time management

4 Habits of Organized People

 

organized

I often hear fellow classmates mumble, “Wow, was that paper due today?” or “Is that test today? I completely forgot to study.” During my first year of college, I made those mistakes too and fell victim to the hectic life of a college student. Needless to say, I’ve always regretted it. It affected my productivity, GPA, and increased my school anxiety. I realized becoming more organized would be beneficial for the rest of my life, even outside of college. Once I found the right tools for me, I never looked back. Here are four organizing habits I developed through my college experience.

Planning Ahead

The best thing I ever did my sophomore year of college was buying a planner. At the beginning of every semester, I go through all of the syllabi I receive and write down important dates. I write down when papers are due, exam days, and canceled classes. Then, when you are flipping through to schedule other activities, nothing will interfere with your already scheduled school responsibilities. Another easy way to plan ahead is to think about what you must do tomorrow before going to sleep. The night before, plan your activities so you don’t forget anything important. The planner I use is from Erin Condren – I love it and the best part is you can customize something for yourself!

Prioritize Important Tasks

To-Do lists are another way to stay organized – but a way to kick it up a notch is to first prioritize important tasks. If you have a term paper due in two days and an exam in five days, tackle the term paper first because the due date is sooner. Even though this may seem obvious, it’s sometimes difficult to prioritize well. If you have a test coming up this week, it would be best to schedule that dentist appointment for the week after. Another great prioritization tool is to bump the most difficult tasks to the top of your list for the day.  A clear sense of what is important helps you accomplish more tasks – so prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.

Set Reminders

Even when you write everything down in your planner, it’s easy to forget to check it often enough. Set reminders and alarms on your phone to help you accomplish tasks by their deadlines. You can even set them for the beginning of the day, so you can spend the entire day working on your tasks. Setting reminders on your phone will help you remember to-dos anywhere you go.

Have a Routine

Highly organized people function with routines. There are certain times for accomplishing key tasks such as answering e-mails or doing laundry. It will take a few weeks to fully form a new habit, so find out what works for you and stick with it. If Saturday is your best laundry day, then stay with doing laundry on Saturdays. If Tuesdays are your easiest day off, stick with it. It’s almost like having a set work schedule, but for your life. Having a routine will keep you organized and on track with your tasks.

Becoming a more organized person will help you meet all of your deadlines with ease and also help you remember all of your tasks. Use these tips to get started!

How to Reduce Stress Throughout Your Day

Reduce Stress

When you’re trying to manage all of your summer responsibilities – whether it’s an internship,  a summer job, or simply finding time to cross things off your bucket list – it’s easy to become stressed. Stress can put a damper on any day, even the sunniest of them. Here are a few easy tips to keep your stress level under control and make the most of your summer.

Prepare for Your Day the Night Before

This seems like such an easy task, but most people over look it. Even if it’s just a few minutes before you go to bed, it’s important to plan for your upcoming day. Think about any appointments or activities you have scheduled, and then visualize how your day will go. What’s in your planner for the morning? When do you have free time? If your day is packed, would rescheduling a small task be beneficial? These are all important questions to ask yourself to ensure your day goes smoothly, ultimately helping you reduce stress.

Work on One Thing at a Time

There is nothing more stressful than looking at your To-Do List and feeling like its endless. Prioritize your most important tasks, putting them at the top of your list, and take on one thing at a time. This will ensure you utilize your efforts on the most critical assignments – instead of lackadaisically doing multiple things at once. When you finally check something off your to-do list, the weight will slowly lift off of your shoulders.

Utilize Journaling to Reduce Stress

Instead of letting your thoughts swim around in your head, try writing them down. It’s easy to compartmentalize your thoughts when you can physically see them. There are several ways to journal, and the best part about journaling is there are no rules – you can make your journal whatever you’d like. It can be full of poems which were cluttering your brain, short stories you thought of during the day, or a simple Bullet Journal to help plan out your days. It’s your journal, so everything is acceptable!

Take a Short Break Every Few Hours

When you’re stuck on a project or task, the best thing to do is walk away from it. This simple action is vital to helping reduce stress. The next time a homework assignment is giving you a headache, or you can’t think of the perfect thing to say for that work presentation – take a break. Go for a short walk, read a few pages of your favorite book, or go grab a quick snack and cup of coffee. It’s always important to give your mind a break a few times each day. The more you try to force the ideas – the more your brain can jam up. Take a break, let your brain breath and ideas will come flowing in.

Stress can become very overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure how to properly deal with it. Whenever you’re feeling stressed, even if it’s over something small, try some of these tips to relax.

Putting Together a Freshman Year Plan

College life brings with it a limited budget and almost limitless free time.

There are plenty of hours to fill, but not a lot of spending money in your pockets. However, there are many resources at your fingertips which can make the experience affordable and enjoyable, allowing you to graduate with good spending habits and without debt.

Here are three tips to help you transition to college living while using your time, money and talents wisely.

freshman year gameplan

1. Start Building Your Resume

Once graduation is over, it’s time to get working. Right after high school you have a whole summer to begin saving for the future. Jump right in and get some real life experience to put on your resume and learn what it’s like to have an income.

Once you start school, either reduce your hours to part-time or find another job that better suit your class schedule. For some students classwork can make employment tough, but this does not mean it’s time to quit working. Just working two shifts over the weekend will give you money to use for saving and spending.

