As a student, organization is an essential skill that helps me become productive and successful. To many students, “organizing” simply means keeping your desk clean and your binder tabbed. But there are more sides to organization than it seems!
You can build habits and systems to organize your entire life, starting with the physical aspects. But once you have your life organized, productivity and happiness will come along on their own.
In this post, you’ll learn the 10 habits you need to build to organize your entire life. If you’re ready, I’m ready; let’s get organized!
Before you begin the organizing process, you must figure out what there is to organize. Do you need to focus on your physical environment? Or your emotional and social surroundings? What about your mental space?
Analyze yourself and figure out your weaknesses. Once you’ve done that, it’ll be much easier to pinpoint and improve specific areas of yourself. Some common bad habits students have that prevent organization and productivity are:
- Not writing things down
- Constant distraction
- Burning out
Later in this post, you’ll learn more about how exactly to fix these issues. But before you go on, think about yourself. What prevents you from getting your life sorted out?
Dedicate time to organize
Many people feel sudden “bursts” of motivation and use that energy to have a sudden organization spree. While that works sometimes, it’s not the best way to use your time and doesn’t guarantee the best results.
Instead, dedicate blocks of time you’ll use to organize, whether it’s organizing your physical space or organizing your future plans.
For example, many people like to spend 1-2 hours each Sunday afternoon to plan out the next week’s goals and todo lists. Many also like to choose one day each month to “deep-clean” their homes, organizing and cleaning.
Doing this – predetermining chunks of time for organization – can give you a sense of control and accountability, so you can maximize your efficiency and productivity while organizing. Try it out!
Set smart goals
Setting goals is an extremely crucial step in organizing your life. They give you a sense of purpose (even if it’s temporary) and help you build stepping stones in your life.
But many people don’t know the right way to set goals. Here’s an example of a not-ideal goal:
- I will make money.
And here’s an example of a smart goal:
- By August of 2024, I will have made $10,000 from blogging.
This is a smart goal because it has a deadline (August of 2024), an amount ($10,000) and a method (blogging). I can specify this goal even further by including short-term goals (certain amounts by certain dates) and individual income sources (affiliate marketing vs. ads).
When you are setting your goals, make sure to be ultra-specific. You must include a when (deadline), a what (preferably a quantitative measure), and a how (the process you will follow). And it’s even better if you can split it further like the way I did with the example.
Planning ahead is crucial. By planning ahead, you’ll maintain control over time and not have to nervously work without purpose.
When organizing your life by planning ahead, I suggest starting small. Start with planning out the next day, then the next week, the next month, and eventually the whole year.
All your plans should be interconnected. When planning out your week, you will no doubt have to plan out the day as well. And when planning out your month, you must have individual tasks/goals for each week. And so on and so forth, until you have the whole year planned out.
So today, grab a planner and start planning out your day. For detailed planning, use an hourly schedule and timeblock your day. Don’t forget to include breaks as well!
Once you’re ready, grab your planner (again) and start writing out your plans (less detailed this time) for the rest of the week and month. Include your short-term goals, important dates, and other notes!
Many students have an unhealthy balance between work and rest yet don’t realize it. I’ve noticed that this unhealthy balance can cause many problems, such as procrastination, inability to concentrate, anxiety, and much more.
Therefore, it’s important to be aware of the energy you spend on resting and working and making sure you’re always maintaining a good balance between the two.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to know yourself and your “peak” times. Whatever time in the day you feel most productive, use that time to work. Whenever you know you simply can’t focus, rest.
Never force yourself to do work while your body refuses, because it’s simply a waste of time and will cause burnout. Balance will take some trial and error, but after a while, you’ll get better at maintaining it!
YOU’LL LOVE THIS POST: 23 Easy Habits That Will Skyrocket Your Productivity
Write things down
Your memory will fail you sometimes, but a trusty pencil and a piece of paper will not. Therefore, truly organized students don’t keep everything in their heads. They use notebooks, planners, sticky notes, and more.
And this is what I recommend you do, as well! Whenever you want to create a to-do list, write it down on a piece of paper or a planner. I especially love this sticky to-do list notepad and use it to write down a lot of my to-do lists.
And of course, your weekly plans, important dates, daily schedules… they can all go in a planner or an organizer. If you’re not sure which planner will suit you best, I recommend starting with this super affordable productivity planner.
Learn to prioritize
It can be easy to feel overwhelmed when you face a large to-do list. But instead of being intimidated and avoiding it (and procrastinating until it’s way too late), learn to prioritize tasks and tackle them one by one.
My go-to method of prioritizing is by using the Eisenhower Matrix. I explained all about how it works in this post: 7 Powerful Habits Of Highly Productive Students. You can use this matrix for every task in your to-do list to figure out what to do first, what to do later, and what not to do.
You can get a free downloadable template of this matrix from my Freebie Library.
Batch similar tasks
You should always have a plan of action when tackling your to-do list. Other than using the Eisenhower Matrix to prioritize and remove tasks, also try batching tasks!
For example, some of my daily to-dos on a Saturday include:
- Organize my closet
- Organize my desk
- Vacuum the apartment
- Outline a new post for my blog
- Create new pins for my blog
- Schedule tweets for my blog
- Update old posts
- Finish up the week’s schoolwork
As you can see, some of these todo’s are related to each other or to 1 topic. If this happens, I batch them and complete them together.
For example, I’ll spend 2 hours completing all my blogging tasks, then take a break. This method of organization is highly effective in making your to-do list much more manageable and yourself more productive.
Organize your space
“A clean space is a clean mind.”
Though an organized space may not instantly clear your mind and organize your life, it sure can help! Decluttering your room and your workspace is very effective in calming your mind and making it easier to plan and execute more tasks.
Therefore, take a few hours to organize your space. I suggest starting with your desk (or wherever you focus and work the most). I have an entire post dedicated to this, and you can check it out here:
Less is more
This tip is very much connected to the previous. Whenever you’re organizing, decluttering, or setting up your space, keep in mind that less is more.
Have you heard of the Marie Kondo method?
You must create an environment that makes you happy. And this method of “happiness” can help you declutter and throw away a lot of things.
Not everything in your room or workspace will spark joy. Keep only the items that will help you stay productive and/or make you happy. Discard or hide the rest, and you’ve got yourself an ideal work environment.
I hope this post will help you become highly organized and productive! And remember, building habits take time, so be patient!
Speaking of building habits, check out this Complete Habit-Building Workbook, created by yours truly!
If you’re looking for more, give these a try:
- 7 Secrets Successful Students Will Never Tell You
- 23 Easy Habits That Will Skyrocket Your Productivity
- 11 Highly Practical Uses For Your Empty Notebooks