Ok, so it’s the start of a new semester and everyone’s still getting back into the groove of things. It’s especially hard if you’ve had a winter break like mine, indulging yourself with lots of food and lots of down time with the two friends, the couch and the TV, that you can always count on when your day’s schedule consists of nothing. Yes, I am aware that this makes me sound extremely lazy, but as a student athlete I had other obligations such as running, lifting, and playing wall ball. So, when you finally have days where you can do anything you want- doing nothing might just be the best thing for you. Especially when you know a tough Jan Term schedule is creeping upon you.
So anyways, this blog post is about organization and utilizing your agenda. I am an avid agenda-er, one could even say I’m a tad obsessed. If there is something that could be written in my agenda I typically do it on the spot. Here are some tips to get you started. If you’re not the slightest bit OCD feel free to skip any tips you think necessary. However, being OCD about writing in your agenda is what I believe helped me get straight A’s last semester. Balancing lacrosse, clinicals, work study, five classes, and a Creative Collaboration project is a lot to handle, so believe me an agenda helps you get it all done and find your free time. Plus checking tasks off on a daily basis helps you feel very productive even on the laziest of days.
Tip #1: Plan out what you need to write in your agenda. That way you can write it down sequentially according to the time of day.
Tip#2: Fill out the month part of your agenda lightly in pencil first.
Tip#3: Color coordinate activities into categories. For example: Converse Stuff (advisement and stuff like that): pink, Assignments due: orange (it’s bright so there’s a sense of urgency), Tests: Red (obviously b/c it’s most important), Lax stuff: green, Matt stuff: black (yes, I write down important dates in my boyfriend’s schedule relative to me- creepy? probably.) Creative collaboration project and work study: purple (both purple b/c they’re both “work” and b/c I ran out of colors).
Tip #4: Write everything out on the monthly part of the agenda first. Then if it’s all correct write it out on the weekly part.
Tip #5: When writing in the weekly part I always put reoccurring tasks on the first line or very bottom line of each day (so all of my practice times for that day are on the first line, and work times are on the bottom). The second line and down is where I list tasks/assignments I need to work on that day. If I don’t write the tasks/assignments in order then I number them by what’s most important/due first.
Tip#6: When your schedule gets hectic like around oh say, finals week, it really does help when you give yourself time frames to work on each assignment. Planning ahead really comes into play for this because I try not to work on too many things in one day to avoid getting too mentally drained. If you plan ahead you can do this for yourself too. Also, I know study tips say to work for a certain amount of time and take a certain amount of time off but we all know 10 minutes is not a long enough break. So when you give yourself an allotted amount of time for an assignment or to study think about how much time (realistically) it would take you to complete the task. Then give yourself an extra 20 plus minutes to get it done (depending on what it is). For example, if I was working on a study guide (which is what I do to study) I would say it’ll take me 2 hours to get it all done from start to finish. Then I’d write down a three hour time frame next to that task in my agenda. This way I can be flexible and take as much breaks as I want, but at the same time being aware of my time frame. Three hours might seem like a long time but if you’ve planned ahead and don’t have anything else to work on that day, it’s not much time at all. Maybe this only works for me because once I write something in my agenda, I have to get it done. And since I like to get things done in one hit. PS. let it be known that in addition to making the study guide, I study for like 20 minutes a day until the test. But I can write about studying strategies another time, I’ve kinda veered away from the topic.
Tip #7: Use Sunday as an organizational day to make sure you’re prepared for the upcoming week. Check your monthly section and make sure it corresponds with your weekly section, sometimes you can make a mistake and forget a due date…
So the bottom line is write down EVERYTHING in your agenda (minus obvious things like they made us do in Student Success Seminar, like brushing your teeth and showering… we’re big girls, we can figure that out without writing it down. But writing TV shows down is helpful because then you can set a goal to get all of your stuff done before the show, then the show is your reward. Rewarding yourself is always a good motivator too, if checking something off is not enough.
Ok so back to the bottom line- write everything down, pencil first, then color-coded pens, write what’s in the monthly section onto the weekly sections, reoccurring tasks are written on the top or bottom of the day of the week, priority numbering and time frames do help when written in the weekly section.
So that’s it. Below will be some pictures of my agenda. Was this blog confusing? I hope not. A lot of rambling? Maybe. I hope there was at least one insightful thing in here for anyone reading this.