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Confession: I have never owned a planner until this year. I am a senior in college.

Whenever I needed to remember something I would either set a reminder on my iPhone or “make a mental note”. I’m not sure how I actually did that for so long, but thinking back I can say that being disorganized contributed to feeling overwhelmed and stressed A LOT. And let’s be honest, we get enough of that by just being in college in general.

However, this academic year I made the leap to become more organized and I can honestly say I’m never turning back. Besides being “on top of the ball” all the time, I have gained mental strength that I never had before.

Here are my tips to becoming an organization pro.

1. Invest in a Good Planner

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Sunday night, sit down for an hour and actively plan out your week. Write down homework assignments you need to do, classes you need to go to, grocery lists, to do lists, meetings, ANYTHING. It is SO helpful to be able to look at the week ahead and know exactly what you’ll be doing, what you need to get done, and also when you have time to fit things in like working out, hanging out with friends, etc.

If it looks like you’re going to have a busy week ahead of you, think of different ways to off-set the load. Is there anything that you can do ahead of time to get it out of the way? Is there anything that you can let slide until the next week? Try moving things around so you don’t end up overwhelmed.

Have you ever had a homework assignment or exam sneak up on you? And all of the sudden you have a million and one things to do and there’s no way that you’ll be able to get everything done? (I’m currently having flashbacks to pulling all-nighters to get papers done…)

Having a planner can really help with that. When I get a class syllabus, I go through and write all upcoming tests and big assignments for that semester. You can see when different exams overlap, and then plan ahead for how much time you’ll need to study for each of them and plan out when you can get that done.

I 100% recommend “Passion Planner” if you really want to become an organization pro. I own one of their planners and I love love love it.

Check out their website: http://www.passionplanner.com/

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2. De-clutter your living space

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Your bedroom is a mess and you can’t find that one notebook with all of your Biology notes in it. You go to make breakfast and all the dishes are dirty and piled up in the sink. You go to throw on a sweater before going to class but they’re all in the laundry basket.

It’s impossible to be organized and get stuff done if you’re living in a messy and cluttered environment. Take the time to put things away as soon as you’re done with them. Clean up your dishes right after you finish eating so you don’t have to go back to it later.

If you’re playing “catch-up” all the time, it’s difficult to be productive and get things done in a timely manner.

Side note: Using that good ol’ planner will help with planning time to do laundry or deeply clean your room/bathroom/kitchen. Having a clean, organized space will help YOU stay clean and organized. Simple.

3. De-clutter your MIND

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I wouldn’t be able to stay on top of school, work, clubs, and my social life if I didn’t make time to “de-stress” and wind down every once in a while. Adulting is hard. If you don’t take a second to just sit back and relax, you’ll burn out quickly. Different techniques that I use to clear my mind and stay calm are:

· Meditation- as little as 5 minutes before bed

· Yoga- this is hard to make time for but even just once a week

· Keep a journal- try to keep this separate from a planner. Write down anything, how you feel or things that you’re thinking about.

All of these strategies provide an outlet for relieving stress and anxiety and can really help free up some mental space. It’ll keep you more focused and organized and less likely to shut down during times of high stress.

Use them!

Not only will staying organized help you succeed in college, it is a great skill to have just in your day-to-day life. You’ll save time, money, and a ton of stress. The sooner you start, the sooner it’ll become a habit.

What are you waiting for?

-Taylor Lefaiver, WPE

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