through the whole transition from summer freedom to studying life a few times and I have some ideas that may help you. This blog post may end up being more geared towards university students but all these tips below can be altered to suit your style of study.
Pens Pencils Stationary! At the beginning of the school year so many stores have discounts and deals on all sorts of stationary and splashing out a little can honestly help your productivity for the whole year to come. Pretty pens and notebooks make me want to keep everything neat and organised which is a huge help when it comes to revision later on in the year. However a top tip I do have is to buy a notebook that you don’t care about ripping pages out of or scribbling stuff down quickly. Sometimes being neat can be time consuming and if you’re in a rush at the end of a lecture to get all the notes down you need something like that – you can always copy it over into a neater book after. Two things I think are great for organisation are just a bog standard year calendar and a wall calendar. The normal calendar will be great for taking with you to each lecture and you can write down specific homework or pre seminar work that you have to do or just anything you need to do on that day. The wall calendar I will ALWAYS have one its great to hang above your desk on your wall and to write down all your deadlines and projects and big events such as a family or best friends birthday so that you know when you’ll need to block out time from your studying to go see them which leads me on to my next point.
Allow yourself time to relax. With anything you need to allow yourself time to relax and recuperate so that you can get back into studying when you need to. Whilst staying up till the early hours of the morning in the library may work for some people the likelihood is that most of us need sleep to function well. So get enough hours of sleep a night and make time to see your friends or even just allow yourself to binge watch a bit of Netflix or TV! For me personally I have to make time for the people I love whether that be my SO, BFFs or just my parents, planning time for these people in your life can really help you de-stress and just feel mentally a lot better. Just remember that if you are a social butterfly that you have to find that balance.
Revise all year round instead of just before exams. This one may seem like a lot of effort and definitely the one that I struggle with keeping up the most. What I mean by it is when you don’t understand something in a class speak up or if you’re a bit more shy stay behind and ask the teacher / tutor after and get it cemented in your knowledge there and then. I promise it will help a lot more when it comes to revising everything for the big exam at the end if you understood it back when you were learning it then it will be a lot easier to remember something that you understand! Logic!
Make use of your tutors and teachers. It may seem sometimes like they’re giving you all this work just to spite you but in reality all they want you to do is succeed. I mean they probably just want their boss to see that their students are doing well so that it looks good on them (if that makes sense) so they will usually if you ask stay behind and offer their help. I know at my university many tutors have what they call “office hours”. Which in short are specific hours blocked out of the tutors day for questions and help, so use these throughout the year as I know at my university my tutors are always swamped around revision time.
Keep tidy and clean. This one I’m not the best at I’ll be honest. Keeping yourself and your workplace tidy really helps with concentration. Having my desk full of clutter when I work is really distracting (which is quite ironic because as I write this my desk is a mess). So I would recommend having a clutter free desk keep all your pens and pencils in a little pot and have in-trays to keep all your loose paper it really helps. Another thing you should keep tidy is just in general the whole space your working in I find I get really distracted and don’t feel at ease if I have a floordrobe situation going on. At university it’s easy to just leave your stuff everywhere but I promise you if you just spend a few minutes cleaning up every day you’ll be able to keep on top of it and you will feel so much more productive for it.
Stick to the plans you make! This one is maybe the most important to me anyway. Making a plan is completely useless if you don’t stick to it. I found that when I first started making a plan or a to do list of things for the day I’d find it very demotivating when I hadn’t been able to cross things off at the end of the day so when making plans cut things down into sizeable chunks. For example if you have a report to write instead of writing on your list ‘complete report’ put down instead ‘write introduction to report’ and break it down in that way then when you’re looking at your list for the day it doesn’t seem so daunting and you can actually complete your to do list by the end of the day.
I really hope some of my tips help you stay organised whatever stage of studying you’re in at the moment and ultimately help you to achieve the grade you want.
Love Em x
ps sorry for the lack of photos on this post. I didn’t have the time at all this week to take some pretty pictures of my stationary things but there will be a relaxed paperchase haul on my youtube soon so if you don’t subscribe you should!