To-Do Lists and Planners: Staying Organized and Managing Your Tasks

Lacie Kraich on Wednesday, 31 January 2018. Posted in Coursework

 

Does it ever stress you out when you think about how many tasks you have to do in a day? How about the amount of tasks you need to accomplish over the course of the week? Unfortunately, I cannot completely remove your stress (though I would love to), but I can tell you how you can manage it!

As someone who is constantly plagued by work and study related stress, I like to consider myself an expert on keeping stress at bay… or at least not as close as it potentially could be. Since I began my studies at RIT, I’ve learned that in order to succeed here, it is important to stay organized. Here are some of the ways I organize what I need to accomplish:

INVEST IN A PLANNER

My biggest advice for staying organized and on top of your game is to buy a planner. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and it doesn’t even have to be a legitimate planner; it could just be a notebook that you would like to write in. While you’re at it, invest in a couple nice pens. I have found that it feels like less of a chore to write boring things down if you are using a nice, fun pen. Personally, I use Pilot G2 gel pens. I would recommend them. However, when I was in high school, I refused to take notes unless I was using my goofy novelty pen with a rubber toucan attached to the end of it. If you can find one of those, I would recommend that too.

ACTUALLY USE THE PLANNER

One of my new year’s resolutions was to stay more organized. So, I took my own advice and invested in a planner. Every day, I date the top of a new page and write down a to-do list section. I jot down things I need/want to get done during the day, and I draw little check boxes next to the bullets so I can check them off when I finish. It is satisfying to see that all of my goals were accomplished by the end of the day. In addition to my to-do lists, I like to write down small parts of my day. For example, I scribble down tidbits like what I am listening to lately, or what I am in the process of bingewatching on Netflix. That’s just a personal thing, but I feel like it makes the planner feel more like a fun journal rather than a big scary book of things that need to get done.

STAY ORGANIZED IN OTHER WAYS

I also have a whiteboard in my room with more specific to-do lists. I wrote down the names of all of my courses this semester, and I write assignment reminders and due dates next to them. When I am done with them, they're erased from the board. This is just as satisfying as the checkboxes in the planner. I have a similar section for each of my jobs on campus, one for my internship search tasks, and one or my personal art projects / commissions. In addition to the whiteboard, I also keep the Sticky Notes app open on my desktop at all times. Basically what I do is surround myself with constant reminders of what I have to do so I’m too busy panicking to slack off. Works like a charm. Some might call this overkill, and I don’t blame those people. This is just what works for me.

Please don’t stress yourself out more by surrounding yourself with work reminders like I do, but I DO highly encourage utilizing some sort of organizing technique like one of the few that I mentioned. In my experience, it has kept me motivated and has ultimately left me with more brainspace, seeing as all of these tasks are not constantly knocking around in my mind. Write your tasks and ideas down so you’re not overwhelmed. What seems like a huge terrible burden of a task in your mind is often not as intimidating on paper. Good luck, and happy organizing!