Getting (and Staying) Organized for Graduate School
The school year is well underway, and whether it’s your first year in graduate school or your final year; whether you’re in a traditional in-person program or an online program; and whether you’re going full-time or part-time, getting and staying organized can make a big difference in your academic life. Especially if you’re juggling a job or family, being organized can help you with time management so you can get everything done that needs to be done. For some people, organization comes naturally; for others, they need a little help. Whichever way you fall, read on for some tips about how to get organized!
1. Get rid of clutter. When you have lots of clutter – in your bag, in your house, in your office, in the car – it can cause stress. You don’t know where things are and it feels chaotic. Store things you don’t use in designated places, donate what you don’t use or need anymore, and make an effort to clean up after yourself. If you have kids, create a kid-friendly and age-appropriate storage system for their toys and try to pare down the clutter that naturally comes with having children.
2. Organize your workspace. Check out our blog post about organizing your home workspace here. If you have a cubicle at school or work, you can apply this as well.
3. Create files for your email. Go through your email and delete everything you absolutely don’t need – outdated sale emails, spam, etc. Archive things you think you might like to keep for later. Create files for important emails so that you can find things easily – this is especially important if you’re doing online courses. This keeps everything in one place.
4. Go old-school. What do we mean by this? Get a document storage system like a filing cabinet or folding file organizer and put your important documents for school into it. If you have a desk, consider a desk organizer so that your pens, pencils, highlighters, post-it notes, and anything else you might need are all in one place. Consider a paper planner; this way, you can write notes in it if you’re inspired on the go, you can cross off things in a to-do list, and if you’re somewhere without wi-fi or your phone or laptop dies, you can still access what you have to do for the day and create lists if need be. (Speaking of paper planners, check out this blog post on how an academic bullet journal can help with your dissertation or thesis!).
5. Bring back the chore chart! We’re only half kidding about this one, but especially if you have children, have them help around the house. This helps take off some pressure and work from you, and also teaches them responsibility. (Just make sure it’s age and ability-appropriate). If you don’t have children, a chore chart is still a possibility – create a household schedule for yourself to help stay organized. Housecleaning can feel like a monumental task, but if you break it up into smaller chores, like bathrooms on Wednesday and Sunday, bedrooms on Monday and Friday, and so forth, it can be more manageable.
6. Plan ahead. The night before, get your school things ready for the day ahead of you: classwork, books, what you plan to wear, a lunch or snacks, etc. Make sure you have everything you need in your bag. Especially if you have a family, this will save you that frantic early morning run-through of what you need where you inevitably miss something. If you have kids, have them do the same thing the night before. Planning ahead can also save you time with meal prep and dinner choices.
We know life happens – especially at the times when you least expect it. But by maintaining some organization, you’ll be less overwhelmed when the unexpected hits. Here at Dissertation Editor, we’ve been where you are. We know how busy graduate school is when you’ve also got other obligations. A trusted, experienced editor can help keep you on track with your research and writing to help keep you moving forward, and a stats expert can save you hours of confusion if data analysis isn’t a strength of yours. Contact us today to see how we can be of assistance!