It’s been quite some time since college started and you are beginning to feel as if all the resolutions you made are slowly taking the backseat? You have started to lose a sense of time and procrastination seems to be your best friend. You have a lot of tasks to do and never seem to have the time?
Losing track in college is an epidemic almost all students face. I too have been a victim to the same. Starting out enthusiastically creating an unrealistic time table of all the things I would achieve in an impractical amount of time to getting nothing done. But once I understood the problem and worked backwards, things started to get into place.
In this post, I will take you through some steps that can help you get yourself back on track and ace your college like you sought out to do. You will also get access to the task sheet right at your inbox once you subscribe to the blog along with FREE access to all the student resources. If you are a part of the champs, you must have already received it by now!
So let’s begin.
Step 1: Write Down Every Task Detail by Detail
Firstly, I would like to congratulate you. You have taken the very first step by starting this article. If you follow these instructions as per the flow, you will have yourself back to work in no time.
The very first task you should do is get a pen and a notebook or your laptop or any other piece of technology you make notes on and can keep handy. Remember to use an item that you can keep at hand whenever you might need it in the upcoming days. Now, this is the time to gather all your thoughts in one place so that you can always come back to it when needed and also to lift a small burden.
Writing down your thoughts can be very effective. With all your tasks gathered at one place, you can burden your mind with completing the task rather than remembering it.
I have created a small list of items which might help you in the process of collecting your to-dos and tasks at one place. You will find this on the first page of the task sheet in the resource library, the password to which you would have received in your email when you subscribe to the blog. If you need help in remembering your tasks you can make use of this sheet.
Now, get that piece of paper (or whatever you are using) and start writing down all that you want to do, have to do or had thought of doing. No matter how irrelevant it might seem to you, just put it on paper. Go on, I am waiting…
So you are done? Feels good, doesn’t it, to lift all of these floating thoughts and place them at one destination? Now that you are done with the first and the most crucial task, let us move on to step 2.
Step 2: Prioritise These Tasks
By now, you have bought all your lingering procrastinated items to one place. Your second challenge is to select the major ones from the lot. Prioritising your thoughts will help you assign relevant time to your tasks. This will ensure that you give the correct amount of time to the most crucial tasks.
But how will you do this? It is simple. Out of the many tasks you wrote down in the previous step, select the following:
- Tasks which should be completed in the upcoming week
- Items which need to be finished in the upcoming month (2-4 weeks)
- Tasks that are crucial to your semester
- Tasks that are not bound by time
If any task falls out of this category, leave it for now. We will work on it at a later step.
In the second section of your task sheet, you will find a table. You can either take a print of the sheet or create the table on the same notebook where you jot down your to-dos. Do this step and then move on to the next when you are done.
Step 3: Organise – Mentally and Physically
When I talk of organisation, I speak not only of a mental organisation as we did above, I also talk about physical organisation. But what do I mean by that? Mental Organisation refers to the items you put down in a piece of paper. Then segregating them with a particular variable; in this case according to priority.
A physical organisation, on the other hand, refers to your surroundings. Just as you collected your thoughts in one place you need to place your items at their correct places. Chances are that if you are a little disoriented in your tasks you might be the same with your items. Forgetting where you kept the keys you swore were in your pocket two minutes back or searching for that top you wanted to wear but have not idea where you kept it. If not, then you just have to master the mental organisation realm.
However, if something similar has happened to you, my friend, there is a simple formula to get everything in its place and getting your physical surrounding from chaotic to organised. Don’t believe me? I am a live example in front of you. Until last year, I was an extremely chaotic person. Forgetting where I kept an item I had in my hand two seconds ago. Searching hours for items I knew I kept in the cupboard.
Physically organising your surroundings will help you in the mental organisation as well. Removing the burden of having to remember where you kept these said items can have an ever-changing effect on you. To help you keep track of your progress and see to it that you keep up with it throughout I have created a FREE 5 Day Get Physically Organised Challenge (coming soon) which you can sign up to through my free resources page.
Step 4: Set Up Your iCal or Google Calendar or a plain old planner
Now a choice of these items is totally up to you. Initially, I used to be a paper planner girl through and through but since I have started using iCal life has become so much simpler. Compared to a paper planner an electronic planner gives you the liberty to have access to your tasks at all times. Set your reminders which will just pop up on your computer screen or phone rather than you having to remember to read your reminders.
For a chaotic person like me, an electronic calendar was a real life changer as compared to a paper planner. Whatever your decision, stick to just one item and do not keep these tasks at different places which might just distract you.
