Category: Tools and Strategies
When I first came to college, I found it challenging to balance various elements of my life. From class assignments and club meetings to my work schedule and meet ups with friends, it didn’t take long before I started feeling very overwhelmed. I started thinking: How am I supposed to stay on top of all of these deadlines? How can I figure out when I’ll have time to fit everything in my schedule? Eventually I developed a three-part system to keep myself organized.
I love organizing. I make lists. I make lists of lists. It’s basically an art form at his point. I am, however, an expert procrastinator. I’m also weirdly productive: I get most tasks done before they even hit my to-do list. Putting away laundry? Done. Writing a blog post for work? Sure thing. Editing a friend’s dissertation chapter? You bet.
Like many other students, I’ve recently had to move back home. While I was happy to be reunited with my cat, all the upheaval (and my inability to go get work done at Davis) has made it difficult for me to stay as organized and on top of my work as I used to be. I’ve been using Trello to keep track of all my work and assignments since the start of spring semester, but I began to think that something similar to a traditional planner might also help me keep track of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. So, I turned to the Learning Center’s weekly planners.
Pre-quarantine, my chaotic schedule was kind of helpful. I just did whatever I was supposed to do at any given time and place so that things got done, ideally somewhere around the time that they were supposed to. This schedule involved frantically running around, writing papers in strange places at strange hours, and frequently checking Google Calendar. The challenge of showing up in the right places at the right times and keeping deadlines straight meant that I never really had much choice in terms of where my work happened. Now, there is only one right place to be. That has been a bigger adjustment than I thought it would be.
The hours seemed to pass me by as I worked. Afternoon turned to dusk, dusk to night, and soon I realized that I hadn’t stopped to rest, let alone eat. In the best cases, I had accomplished a great deal. In the worst, I’d done little more than “half-work” all day. By the end of my first week in quarantine, the worst case scenario had become my only scenario.
I wholeheartedly believe that the perfect calendar doesn’t exist. It took me a few years of trial and error to learn that a combination of paper and electronic calendars works best for me. This system doesn’t need to be complicated. In my case, I use Google Calendar to figure out where I need to be (as well as any recurring reminders) and a paper calendar for what I need to do.
What a spring. As new developments surrounding COVID-19 are announced on what seems like a daily basis, getting back to coursework remotely is a daunting and extraordinary task for all of us. One of the biggest difficulties posed by a switch to virtual learning is the loss of routine, which can severely impact our ability to stay organized and keep ourselves accountable for the many projects we have going on. How are you going to balance all of these tasks to make sure you budget your time wisely, prioritize effectively, and remember to do everything?