Before I start, let’s get one thing straight: organization and productivity aren’t the same thing to me! I’m a super procrastinator. Time management STILL isn’t my strong suit even after completing a whole bachelor’s degree. Maybe it’s because I thrive under pressure, maybe it’s because I just need to do better. Who knows?
BUT, with that said, I’m an amazing organizer. Have you guys ever heard the quote “there’s a method to the madness?” That’s me! Between my two graduate assistantships, blogging and YouTubing, being a full-time master’s student, and socializing, life can get chaotic beyond belief. Even though I usually procrastinate on important things, I still tend to excel – shout out to stellar organization. Let’s jump in to my top 3 tips for organizing a chaotic life!
Do you catch yourself forgetting about meetings and commitments until the day of? Sometimes I wish I can clone myself and be multiple places at once – or at least send somebody to do it for me in their best Marissa disguise. Since that’s not an option, it’s important to know exactly where I need to be and when.
Google Calendar can be accessed both on the computer and the phone, but I recommend the app for quick access on-the-go. Let’s look at my anxiety-inducing calendar. Take a deep breath!
Pretty full, right? Don’t let it scare you. This is how we manage life! Let me break down the colors.
Sage/Light Green – Work commitments, meetings, etc.
Purple – Fun with friends
Pink – Payday (SECURE THE BAG Y’ALL)
Yellow – Overnight duty for my assistantship (it’s also Google’s default color, so little miscellaneous things slip in there sometimes – it’s okay!)
Gray – Social media drops and content creation days
Red – Really, really, really important things like tuition payments, class registration, doctor’s appointments, etc.
Not too bad, right? Are you shook? If so, don’t be. It actually helps so much and you start to easily remember the colors within a few days of them. I don’t log obvious things such as showering, attending class, or studying, but some people choose to. It’s all about your personal preference. Regardless, having Google Calendar is like having a personal assistant. You can set reminders, and you can create recurring events instead of logging them all by hand (time saver!). Best of all, it’s cloud based – meaning you can access it anywhere. I’m starting to sound like a commercial, but I can’t stress enough how awesome this app is for me. Outlook calendar is very similar, but I prefer Google. See what works for you. I love to look at the different colors to see how I’m balancing my life. When I see green start to cover my entire calendar, I remind myself to make plans with friends for some fun. If my calendar is super purple, I remind myself to take time alone and save some money (going out all the time is expensive!).
Organize Your Laptop!
Or desktop – whatever you use! Have you ever downloaded something and saved it as something super obscure and nonsensical? I used to have a bunch of files floating around with names like “picture.jpg” “picture 1.jpg” “woiejowe.docx.”
You’ve got to be stopped.
Be strategic about how you use your computer. Create folders for everything, and save things in their proper place. It only takes an extra 2 seconds. Set aside some time to organize your computer and de-clutter your downloads and documents. I have folders for each class, each assistantship, the blog, my YouTube channel etc. That way, when for some odd reason I need that paper from Marketing 455 Fall 2017, I can go directly there. Losing files is the worst! Be strategic.
Sidenote: you can take it even further by organizing your emails too. I used to have a professor who’d send a couple emails a day, and I routed them all into one folder.
Folders and Binders
I’m taking it back to elementary school with this one! I like to keep separate binders for all of my classes, and separate folders for my jobs as well. I have three classes with separate binders for each in pink, purple and green. My teaching assistantship paperwork is in a teal folder. Paperwork for my other assistantship is in a manila folder. It’s so quick, cheap, and easy. If you’re like me and have tons of notes and loose papers, this is an easy way to keep them separate. Plus, the bright colors make it a little more fun. Stock up during back-to-school shopping for the best deals.
These three methods help me navigate my crazy life every single day!
What are your top tips for organization? What about for productivity? Let’s hear it in the comments!