While January 1st was only 35 days ago, studies show that around 92% of New Year’s resolutions have already failed. And when you’re in the event world, the most important goal of all may be to stay organized. For many of us however, that’s easier said than done. Take me for example. In high school I didn’t so much as own a planner, I wrote my assignments on my hand and then proceeded to wash them all off (by mistake, I promise). My life was in a constant state of chaos and disarray. BUT, when I started university 3 years ago I realized my old habits were not going to suffice. At the end of week 1 I was already drowning in assignments and due dates. I finally sat myself down and took a long, hard look in the mirror, vowing to turn over a new, much more organized, leaf. Three years later I am a changed woman. I’ve gone from trying to decode my chicken scratch on the palms of my hands to breezing through my color-coded calendar featuring upcoming events, meetings, appointments, and most importantly my school work. It’s 2015 and luckily we have a ton of tech tricks to stay organized, but if you’re even slightly involved in the event world, you know that organization isn’t something that can simply be left up to our iPhones.
We are posting this in February because if you’ve fallen off the wagon even slightly (and odds are you have) we want to make sure that although we can’t help get you back on the treadmill or eating strictly kale, we can lend these 6 helpful pointers to get your organizational habits back into high-gear:
1. Write it Down: Write everything down…seriously everything, even if it’s as obvious as brushing your teeth, write it down. The reason I do this is because there is no better feeling than being able to cross things off your to-do list. I highly recommend investing in a planner- preferably a large one. It’s just a good way to make sure you are on top of everything. I cannot tell you how many times I have forgotten to do things simply because I didn’t write it down. Do yourself a favor and go to your nearest office supply store ASAP and invest in a planner. Or if you are really against that, take advantage of the notes or reminders app on your smartphone! We are in the age of technology, utilize it!
2. Color Code: As silly as this seems, color coding your planner/calendar/to-do list will really help you stay organized. According to numerous studies, color is one of the most cognitively powerful visua cues. It helps focus, memory and is crucial when your calendar starts to feel a bit overwhelming.
For instance- if I see something highlighted in yellow I know I have a due date approaching, or if I see pink I know I have an exam that day (those are the worst days). It’s nice to be able to scan my planner and anticipate what I have coming.
3. Use the “SelfControl” app: While this app makes you feel like you’ve been grounded and lost your internet privileges, it is one of the single reasons I and so many other students have been able to be so successful at school. This app enables you to rid all of your distractions and procrastination tools. When you download the app you are in control of setting your “black list” sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram…) along with setting the amount of time you need to stay off the sites, and no matter what you do, even restarting it, your computer will forbid you to go onto the sites until all the time has passed. It’s for your own good, I promise!
4. Maintain a Clean Room: While I have been taught this my entire life (and mom, if you’re reading this, I know you’re rolling your eyes and holding back an “I told you so”), I never really saw the benefits until I started living on my own. I was always told “clean room, clear mind”, and boy is that true!! Not only does the old adage tell us it’s true, but scientists have found that physical clutter negatively effects your ability to focus and process information. Even the simplest things like making your bed each morning and putting your clothes away can honestly make the world of difference. I urge everyone to try that and I bet you’ll feel a lot less overwhelmed and distracted.
5. Take a Break: Regardless of how much you have to do, you have to be good to your body. It is absolutely imperative that you take breaks in between your crazy hectic schedule. According to a brand new study by the National Sleep Foundation, the amount of sleep we should actually get was just updated for 2015 – take a look here. People think that college students pull all-nighters every night, well I am here to tell you that almost every night I get 8 hours of sleep. You can’t function at a high level the next day if you are working on 3 hours of sleep.Things like sleep, rest and mental relaxation are key and at the end of the day, your sanity should come first and foremost. So, with that said, take a quick power nap, or take a nice long walk, or take a page from my book and watch a 25 minute show that makes you laugh and remember, no matter how daunting the task at hand may be- YOU WILL GET THROUGH IT!
6. Be Realistic: Something we are all guilty of is trying to accomplish way more than we can possibly handle. They say “don’t bite off more than you can chew”, but in the modern era of constant emails, always on social media platforms and the cellphone as our 5th limb, we have forgotten the importance of not spreading ourselves too thin. That, in turn, only leads to a job only semi well done, and more stress for you! So everyday make a REALISTIC to-do list, delegate and trust that others will get their portion done, and when you get it all done, feel free to shut your cell phone off for a bit.
Happy organizing! And remember work hard but be good to your body and brain. Don’t kill yourself every day, but also don’t procrastinate. Find that happy medium, and you will be well on your way to mastering organization so you can focus more on other goals – like eating all that kale…