When you’re studying at university it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your increased autonomy equals freedom from obligation.
Perhaps you underestimated just how much organisation and work goes into days and weeks that have little contact time in terms of classes and lectures. Or maybe your social life has taken over and you’ve lost hold of the work-life balance.
If that sounds like you or someone you know, keep reading to discover some useful tips for staying organised as a student…
Develop a routine
If you find it hard to stay motivated, a good trick is to call on a uni friend to work with as your study buddy. That way you can make studying more fun, and hold each other accountable if the other is slacking.
Write everything down
Create your own pre-deadline deadline
This might sound like you’re rushing yourself, but it’s really to the contrary!
If you set a deadline in advance of the real deadline, then you’ll never run the risk of missing the big date. You’ll work at a better pace, and probably produce higher quality work as you won’t be stressed out, and will be able to resolve unexpected issues in a timely manner.
Break it down
To be really effective in your work, it’s better to block off chunks of time to dedicate it to one project rather than juggling several at once.
Break each task down into manageable, smaller, activities.
Another super useful trick is to follow the ‘two minute rule’. If a task takes two minutes or less to do, do it immediately, to prevent them building up. The instant gratification you get from completing the task is so satisfying too!
Keep your study space clean and tidy
One simple but effective psychological trick that will help you to stay organised as a student is to keep your personal space clutter free.
Keeping a tidy study space means you’ll be better focused and motivated to work.
It’s also recommended to try and separate your study space from your sleeping area as much as possible, so that you can disconnect and sleep better.
Try to find out if your student accommodation provides study spaces? Let’s say you’re looking for student accommodation in Edinburgh for the next semester - check in advance to see what facilities are available, so that on rainy days you don’t have to venture out to the library!
Speaking of clutter, there is such a thing as mental clutter.
With so many apps and distractions these days, it’s easier than ever to get distracted while you’re studying. It takes willpower, but make a concerted effort to disconnect from these distractions and you’ll see results quickly.
Learn to say no
Having an active social life is really important for your happiness and wellbeing, but there should always be a healthy balance.
You can’t say and shouldn't say yes to every event and night out, as you will ultimately face burnout as a consequence.
Learning your limits and how to say no is a healthy part of responsible, adult life, so don’t feel guilty about it. It’s a skill you’ll need to use in your working life too.
Prepare meals in advance
Preparing meals ahead of time will save you so much time in the long run, and stop you from gorging on unhealthy snack foods.
There are loads of easy recipes on the Internet, and the healthier, the better. A healthy diet with lots of fruit, veg and water leads to a hydrated, focused brain!
It might not be the first thing that occurs to you when you think of how to stay organised as a student, but it’s worth thinking about.
Having a steady routine of good quality sleep is one of the most effective ways to ensure that your brain is working in optimal conditions. Fatigue causes memory loss and affects mood. So if you want to be able to stay on top of all your tasks and enjoy your student life to the full- get some sleep.
Work some rest periods into your daily routine as well. Just 20 minutes every hour can make a world of difference to your levels of production and overall well being.
So there you have some of our best tips to help you to stay organised as a student. By following just a few of them, you’ll start to notice the difference and go from strength to strength in your university life!