Top 5: Organization habits

If you’re a Typical Truman Student, you’re probably well-acquainted with the struggle of managing multiple responsibilities at once. As to-do lists continue to expand with the combination of online and in-person work this semester, it’s important to build more structure into your plans while maintaining mental clarity. During a time of particular distress, these five tips can provide guidance on how to organize your materials as well as your mind.

5. Write it down — It’s easy to feel trapped in an endless work cycle when so many obligations are stuck in your head. The brain can only handle so much, so why not jot it down? Getting it out on paper, a planner, calendar or even your Notes app can allow you to sort through tasks less sporadically. Let these resources do the work of remembering so your mind can allocate that energy toward more important things.

4. Make friends with your notebooks, binders and dividers — When it comes to organizing subject matter, these supplies are your true besties. I like to use notebooks for lecture takeaways and binders for exam review so that class and book material are separated. There are several other ways to sort through concepts, but the key is to take thorough notes. Just as writing down daily duties can help systemize your workload, releasing information on paper rather than simply skimming Quizlets can make abstract knowledge seem more tangible, and in turn, more manageable to understand.

3. Take advantage of alarms — When devising a scheme to get stuff done, it’s crucial to account for not only what, but when items should be completed. Using your trusty planning method — see No. 5 —  assign logical segments of time throughout the day to certain activities so you can maximize your productivity. Luckily, your phone can help further regulate these intervals by alerting you ahead of time. That way, you can fully focus on an endeavor without additional exertion spent on clock-checking. Make sure to allot time for breaks and food, too, of course.

2. Reserve regular cleaning times — Although I love the idea of personal expression, a messy room and desk should not stand as a metaphor for the state of your worries. If heightened stressors have you feeling like life is turning to shambles, a good first step toward fixing that — or preventing further damage — could be as simple as tidying up visible clutter. Even when circumstances might feel out of your control, cleaning is something you have the power to achieve with enough willpower and planning. Set aside an hour or so every day or week to sustain the sanctitude of both your space and soul.

1. Recognize that physical organization is half the battle — Sure, it’s great to feel at peace with your physical surroundings, but neglecting similar psychological balance can make it challenging to manage much of anything, even if it’s perfectly arranged. Take some time each day to reflect, relax and restructure disorganized thought patterns. Make use of meditation and journaling as often as you clean up and study. Maybe even leave a little leeway to do nothing at all. And if left to choose between maintaining material belongings or your personal health, try to prioritize the latter — after all, there’s never been a more crucial time to defend your well-being.