Ever feel like you’re swimming (or drowning, rather) in a list of things to do? Go to a meeting, make your lunch before work, to go to work, laundry, cook, clean, shop – the list goes on. And on. And on. Even relaxing is on the list of things to do. Living the busy life can be stressful and hard to manage at times, and even though we all like to think we can juggle items better than a professional can at a circus, behind that calm and collected smile, you can’t deny that you want to lie down and sleep off all of the undone jobs that are still calling your name. However, I have learnt that being organised from a few simple tips I have picked up really does make a difference to the productiveness of your day. Erm… perhaps you should add reading these to your list of things to do.
Have a lot to get done? Well here’s a slap in the face; getting up at mid-afternoon won’t do you any favours. I tend to find that the earlier I wake up, the more motivated I feel to get on with my day, fulfilling the productivity I have set myself up for. Since starting university, I have definitely learnt that starting your day on a productive note (can be the hardest to get into the routine of), but once you are in the routine of doing so, your life becomes 10x easier. I know from personal experience that it can be difficult to discipline yourself to go to bed at a reasonable time, and going to bed at 3am and waking up at 8:30am probably isn’t the best of ideas. Internally screaming that at myself mid-doze every morning is not how I want to wake up. Living off the late nighter, early riser theory was never a successful one, and I’m pretty sure even my snooze button even thought I was taking the biscuit.
Even though my earliest lectures during weekdays are at 11am (lucky, I know), I still aim to get up between 8-8:30am, sometimes even earlier, just to give myself time to complete any jobs that need to be done (e.g. food shopping, cleaning etc.), to peacefully eat my breakfast whilst reading the world news online, possibly do some reading, and to get ready for the day ahead. Getting into the routine of waking up early and spreading out the number of jobs to do means that I can relax on an evening, making the early(ish) start worth it.
Diary Organise – Plan Your Days
I know it seems like a no-brainer… but it also seems like something very old fashioned. Writing down your plans and workload not only keeps yourself in check, but it stops you from double-booking yourself. And I’ll tell you now, I could not live without my diary/ organiser. Writing everything in the Book Of Rachel from deadlines, appointments and meetings, to social events with friends and upcoming birthdays. I even write the Word of the Day in my daily diary. Sad, I know. But would you expect anything else from an English Language student? Many of you may prefer to write plans in your digital diary – your phone. However, I carry my diary around with me every single day, and seeing as my phone seems to die at 21% battery (and Apple refuse to accept it’s a fault in their product, pfft), a literal diary seems to be unthinkably more reliable.
‘To Do’ Lists
Holy grail of organisation, ‘To Do’ lists are one of my favourite strategies to stay on top of your productivity, lessening the chance of laying in bed at night, tensing every muscle in your body when you realise you haven’t completed that one crucial task you were meant to that day. Besides, there is no better pleasure than ticking off items on your ‘To Do’ list once you have To-Do’d them. Even if it is ticking off items such as “write a To Do list”. It’s one less job done though, right? Seems logical to me.
Stationary is Your Life Saver
You’ll be surprised how helpful stationary helps you organise your notes and lists. That’s of course if you don’t already take a great pleasure in buying novelty stationary like myself. Being a student, hoarding an abundance of notes, paper and handouts, so there is nothing better than organising your notes and sheets of paper with paperclips, clips and pins. And remember, when it comes to being productive: stationary is your best friend. Netflix is not. (I’m sorry Netflix, I love you really).
I can try to deny it as much as I like, but growing up in the generation of technological advancements, I feel as though we have been blessed with EVEN MORE organisation tools to keep us in check with work. And I’m not lying when I say that cleaning your mailbox of spam and unwanted e-mails makes you feel like you have cleansed your soul at the same time. Try it out, you’ll see what I mean. Keeping your documents filed in virtual folders in your laptop/computer/iPad/iPhone/any other technology you rely on for work purposes will de-clutter your life – we’ve all experienced that anxious hectic search for a piece of work you thought you had saved somewhere when you realise it’s not there. Don’t do it to yourself. Folders are friends.
Always Have a Back Up Plan
Having a full schedule can mean that some days you can’t fit your whole life into one day. However, if you find yourself having to postpone a job, it going wrong or not getting as much work done as you had liked to have, have a back up plan. Know that you will have spare time to fit it else where before it’s too late, which perfectly relates back to time management. Which then relates back to keeping a diary. Which then relates to writing in your diary with nice, new stationary. Do you see where I’m going with this?
Although even the thought of it is a chore in itself, filing really does help you organise and manage your work. Section splitters, plastic wallets and stickers to write the title of your folder on, folders are the mother of organisation. Doesn’t it all sound so fun? Okay, granted, it might not. But invest in a good, decent folder, and it will hold your papers together better than you can hold yourself together. Or is that just me? But really, neatly stacked sheets of A4, clamped in funky folders on your shelves are the way forward.
After reading the my tips to the key of organisation, I hope you have opened the door to a world of organisation and stress-free days. Oh, wouldn’t that be lovely. But maybe you feel inspired, at least, to try out some of these things to structure your schedule. And you’ve had a great start so far, because you have just strategically procrastinated part of your day anyway, reading this. This was on my list of things To-Do and in my diary (as you saw earlier), so the joke’s on you. *Writes “say ‘sorry’ to reader” on To-Do list*.
Images: All images taken by Rachel Jefferies