There are a variety of jobs out there for you to try. Whether or not you want something social, like working on campus or something to start networking, or doing entry level work in your field, get started early. Even food service or retail jobs can be the stepping stones to learning leadership skills you will use in the future.

2. Evaluate Income and Spending

Putting together a budget requires accurately estimating how much income you have and what regular expenses you will owe. Determine the funds you have to work with by adding together the money you were given for graduation, any regular spending money your parents will provide and financial aid money that will go toward expenses and paychecks from working.

Even if your parents can’t afford much or checks from graduation are small, the money can be leveraged so that you have a cash safety net during college.

Use Microsoft Excel or another online budgeting application to create a budget that tracks the cost of books, cell phone bill and other personal items. Discuss with your parents early on the costs they will assume for you. Making a plan before it’s time to pay can prevent you from spending more than you can repay or taking out more than you need in student loans.

Open a student checking and saving account to receive discounted rates and track your spending to make sure you follow your budget. Start with at least $100 to open the savings account and then deposit some of your earnings every two weeks until you have $1,000. You can use the savings for major expenses such as flying home for winter break or making an emergency visit to the hospital after breaking in your leg in intramural soccer.

3. Manage Time Intentionally

Believe it or not, studying is a major way to save money, not to mention improve your grades and prepare you for a career. Putting a sizable portion of your time into study groups or planting yourself at the library utilizes this time to its greatest potential. Take the initiative to be a disciplined student and devote hours to your class work.

You may feel tempted to use these hours for fun events like shopping, going out to eat or paying for other entertainment. Limit your nights out to once or twice a week so that you are in control of your grades, but still able kick back and relax here and there.

Take advantage of the on-campus events sponsored by your school. After all, part of your tuition is going toward these activities, which are often free to you and accompanied with free food. This will help with immersing you in the community as well as saving you from spending money on other forms of entertainment.

College is a time to embrace many new things, but debt doesn’t have to be one of them. Make the most of your freshman year by working hard, sticking to your budget and hitting the books.

Alanna Ritchie is a content writer for Debt.org, where she writes about personal finance and little smart ways to spend (and save) money. Alanna has an English degree from Rollins College.

CWK: Juggling Multiple Jobs

While on the train to New York City, my laptop is out and I’m writing articles, not for the job I’m going to, but for writing jobs out of Lexington and San Francisco.  California isn’t even awake yet, but my editor will have another article in her inbox before her morning coffee.  Lexington is probably awake but the posts aren’t even due for another week.

Journalism collegians, just like most other majors I can imagine, have so much on our plates.  We need to work for our degrees, work for our bank accounts, work for our resumes, work for scholarships for school and balance some sort of social life so we don’t end up having a mental breakdown (which might happen anyway).  Don’t forget to add family life and workouts into the mix!  

Photo credit: http://battleforthebathroom.wordpress.com

So how do we keep everything straight?

Planners and white boards, calendars and post-its, alarms and Word Docs, organize, organize, organize.

In writing, it is difficult to keep editors and writing styles straight, especially when working for some liberal companies and some conservative ones.  That’s something you don’t want to mix up.

The best way to keep everything in order is to simply pay attention.  You may be juggling fifteen things at once but always doing one thing at a time and thinking each task through to completion will keep everything in order.

Good luck, and just remember that the days of juggling essays, tests, quizzes, part-time jobs and college life is just around the corner!

Summer Jobs

If you are looking for a summer job idea, here is the place. Only certain jobs will hire college students, and most of them are part time. I have experience at many different types of summer jobs. In this blog, I’ll include my insight and hopefully help spark your interest. Let’s get started.

RETAIL

Retail stores will almost always need seasonal help. The summer season is perfect because while some of their school year employees will be leaving, they will have openings for the summertime. I work at Victoria’s Secret currently and I love it. If you enjoy talking to people and helping them out in whatever way you can, retail is for you. You need to be a generally happy person and personable towards strangers. At my job I enjoy assisting customers and watching them leave knowing that I helped to make their day. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, try applying to various stores in the mall as soon as possible!

RESTAURANTS

I have previously worked in two restaurants. During this time in my life I was too young to serve so I found myself as a hostess. This is another job where you need to be personable. As a host you’ll enjoy discounts on the food! If you like to eat, help people out, and can easily entertain yourself during the slow time, this is the job for you. As a college student you will be old enough to serve food. This is even better. Servers at good restaurants can make a lot of money really fast. Alongside your pay check you’ll walk out with cash every night you work due to your tips. A lot of people that serve really enjoy it, and the money. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, try applying at restaurants in your home town.

WAREHOUSE

A warehouse is where you’ll likely make the most money during the summer. Also it’s probably where you’ll have the least amount of fun. I spent all of last summer in a hot warehouse tagging clothes. Although I didn’t enjoy my job, I made enough to buy my first car all by myself. Warehouses are great for big money fast. Every day I had to be at work by 7am and didn’t leave until 3pm. It’s a very long day. I made 9 bucks an hour though! It’s tedious and long but the money was worth it. If you are a scheduled person and are excited for a lot of hours and money, try applying at a local warehouse, they always need all the help they can get.

To wrap it up, these are the three different jobs I have firsthand experience with. If you’re looking for a summer job but don’t know where to go, try one of these options. The options I listed are usually looking for people this time of year especially. Good luck on your search!