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Advice Column: Organization

Dear Jossie,

What’s the best way to stay organized with online schooling? Any tips and tricks to help keep on top of tasks?

Sincerely,
Looking for help :)


Dear Looking for help :),

Hey there! I have never been a master at staying organized myself. For the longest time, I would get excited to buy all of these organizing materials and then somehow manage to never actually use any of them.

However, somehow within the last few years, I have miraculously managed to get my act together. Each person has their own way of staying organized. The following advice is based on what works personally for me and from what I have observed from others.

Feel free to pick and choose from this advice to figure out your organizational style and what works best with you and your schedule.

Choose a way to keep track of deadlines.
Some people prefer having a planner to write down all their assignments and activities, while others may just write daily tasks on a dry erase board. I have a spreadsheet that lists all of my homework for all of my classes in the order of their due date. Every day, I look at what is going to be due soon, write it on a post-it and stick it on my laptop to use as a to-do list.

Have a designated workspace.
Homework in bed seems like a great idea, but it often leads to slacking off or getting distracted. Pick a place—preferably a desk or table—and make this your study area. This will help you separate your work and free time. It is important to keep this space neat and stocked with whatever you need.

If possible, print your syllabi.
For me, this was a game-changer after being used to professor’s handing them out. Not only will it help you keep up with the class schedule, but it will also save you time checking the professor’s policies and expectations.

Separate your classwork.
I have folders for each of my courses that have a lot of paperwork. You might not need folders, but having only one notebook with all your classes’ notes intermingled is a recipe for disaster. Having separate notebooks for separate classes or having different sections in a multi-subject notebook will help a lot. Make sure to do this digitally as well. For instance, I have folders for each of my courses on Google Drive.

Set aside time to do your work.
Having online classes offers a lot more flexibility, so you can tailor your schedule to your life. If you prefer to study in larger blocks, figure out days where you can work for hours at a time. If you get burnt out after a few hours, plan out your week with study times. This will help you put yourself on a schedule and increase productivity.

While this semester offers a new set of challenges and obstacles, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be a good semester academically. Online schooling becomes much less daunting when you take the time to create a schedule.

I hope these tips help you. Have an incredible semester!

Best,
Jossie Ward

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