Shifting your tasks to your planner
By this time you have your tasks jot down, your priorities set and your device or item of action selected. Now, you need to transfer your tasks correctly to said item. Here, I will be talking about an electronic calendar but you can take the same approach for a paper planner as well. As per task 1 in the task sheet, you should have divided your tasks as:
- Miscellaneous 1
- Miscellaneous 2
Now, colour code these items individually. For instance, I have colour coded some of my items as follows. This helps you easily sort out the tasks for the day in one glance.
Have a look at your priority list. As per the task sheet they have also been categorised in a similar manner. Now go back to the task sheet and fill in the details for Task 4. Once you are done, come back here and we may proceed.
Setting individual time limits for each task
As per the task sheet, you must have set time for your individual categories. It is now time to further categorise these categories from the priority table. Let us say you have put maths assignment due for Wednesday in the upcoming week and study for physics quiz in the upcoming month. These two now need to be timed correctly.
The first rule to set a time to a particular task is to overestimate the time. You need to give more in your time in your calendar than required so that if the task takes more than anticipated you won’t have to shift any tasks further down the day like you were used to earlier. But this does not mean that give it too much time that it can account for.
The second rule; do not overlap tasks. It is just one of you, how will you split yourself to do two tasks?
Now, the third rule is simple but if you are reading this article you probably did the same mistakes as I did. Not giving yourself the required ME TIME. You are NOT a robot. Do not schedule one task after the other such that you have not time to even rest in the middle. Take short breaks.
Fourth and last rule; put everything in the calendar. Lunch? Dinner? Everything should be there. Why? You won’t forget to eat. Of course, but this will help you plan out your day effectively.
Starting the Planning Journey
So as you can see, step 4 has a lot of sub-steps. But if you follow them closely, you will be able to make the most out of your time. With all the previous steps, now all you need to do is place them at the correct point. That means planning your day completely. From when you start work to when you will end it.
As a student, you will have classes at different times of the day. Your first step is to place the times of pre-planned tasks such as classes, due dates of assignment, project submissions etc. Next, you need to take in the items from your timed priority list and put it in the calendar. You will then need to fill the gaps with other activities according to how you have planned it while according to the time to travel, eating or even taking a break.
This is what it can look like. The white spaces you see in the calendar are your free slots which are you mini-breaks throughout the day. You also need to plan ahead what you can. If you know an assignment is due in a few weeks put it on your calendar. Every thought you process should go from your collection of tasks list to your calendar. Keeping any floaters will just make you go haywire all over again. You also need to remember to plan your day in advance, probably before going to sleep.
Step 5: Learn To Set Reminders and Write Everything
In the starting of the post, I asked you to keep a small notebook at bay which you will use to write down your tasks. This item should be handy at all times. This particular step is simple and will help you keep your streak. Whenever a thought pops up in your head save it then and there to this notebook or collecting point and set it as a reminder. Once you are done noting it down, get back to what you were doing.
This habit enables you to keep to your task without getting distracted by this new thought. You have already planned your day and should follow the plan. Once you go to your reminder check time of the day when you are scheduling for the next day you can then set a time for this task.
Step 6: Learn From Your Mistakes and Just Do It
More than a step it is an action per se. This is the step where you contemplate where you might have gone wrong the previous time. This will help you avoid these mistakes in the near future. Ask yourself this question. Where did I go wrong? Were you not properly organised before? Were you trying to do a lot of things at a time? This will surely help you avoid such mistakes in the future.
The last and final thing to do is to STOP PROCRASTINATING. Procrastination is what keeps you from your goals. So what do you do to keep procrastination at bay? Start the task. Yes, it is as simple as that. Try doing a task for 5 minutes, if you succeed you will keep at it.
Step 7: Do a Rain Check
Now that you have gone through all steps of getting back on track it is crucial that you stay that way. To ensure that you keep track once the enthusiasm fades off, make sure to come back to this article every 2 months. You can put this in your calendar. This way you can recap all the crucial items that you might need to follow.
I hope this article helped you get back on track just a little. Be patient and make sure to stick to your plan. If you would also like to organise your physical space make sure to undertake the FREE 5 Day Get Physically Organised Challenge which you can access in the Free Resource Library in the upcoming week.
You can access the free resource library by subscribing to the blog. I send the password to all my champs. Subscribing to my mailing list will let you know of new freebies every Sunday and Thursday! You will also get a lifetime FREE access to my resource library which will help you master college and life like a pro! Make sure to share this post with friends and family you know would need a boost to get back on track!
See you soon 😀
Some related posts in technical me section are:
5 Online Course Sites Every College Student Should Check Out
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11 Cutest Bullet Journal DIY to Boost Planner Organisation (With Freebies)