Tag Archives | organization

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When our brains get overwhelmed by everything we have to do in college, they have a tendency to shut down. You can’t afford for your brain to take a vacation – you need it to finish all of your work. A little organization and structure will go a long way in keeping you productive. With the right tools in your toolbox, you’ll be able to finish anything.

1. Learn With Your Phone
You have plenty of apps on your phone that you can use to keep in touch with your friends and family, and even some you use just to help you waste some time. Have you ever used an app to study? Note taking apps and flashcard generating apps make it convenient to study from anywhere. Many of them will even sync to your computer, allowing you to import the study materials you already have handy.

2. Get a Planner
A planner is an old school productivity tool, but it’s making a big comeback. People really love decorating their planners, but they don’t need to look pretty to work well. By writing down all of your plans, including your assignment deadlines, it will be easier for you to keep track of your responsibilities before they have a chance to smother you.

3. Meal Planning Apps
Believe it or not, meal planning apps will make your life a lot easier. A lot of people are more health conscious now, and you can benefit from technology. Even if you aren’t looking to shed a few pounds, meal planning apps come with tons of advantages. You’ll be able to keep up with your grocery shopping and prep your meals ahead of time. You won’t find yourself studying until midnight and settling on delivery pizza or junk food when you feel overwhelmed.

4. Budgeting Apps
You need food, you need books, and you desperately need a new pair of sneakers. You may feel like you need to choose one or the other if your money gets scrambled up in the confusion of college life. Budgeting on paper is difficult to keep up with. Budgeting apps make it a lot easier to keep track of where all of your money is going. You’ll be less likely to ask your parents for a last minute loan if you have easy access to the full scope of your finances.

5. Anki
Anki is a flashcard deck program that’s easy to set up. You can choose from any of their preloaded decks, or create your own. It’s great to use when learning a foreign language, as many of the language packs come with audio clips of native speakers pronouncing the words. It’s a lot more immersive than reading plain text – the verbal accompaniment will enrich the learning experience.

6. Old Fashioned To Do Lists
Who wouldn’t benefit from a to do list? Whether you manually write out the things you need to accomplish on a piece of paper, use an app, or get yourself a huge chalkboard, it will help you keep track of all the small things that have been piling up while you’ve been focused on the bigger stuff. You got the grade you wanted on that huge project, but how long has it been since you’ve done your laundry? Don’t let the mundane chores slip away.

7. Fitness Trackers
Whether you wear one of those tracking bracelets or use an app on your phone, you’d be surprised how much good it does for your life. Focusing on exercise can help boost your cognition, providing you with the energy you need to take on the day. You’ll never be productive if you feel tired and bogged down all the time. Your health is more important than you may realize.

By focusing on becoming more productive now, you’ll already be set when you graduate and land the career you’ve always dreamed of. It’s never too early to begin forming lifelong good habits.

This article was contributed by guest author Sarah Davies.

Image by Lana Hawkins

When it comes to studying, so much depends on your organization – where you study separates a straight-A student from an average one. You have to be organized, systematic and methodic in order to achieve success. And you have to repeat it day after day, from enrolment into college to graduation. The best way to get fully organized is to organize your study room – in your dorm or at home – and achieve a certain level of comfort in this area so you won’t mind spending countless hours there. Here’s how.

No Distractions
This may be the biggest problem for students across the USA – there are just too many distractions around them! Smartphones, TVs, computers, fridges, beds and other people constantly distract them from their studying, so they’d rather catch up with the revival of Gilmore Girls than do some actual work.

The best way to limit distractions is to remove them from your immediate surroundings. Leave the phone in the kitchen, unplug the TV, switch your Wi-Fi router off and forget about sleeping or eating for a few hours. Even if you are the most disciplined student ever, don’t try your luck around these interruptions and just leave them behind. Or, learn how to use them so that it’ll be beneficial for you.

Organize Your Literature
Exemplary students own tons of books, textbooks and other studying material that assist them. However, unless organized adequately, these will occupy your entire room in an instant. That’s why you need to come up with a good system. The most important thing is a proper shelf – regardless of how big it is, you must have one if you want to organize your books. If you have a problem with the space as all students do, think outside the box and, instead of purchasing a huge shelf, make one on your own or create a unique piece that doubles as a headboard for your bed.

Declutter, Declutter, Declutter
Students possess too many things and bring too much stuff into their dorm rooms – and that’s only natural with the abundance of books, magazines, foods and drinks that go through their hands every single day. But, if this mess overtakes you, you’ll be frustrated and unable to hit the books.

Find time to clean your room once a week and figure out what you do and don’t need in your study area. That way, you’ll leave enough time for studying and won’t have to waste precious minutes cleaning day after day.

Investigate Alternative Spaces
You don’t have to study behind the desk all the time, you know. When in college, you can do basically whatever suits you, as long as it brings results. So, stop forcing habits you don’t enjoy.

For example, numerous students take their books to bed. While many think this is a bad idea and that your mind associates the bed only with sleeping, others think this is the best thing ever. Additionally, explore other spaces – relocating to the floor, the window seat or the kitchen can do wonders for your productivity.

Find a Suitable Desk
The problem with US dormitories is their what-you-see-is-what-you-get philosophy. While some don’t mind adaptations and redecorations, others frown upon any changes. This could be a problem for a number of students because their default beds or desks aren’t suitable.

That’s why you should find a way to bring in your own desk. See if your old high school desk is still functional, or make a new one. Both of these options are fine, as long as they allow you to study.

