Staying organized in college is not an easy task.
There’s a million more things to do in college than in high school, and a lot less structure to do them. Classes are spread throughout the day, the workload is sporadic, and the distractions are endless. Without some way of organizing and maintaining a schedule, college can be extremely overwhelming and stressful.
That’s why I’ve learned to take advantage of some organizational tools that help keep my life in order and reduce unnecessary stress. Without these tools, my life would be a mess.
I’m currently taking 18 units (5 upper division classes), working a part-time job, hitting the gym four times a week, and trying to keep this blog growing. I’m not going to lie and say that it’s not a lot of work, because it is, but it’s definitely manageable.
And even though I have long and busy days, I rarely feel overwhelmed or stressed out because I always know exactly what I have to do and when I have to do it.
Thanks to applications like Google Calendar and Wunderlist (which I’ll go into more detail in just a minute), my hectic schedule is neatly organized into daily and weekly to-do lists that I can easily access, edit, and adjust at any point during the day.
Taking advantage of tools like these frees your mind from trying to remember everything you have to do and lets you focus on the actual act of doing.
Relying on your memory to try to remember everything you have to do is not only ineffective, but a waste of energy that usually results in self-inflicted stress.
Staying organized lowers the stress the levels in your life which translates into improved focus and an overall more productive and enjoyable life.
Although I don’t have a lot of free time, when I do, I make sure to take advantage of it.
As the wise Wiz Khalifa says, work hard, play hard.
The interesting thing is that the harder you work, the more you enjoy your free time.
If you want to live a more enjoyable life, start working harder.
We’re only here for a limited amount of time. And by here, I don’t mean in college. I mean on this planet.
Are you making every day count?
One of the best feelings in the world is going to bed at night at the end of a long, productive day and immediately knocking out. I hate not being able to fall asleep at night because I sat around all day doing nothing.
We’re all capable of doing more than we think.
“Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see further.” – Tweet This
But I digress.
If you’re struggling to manage a hectic schedule and don’t know where to start, or just feel like your life could be a little more organized than it is right now, this post is for you.
Try some of these apps out and see if they work for you. If they don’t, then drop them. No harm done.
The most important thing is that you find something that works for you, and then stick to it.
Don’t forget that the point of these tools is to make things easier, not more complicated.
Here are 5 tools and apps that I use on a daily basis to keep my life in order:
By far my favorite Google application of all time, and probably the most useful tool I started using in college. While some people only use calendars for events, I literally put everything I need to do on this calendar. There are three reasons why I love Google Calendar so much:
- Because it gives me a bird’s eye view of everything I need to do on any given day, and at the same time I can look ahead and see what I have coming up in the next week or two.
- Because you can sync Google Calendar to your phone. Google calendar is compatible with any iOS, Android, or Windows phone. If you’re like 99% of the population and always have your phone on you everywhere you go, you now always have your calendar on you too.
- Because you can color code events. This makes it extremely easy for me to quickly glance at my calendar and know exactly what I have in store for me.
Here’s a screen shot of what my calendar looked like this week.
Do you still email documents to yourself when switching from one computer to another? Or save your files on a USB and then transfer them?
Dropbox eliminates the need for ever doing that again.
Dropbox is a cloud service that allows you to store your files on its online application and access them from any computer. This is not only a super convenient way to transfer files, it’s also a super easy way to back up your files, for free. With a free account you get 2.5 gb of free space, which is more than enough space to store at least your most important school files. If you don’t already have some sort of back up storage, please create a Dropbox account right now and back up those files!
Evernote is the ultimate on-the-go note-taking app. Like Dropbox, it’s also a cloud service and can therefore be accessed from any device. What makes Evernote so great is that notes (which can be text, a webpage, a photograph, or a voice memo) can be sorted into folders and then tagged, edited, searched, and edited as part of a notebook. I mainly use Evernote in two ways:
- On my phone, to write down random thoughts/ideas (or any thing that I want to come back to later) that I have during the day.
- On my computer, I use the Evernote Web Clipper Chrome extension to “clip” web pages, or parts of web pages, into my Evernote account. This is sort of like bookmarking a page, except since it’s stored in the cloud it can be accessed later from any device.
This app is great for creating lists.
Personally, I mainly only use Wunderlist as a planner for writing down homework assignments. I have a separate category, or list, for each class, and at the end of each class I write down the specific homework assignments due for the next class.
I tried using it as my main to-do list app but I just don’t like not being able to see everything I need to do, like I can with Google Calendar. However, I have found it very useful as a planner for homework assignments.
How many unread emails are in your inbox right now? If your answer is “too many”, this app is for you.
It’s ridiculous how many emails we receive every single day. I probably receive at least 20 emails a day to my main Gmail account, and another 20 to my junk Yahoo! account. Most of these emails I delete right away, but some of them are actually important, like emails from professors, from my work, or from my university.
I remember at one point I had over 400 unread emails in my inbox, and this seems to be a fairly common sight for most people. Today, however, I end each day with 0 unread emails in my inbox. It’s a great feeling, and I was able to do it thanks to this awesome app.
Unroll.me declutters your inbox by allowing you to unsubscribe from any subscriptions you don’t want to receive anymore with the click of a button. You also have the option to select which subscriptions are still worth keeping, at which point the service will “fold” them all into a single daily email they call “the Rollup.”
If you found these tools useful and are looking for other ways to declutter your life and better manage your time, you might be interested in checking out these other posts:
Image source: picjumbo