Thursday, July 26, 2012

Getting Organized

Being the Type A super OCD person that I am, I spend much too much time organizing my things, making to-do lists and writing reminders in my planners. With an "s." Yes, I have multiple. As a burgeoning professional and especially as a student, it is crazy important to be organized. So here are 5 simple steps to turn you into an organizational pro.

1. Start with your computer. I've been obsessed with my MacBook Pro since the day I got it. But not until recently has it been glued to my hip. I spend so much time writing and getting things organized for school and my internship and my personal projects that to have a disorganized laptop would result in chaos. And I do not do well with chaos.

Make folders for your classes or jobs and put them in folders dated by year or semester to keep your files organized. Here's an example of mine:

Within each of these folders is a subset. For example, my school folder is organized by year (freshman, sophomore, etc.) and within each of those is fall and winter semester. My work folder is organized into resumes, cover letters, and writing samples. It takes a little time if you don't already have a system, but it pays off in the end. Promise.

2. Use a planner! I don't care if it's iCal or Microsoft Outlook or something on your phone. I would love it if it were a notebook style planner (but that's just because it's my preference). Anything that helps you remember appointments and to-dos in a streamlined way is a vital step toward being organized.

3. Have a file system. I am a huge proponent of file systems. It's really important to save things (like anything finance related, papers and exams that will help later in the semester) because you never know when you'll need certain items or pieces of documentation again. This doesn't mean become a hoarder and keep absolutely everything, but get a small file box that can fit about 10 folders and label them with what they're needed for. It will be a life-saver one day.

4. Label. Label. Label. If you label things, you know what they're for. It's as simple as that. Label tasks with priority, label folders for classes, and label anything that seems important and you're golden!

5. Make it a mental thing. Being organized means following tips like these to get your things together and your priorities straight. But staying organized is a mental process. You have to want to keep your life neat and in order to stay organized. Remember to add that assignment to your calendar. Put important financial forms where they belong. Don't just "be ok" leaving items in random places on your computer. Change the way you think about organization and pester yourself to follow these tips for 21 days and they'll become unbreakable habits. Plus, being organized will help you save time, so you can squeeze in that nap or fun activity!

I hope these tips have helped inspire you to get organized. Whether it's for work or school or just because you need a little bit of order in your hectic life, getting organized is the best way to sharpen focus. Have a tip that I didn't get to? Something you want to see featured? Let me know via twitter or the comments!

Good luck!



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