How to Organize like a Super Freak

I'm not ashamed of my being a huge nerd. Well at least not as much as I used to be. When I was younger other kids made fun of me for always getting A's and doing well in school, but I've come to love myself more as a person over the last few years in university. Being in a post-secondary institution full of more open-minded, education-oriented people has built me and my sense of self-esteem up immensely! Over my last 4 years at SFU, people have taught me to take pride in my mental abilities and to believe in my capacity to do great things! I would say that the need to achieve a 3.5+ CGPA (I currently have a 3.95 CGPA) in order to maintain my 4 year, $24,000 scholarship has not motivated me to excel in school nearly as much as has my internal motivation to better myself.
But I digress.
Today I want to talk about some ways in which I organize. While I don't have OCD, I love making lists. And lists have been my saviors over the past years of my academic career. And using a list, I will describe some of my most tried-and-true methods of achieving nerdy levels of organization.

Tips to Remember:

  • Use a calendar and a sharpie to circle down every major date, such as exams, assignment due dates, etc. While using a planner or iPhone event calendar is useful, I find that the visual impact of a big, red-circled date on my bedroom calendar is quite effective in reminding me to get started on something.

  • Use your calendar to decide when to start important tasks. For instance, I usually try to start my papers two weeks prior to their due dates and write "start paper" on my calendar within that appointed time period.

  • Make mental To-Do lists. During crunch time, I sometimes am kept awake by the fear of not being able to complete everything I need done in time. My best method of countering school-stress-induced insomnia? Making lists of every major task I need to do the next day and going over it in my head until I have it memorized. That usually helps to put me to sleep too!

  • Organize what you're going to wear the night before. People say I'm OCD when I tell them that I do this but this is an absolutely essential thing for me to do! If I don't, I usually spend an extra 15 minutes trying to figure out a decent outfit and make myself late for whatever I was getting ready for.

  • Make sure everything you need for the next day is carefully laid out in plain sight for you to see and grab the next day. Just like in elementary school, practicing this simple tip prevents you from forgetting umbrellas for a rainy day, an important paper that you need to hand in, that delicious lunch that you took the trouble to make for yourself, etc.

  • When you take things out, replace them right back to their proper places after finishing up with them. If you make the mistake of leaving them whenever you were using them, you run the risk of getting used to those objects being there and letting them become permanent fixtures in the wrong place.

These are just some of the more useful organizational strategies I use to keep myself sane while finishing up my undergrad degree. Hope they are helpful!


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