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Updated January 2021
I’m currently in my final year at university now (which is scary as the real world is looming) and in that time I have managed to survive my first couple of years and have learnt to adopt some ways that really help me to stay organised. With the switch to online university, it’s more important than ever to keep on top of your university work and find ways that work for you to stay organised. Here are the best tips that I’ve been using to stay productive whilst at university.
Organisation Tip 1: Ask for help
This is something I never used to do that much in first year as I was always the type of person who never asked or needed much help in school. However, university is a completely different way of learning and your lecturers are there to help you if you don’t understand something, want some extra time to discuss a query, or even if you found something incredibly interesting and want to discuss it further. More often than not in my third year, I will email my lecturers or attend their office hours to sound out ideas for an essay if I’m struggling or want an opinion. They are more than happy to give you some advice and steer you in the right direction. This really helps me to stay on track if I get stuck and usually after a quick 10-minute meeting you have a much clearer idea of what to do and where to go next that it will stop you from getting stressed and letting everything else you have to do get on top of you as well!
Organisation Tip 2: Use to-do lists
I am such a huge to-do list user – I write one most days and I find it really helps me to get everything in my head down onto paper so that I know what to do and where to start. Even writing down the smallest tasks like ‘do washing’ or ‘make bed’ makes me feel more productive and organised as they’re things you can do quickly and get the ball rolling. I also find adding things that aren’t study-related helps to keep me motivated as there isn’t a huge overwhelming list of university work to do. Writing things down helps you to visualise clearly what to do next and the satisfaction of ticking something off of your to-do list is always a great feeling too!
Organisation Tip 3: Plan your meals and food shop
This is something I’m still working on but making a list of what you plan on cooking for the week and then using that to make a shopping list is a great way to stay organised and also save you some money. This is especially important if you have dietary requirements or follow a vegan diet as you won’t always know what’s available on campus. I always walk into the shop and get suckered into buying food I don’t need or random bits that don’t make any meals so planning ahead and thinking about what you might eat is so useful for staying organised and maintaining a balanced diet that doesn’t just consist of pasta and pot noodles, especially if you have dietary requirements too!
Organisation Tip 4: Stick to a routine
Making sure you have some sort of routine in your day is good for staying organised. I know that I am definitely a morning person so I make sure to get a decent nights sleep, go to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up at roughly the same time each day. I find that whenever I have a day out of routine my motivation and energy crashes as it feels so out of the ordinary therefore I try to stick as much as possible to get up in the mornings and getting started with my day ASAP.
Organisation Tip 5: Back up your work
During first year, it’s made pretty clear that if you lose your work that is not a good enough excuse for not having work. If you want to stay organised always make sure you have your work saved more than once so if, for whatever reason, something goes wrong and you can’t access it you don’t have to start all over again. Personally, I always use google docs for whatever work I’m doing as I know that I can always access the latest version wherever I am rather than constantly saving different versions to memory sticks or emailing work across.
Organisation Tip 6: Use a planner
I am a huge fan of anything stationery related so I absolutely love shopping around for my planner every year and it’s something that is a staple for my university life that I’m not sure I could live without! Having a planner saves me at university as I can write down all my deadlines, make a copy of my timetable and write down anything important in my day. It really helps to block out your time and plan what you need to do and when for. I try and carry my planner with me all the time so I can quickly refer back to it or add something new if I need to. It’s such a useful tool for staying organised as you can quickly make notes and keep track of where you are.
If you’re in the market for a new planner or some new stationery to keep you on track this year at university then the people at Mal Paper have got you covered. They have some absolutely gorgeous pieces to help you stay organised and they’re also giving away a £50 voucher in November and December if you enter their competition! All you need to do is sign up to their newsletter and tell them what your number one goal is! If you’re looking to treat yourself, or someone else for Christmas then look no further!
Those are my best and favourite ways of staying organised and keeping productive at university. It takes a while to get used to university life sometimes and you’ll soon find what works for you but I hope you’ve found something there useful!
What do you do to stay organised? Do you have any tips and tricks for productivity?