You might be thinking, ‘Beff, you’ve only been back at university for two weeks, babe?’ and yeah, you’re right.
This year is probably the most important year of my life thus far. The year that will determine my future. The year that, out of the last three, will likely consist of the most stress, tears and comfort eating. University is stressful, but it will all be worth it.
With this in mind, I have created a game plan.
My theory is that, in starting early and making sure I am fully prepared for the year ahead – nothing can go wrong. I hope I didn’t just jinx that.
There are a number of tools and techniques I am using to help me get through my final year. I hope that in sharing them, some of you may be able to use them in your studies, too. The tip I will be sharing last is the one I think you will all find the most useful!
Diary and Sticky Notes
I am living life by my diary at the minute. It’s essentially my bible. I never thought I would be one of those ‘Ooh, let me check my diary’ people, but it turns out, I’ve become one. It includes all my social plans, university deadlines, events and things that need completing that week.
I write in this as soon as I get a new plan/event so that I don’t forget to do it. Any plans I feel may end up rescheduled or changing slightly, I write on a sticky note so that I can move it to the new day because I don’t like to scribble out.
I’m not using this too much yet, as I don’t have any deadlines due just yet. When the heat gets turned up a little closer to Christmas, this little desk pad will definitely help me manage my time and keep to a schedule.
It has space for hour-by-hour scheduling, as well as ‘Today’s Top Three’ and ‘Topics To Study’. There are a few other handy tools on there too, which I think would be perfect for GCSE or ALevel students who have a lot more subjects to study. It would have certainly helped me during my ALevels to help me stick to a plan. The above three pieces of stationery were all just £1 each from Poundland, some of which you may have seen in my haul here.
On the right-hand side of my weekly planner I write down everything that needs doing that week. Everything. Even the small stuff.
This then allows me to delegate different tasks to different days in small, manageable chunks. One thing I’ve definitely learned is that making your goals and deadlines achievable absolutely makes you more productive.
Once I complete each task, I highlight it or cross it off the list. When you get to Sunday and every task is crossed off, that sense of achievement is so rewarding (and deservedly so!) This was another £1 product, so a total bargain but a huge help. The Study Planner above is essentially an extension of the Weekly Planner, and each evening before bed, I take a look at the following day’s tasks and try to work out a rough schedule on my Study Planner.
These bits of pastel stationery were gifted to me by Ryman, and they’ve certainly come in handy. When I produce work, I like to have a paper copy too, in order to create my own portfolio. Some of my modules require me to create them anyway, so I think it’s just good practice.
Every time I print a piece of work, I either use my (incredibly cute) pink stapler to bind materials together to file, or my (equally adorable) lilac hole punch. I have an A4 yellow ring binder where I file my work, which keeps it all in one place.
I also have an A4 notebook where I jot any ideas and notes down. This is probably the least neat of all of my stationery, as it is quite often illegible scribbles and lecture notes, but I always find time to write them up neater and better-explained for future reference. If I don’t, I will come back to the notes in six months’ time and I won’t have a clue what it was supposed to mean.
Find more of Ryman’s cute pastel stationery here.
My Ultimate Organisation Tip
I assure you this tip will make you 1000x more productive. All you will need is a note book and as many coloured pens as you have modules/subjects.
At the top of each page I write the title of a module, each in a different colour, as I will be colour coding.
For each module, I then list everything that needs completing for that module, for example: proposal, portfolio of written content, portfolio of images, activity log and reflective evaluation. Beside each task I have a box, and a key to help me complete each one.
Blank – I haven’t started the task
One line through – Started
Half shaded – Almost complete/awaiting review
Fully shaded – Task complete
For me, this technique really drives me to get things done so I can shade in all of the boxes. I am constantly looking for the next task that is near completion and what I can start next!