Organize the Desk
Now that you’ve found the perfect desk, it’s time to organize all your writing utensils and studying material. Purchase some pencil cups, desk organizers, vertical shelves, folders, file carriers, boxes and plastic containers.

Also, organize your wires and cords with a coated wire basket – this is especially useful with those excellent ergonomic standing desks that support your spine during longs hours of studying. Finally, if you need help keeping track of all your tasks, install a bulletin board.

The Results!
Once you organize your study room – whether it’s in your dormitory or at your home – you’re ready to go! You’ve got all your necessities close by, there are no distractions and you’re completely focused on your work. Soon you’ll realize that an organized study area will result in better grades.

This article was contributed by guest author Lana Hawkins.

Image by Jeff Sheldon, unsplash.com

Image by Jeff Sheldon, unsplash.com

Your things are moved in, your parents have left, and you and your roommate have claimed your spaces in your new dorm. Then it hits you: you’re stuck in this concrete box for the rest of the semester. Here are a few ways to make your dorm into a safe and well-organized home and have a happier college living experience.

Finding Space in Your Space

Maybe you have several bags full of clothes, or maybe you brought more books than you’ll have time to read. Fortunately, many dorms are laid out in easy-to-organize ways with lots of corners, ledges, and sometimes ample closet space.

Attaching caddies to existing dorm furniture is one way to find room to store school supplies. A little searching and cash can create storage space in closets and even off the side of a bed with shoe organizers, totes, and plastic storage stackers. If your dorm has bunkbeds, they can be used for shoes and clothes. It’s easy to find plastic boxes and caddies to keep track of your toiletries and make sure your roomie doesn’t walk off with your shampoo. If a bookshelf would take up too much space or you just don’t want to have to move one, you can create one using existing floor space or a part of your desk by lining up your books and using a bookend, which can be made from a box to hold your pens and other small supplies.

The Electronics Slide

It’s a common complaint: your dorm was built 30 years ago, and doesn’t have enough outlets for you and your roommate to charge all your devices. Americord power strips and extension cords are your friends, but make sure to use them safely. Don’t daisy-chain by plugging one power strip into another. It’s safest to plug your computer into a wall outlet rather than a power strip.

Along with your various cords, it’s good to invest in some Velcro strips to keep everything coiled neatly. This will also help distinguish your phone charger from your roommate’s or your friends’, who might need to charge their phones in your room. Keeping your cords neat will also prevent time-consuming tangles, and make sure you keep your external devices in order.

Dorm life can be rough. You and your roommate may part ways in sophomore year, and that class you thought would be easy may be the worst thing to happen to you. But with a few simple tweaks, your school-assigned lodgings can become a well-ordered sanctuary.

This article was contributed by guest author Brooke Chaplan.

Image by PublicDomainPictures, pixabay.com

Image by PublicDomainPictures, pixabay.com

When you decide to throw your hat into the ring of self employed freelance writing, it might be because you’ve heard that some writers charge up to $200 per hour for their services. Whilst some high-profile, well-regarded copywriters might indeed have a solid enough reputation to be able to charge these kind of amounts for their time, the reality is that most freelance writers across the world are very far from even the average of $60 per hour that is generally quoted from various sources online.

Though freelance writing is a fantastic opportunity for you to determine your own workload and set your own wages, if entered into halfheartedly and without industry knowledge, it can be a huge struggle to make ends meet. With this in mind, here are our five tips for how to develop your freelance writing career into something that can provide you with both personal and professional sustenance.

1. Avoid Distraction

When you are working from home with all of your personal comforts around you, it can be incredibly easy to become distracted. To put it simply, when you work for yourself, time is money, and you need to be really strict with yourself about how you spend that time. Spending much of the day behind a computer screen brings a myriad of different procrastination temptations. A few handy programs are available online like StayFocusd and Leechblock that will block certain functions on your computer and allow you to concentrate on your productivity.

2. Get Organized

Working from your home environment requires a strict amount of organization for your business to flourish, as you are not governed by traditional office hours, etc. You could work all day or you could work all night if you prefer, but what is crucial is that you get into an organized routine that your mind and body can become accustomed to. Find out when you are at your most productive and arrange your schedule accordingly.

3. Find Your Niche

With so many freelance writers out there competing for work, it can really pay off for you to find and develop a niche subject that you become the go-to writer for. Some writers like to focus on business, others like to focus on education; whatever it is that you feel you are best at, make it known to prospective clients and work to have your name be positively linked with whatever you choose.

4. Consider Outsourcing

It can sometimes be the case that you have no work one week and too much the next, so to make sure you always meet your deadlines and satisfy clients. You could consider outsourcing some of your projects in order to complete your workload. There are plenty of great outsourcing networks set up online for freelancers to share their load and sacrifice certain assignments for the greater good. Don’t get bogged down; outsource and lighten your stress levels.

5. Utilize Online Tools

You don’t have to just sit there in front of a blank word document and try to create your own help or inspiration. There are plenty of online tools that can be incredibly helpful for a freelance writer. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • ZenWriter – this is a full-screen, distraction free working environment that allows you to write and stay completely focused on your projects. It is a simple interface that eliminates any potential distractions.
  • Google Calendar – Google Calendar is the perfect personal assistant when it comes to remembering and meeting deadlines. Get into the habit of inputting every new assignment you receive into the program and you can set handy reminders and progress checkers for individual projects.
  • HelpScout – HelpScout is a service that you can use to separate your work emails from your personal emails in order for your inbox to become much more stress-free and easy to handle. The last thing you want to do is miss an important work message, and with HelpScout that problem is easily solved.

This article was contributed by guest author Linda Craig.