I always felt like I was a pretty organized person. My backpack wasn’t clean but everything was there, and I generally knew when all my deadlines and tests were. Around sophomore year of high school, though, I had a drastic jump in work.
I went through practically every way to organize my homework, deadlines and extracurriculars. I went from online planning apps, to the school planner, to even just not bothering. All of this experimenting proved useful - I now know the best ways to stay organized.
- Google Calendar is my best friend. I don’t know what I would do without it. The trick is to create multiple calendars with different colors. I currently use red for fun events, lavender for LaunchX, and green for working out. I also created separate calendars for each of my online classes. Having multiple calendars has so many benefits. I can pick and choose which ones to show, such as during the weekdays just having my school ones on. Another tip is to set up notifications for a calendar and not each individual event.
- Another useful app is Google Tasks. It is just a standard task app, but when I have reminders, they are automatically added to my calendar. It is fancy or complicated. It just creates tasks and reminders. Google Keep is pretty similar to Tasks. Keep also has reminders. A key differentiator would be Keep is better for making lists and Tasks gives the ability to create sub-tasks for much larger tasks. Keep will also sync to Calendar.
- During my work sessions, I also picked up productivity tips. The Forest app is a great tool. For those of you who don’t know, Forest lets you set times where you can’t use your phone and if you succeed with not using your phone, you get to plant a tree. I have also been getting into using the Focal app as well. Fun fact - it was created by fellow Launchies!
All of these digital ways are awesome to keep track of events and tasks, but for deadlines and homework, it’s best to have something physical. For my school and many other schools in my area, students can’t exactly take out their phones, so using a device or a separate planner app isn’t the best way, especially since I have a habit of writing down my homework in the beginning of class. The school planner had absolutely no space to write down my assignments and deadlines, so I turned to other tools.
- For those of you who don’t know, a bullet journal or bujo is a way to organize your life. Think of it like a standard planner that you can completely customize. It can be used as a planner and a diary combined or it can be used to plan out trips and projects. Honestly, a bujo can be used for whatever you need. All you need is a notebook and pen/pencil. I recommend watching a few YouTube videos on bujo set ups to get an idea on what works for you.
- I also like to have a monthly calendar, a place to track my habits and spending, and then pages to keep track of work. I like having 2 spreads (spreads are two pages not back to back) each week. I create a table with the days of the week as the columns and class names as the rows. I use the first version to keep track of assignment deadlines, tests, and quizzes while the second one is used to write down homework. I keep the names of my classes in my bujo the same color as my Google Calendars.
Another great way is to reward yourself after completing tasks. I like to create task trackers in my bujo with rewards along the way. I like counting the number of tasks I completed rather than the amount of time. I find that when I create times, I end up procrastinating to make my time chunk run out. A few of my favorite rewards are getting a snack, watching half an episode of a sitcom, or watching 20 TikToks. But feel free to add whatever you like to do as well.
Like most people I love listening to music. After working for a few hours, I get bored of music. I am so thankful I discovered podcasts. Music is great when you are working on tasks that require thinking such as homework and studying. Podcasts are great for tasks that don’t require as much thinking such as email writing or writing this article ;). It can be hard finding podcasts you like but I recommend looking for ones that are similar to your YouTube subscriptions. I love comedy videos so comedy podcasts are my favorite.
That’s all the tips I have for you all. I hope this helps. Stay productive everyone!