college,  organization

The organized student series (part 1)

With college starting in October and all the hysteria surrounding this occasion, I thought I would share with you guys all the little things that made mystudent life a bit easier. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am far away from having everything sorted out (I still have those days when I put my keys in my fridge and the milk in my bag), but it has made a notable difference.
1.       Write everything down.
The summer break is over, and we have to get our sh*t together, but it seems that our brain refuses to leave the “beach mode”. So, in order to stress as little as possible, help your brain out a little, and write everything on your phone, or on a notebook. “I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember it” is one of the biggest lies you can tell yourself, and more often than not, you will be the only one who has something to lose if you don’t remember that piece of information.
I, personally, always carry a notebook with me. I use it as a personal agenda, but I reserved some blank pages for those moments when I just need to jot something down before I forget it completely. I also use Google Keep, if I need to write something random on my phone, but any note-taking app will do the job. The important part is to write, write, write.
2.       Set up deadlines
Statistically speaking, you are less likely to feel motivated if you know you can procrastinate and postpone a task for days/weeks on end. Here comes my trick: set a deadline for yourself, so you will get that sense of urgency and importance. If that doesn’t work, you can prepare a reward system or, if that’s the case, a penalty system.
Example: I have to prepare a case study for my Criminal Law class until December 1st. I will create a study schedule in my planner and, at the end of each week, I will reward myself with an expensive coffee from Starbucks (there are no Starbucks near my apartment, so getting one is quite a trip). However, if I haven’t followed my study schedule, I will need to catch up on that Saturday/Sunday, with no social media or going out allowed.
3.       Back-up everything
Have you ever worked really hard on a project, or any other type of document, pulling an all-nighter, losing sleep, refusing to go out with your friends, only to get a critical error on your computer right before you save your work? Or, have you ever taken notes in class on your computer, only for it to crash at the end of your semester, causing you to lose everything?
I, unfortunately, have been in both of these scenarios, and I have to tell you: it sucks. The frustration, the crying, the despair, the bargaining that comes after…it’s a mess. A mess that could have easily been avoided if I had just backed up my data. An external hard drive is the safest option, but you can always back up your data on your Google Drive (can you tell I’m a Google fan?) or on your Dropbox. This will save you a great deal of frustration, not to mention that if you keep your files in your cloud, you can always access them, from anywhere.
4.       Use a money-managing app
Being a college freshman is not easy (being a college senior is no walk in the park, either, but you kinda have your stuff together a bit more). In most cases, the first year of college might be your first year as a full-fledged adult, out in the real world, on your own two feet. And since high school teaches you absolutely nothing about managing your money, let me chime in.
I only started using a money managing app in my third year, and I have to say it was a mistake not to use one sooner. I had my first job in my freshman year, my first expenses and, to top it all off, I was paying for my own tuition (I still am). Using this app (I used Spendee, but there are a ton of apps for budgeting and tracking your expenses), I tracked exactly where my paycheck was going, where I needed to make some changes, and where I could save a few bucks. All in all, it made a huge difference on how I viewed the financial aspect of my life.
5.       The 2 minutes rule
This is something I started using after a few months of coming home and deciding to do nothing until the very last minute, thus complicating my life unnecessarily. I would go straight to my room, throw my bag on my desk, change my clothes (and leaving them on the bed, or on the floor), and fire up my computer or my kindle, ignoring all and everything around me. This is how I ended up cluttering my evenings, because right before bed I started remembering that I needed to prepare my clothes for the next day, change the contents of my bag, clean my room and take the trash out (to name a few).
So now, if there is something that needs to be done, and it takes less than 2 minutes, I do it right there and then. In the grand scheme of things, 2 minutes is nothing. It is the amount of time it takes me to decide what video I want to watch on YouTube, or the amount of time it takes for my food to warm up in the microwave. So if it takes less than 2 minutes, why not do it on the spot? 2 minutes here, and 2 minutes there could make the difference between a relaxing bedtime routine and one where you run through the house doing this and that.
I hope you will find these tips useful and I wish you a productive, stress-free week 😊

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