Get organized before final exams hit
With finals quickly approaching, here are a few tips to organize your life.
Agenda Book: A good agenda book goes a long way. Mine is blue, it’s non-electronic and it’s sort of my best friend. An agenda book is where you can map out your schedule and list your tasks, and it’s a great help to prevent double booking. It’s essential and also free, as UWM provides a free agenda book to all students.
Make a List: My best advice for organization is to make a list of tasks on a daily basis. It is stressful and difficult to remember everything you need to get done, but writing things down makes it easier. Don’t let a deadline or task slip your mind; write it down in your agenda book!
Prioritize: Okay, so you have your agenda book with your list of things to do in it. Now you can prioritize your tasks into three categories: immediate, important and long term. This way, you have some order and structure to the list.
Reverse Scheduling: This tip works great for long-term projects. Basically, with reverse scheduling, you can evaluate how long a project that is due far in the future will take to complete. Begin planning backwards starting with the due date. Go through every step of the project, starting with the finished result, and block out time to work on each stage.
Block Scheduling: Block scheduling is important because it brings your list of tasks to action. After you put your schedule in your agenda book, begin allocating tasks to different times of the week based on priority. Make sure you build in some buffer time so you don’t feel overwhelmed if unexpected things pop up or if your task takes longer than planned.
Complete Tasks a Day Early: I give my friend Stuart all the credit for this tip. He always completes polished work and saves himself the stress of last-minute craziness by simply completing the assignment a day early. This way, if there is more work to be done than expected, you can use another day to work on it. No more all-nighters!
Time of the Day: Determine when you are most refreshed and creative. Not everyone is a morning person like me, but it is important to know when you work best so that when you block schedule you can complete the more challenging tasks (like that paper that you’ve been dreading) when your focus is the best.
Make Time for a Task – Time Will Not Find You: Is your room a mess and your garbage overflowing? Time to clean up will not find you; you need to find the time. There is always time for everything, it is just a matter of making time and realizing that sometimes priorities need to shift. Tasks that “can wait” most days can be ignored in the immediate so that you can be flexible for something more urgent. Those flexible tasks, which you do put off, usually take only five minutes, so don’t forget to find time for them later in the day or in the upcoming days.
Try Task for Five Minutes: I read this tip somewhere and it really works! So if you are a procrastinator, this one’s for you. Just try the task for five minutes. If you are still agonizing at the thought of working on it any longer, try again at a later time. Almost every time I apply this tip, I end up working on the task for quite a while, if not completing it.
Don’t Study at Home: This tip comes from my friend, Steve, who I always see in the library because he does not take school or work home. For Steve, home is for relaxing and school is for focus. The concept is that sometimes the environment can really boost or take away from your success.