Quizzes, Discussions, Responses, Tests, Reading… oh, and a clean house and somewhat relevant social life? That takes some planning. Throw in a full-time job and a house that’s for sale and that takes a LOT of planning.
I don’t really have a whole lot of time to spend on schoolwork. So I want to make the absolute most of what little time I do have. When I sit down to work on schoolwork, I need to know right away what due dates are coming up, what still needs to be done, where all my junk is, and where to get started.
Here is how I keep myself on track:
Make a Plan.
The very first thing that I do when I get my syllabi for all of my classes is to examine my schedules. I put EVERYTHING in my planner. Seeing it all spaced out alongside the other events in my life (like weddings and trips) really gives me a sense of how my semester will look. If I notice that a lot of things are due the same week (like before fall and Christmas breaks), then I know I’ll need to start on those assignments earlier.
Keep Track of it All.
This is a potentially obsessive thing that I do: once I get all of my assignment dates put into my planner, I create a semester assignment spreadsheet in Excel. This is different from what is on the syllabus because I am combining all of the graded assignments from all of my classes into one consolidated list. I include the due date, name of assignment, and how many points it is worth. They are listed in the order that they are due… it also allows me to keep track of my grades and eliminates panic attacks.
Write a Study Breakdown.
Okay, this really is the most obsessive thing that I do, but I don’t care. After I create my semester assignment spreadsheet, I go to the daily view in my planner and write down what I need to work on for each day. I’m not going to lie, this takes a lot of time, BUT it is worth it once I get into the middle of the semester and barely have time to wash my hair. Having a pre-planned study checklist keeps me on track and helps me start early on big projects. It also helps me see whether I am ahead of or behind schedule. It is just so much easier to know what I need to do right when I sit down and just start on it.
Mark the Progress.
My system for this is so easy. On all three of the above lists, I highlight the items that are currently in progress in yellow and I highlight them in pink when they are complete. It is so motivational for me to see what I’ve gotten done and how much further I have to go. I even use these on my to-do lists. No matter how small the task, marking things off of a to-do list is an awesome feeling!
Keep it All Together.
I keep all of my textbooks, notebooks, folders, planner, etc. together. The three bins at the bottom of my office bookshelves are dedicated to my classes. This makes it quick and easy for me to grab my school stuff to work on or throw in a bag on my way to class. No searching for lost items. This makes it so much easier for me to put things away too. And clean surfaces just make me feel so happy! Yay!
These are the best things I’ve found for keeping my study time organized and relatively productive :)
What strategies do you use to keep up with your assignments?!