Helpful Tips: Time Management and Organization

Helpful Tips: Time Management and Organization

I’ve found that in graduate school, time management and organization is everything. Back-to-back interviews, professor’s office hours, class, assignments, guest speakers. The list goes on and seems to never end.

Normally, I’m great with time management and organization, but this fall, I’ve been completely out of whack. Maybe it’s been the poor weather, lack of sunlight, or my mind dreaming of summer days that are long gone, but regardless, I need to get my act together.

Luckily, there are some things to do to keep not only my mind in check, but also my timeliness and organization.

  1. Google Calendar

I recently started using Google Calendar a few months ago and fell in love. This app is easy to use and can be used on your smartphone and computer. But to be honest, I have not used it as much as I should lately.

I use this app more so if I have an appointment, meeting with a professor, interview or class–as those things can often be timed out or estimated time. I like being able to put down an event or goal and setting a time limit. It’s nice being able to see how much time I spend each day in class or doing interviews. With assignments, you never know how long you’ll spend on them. Especially if you take Magazine Editing…

Another great part of this app is the fact that it can send you reminders about events or goals that you have coming up or want to achieve. The app can remind you 10 minutes before and up to one week before. Users also have the choice of using a custom time setting for notifications.

Overview of Google Calendar
Google Calendar not only lets you lay out your day-to-day schedule, but also   lets you color code each task.
  1. Daily Planner

I have been a fan of using daily planners since middle school. They are another great way to lay out assignments, meetings, appointments and birthdays–all very important! The daily planner I use has a monthly and weekly overview. In the monthly overview, I will put in birthdays and appointments. In the weekly overview I will put assignments, meetings and goals that I need to get done that week.

I like to look at my planner every morning and write down my priorities for the day with a black pen. I normally do not put them in any order, but when I complete a task, I cross it out with gold pen. The gold pen honestly just looks nicer and catches my eye when I’m feeling stressed out. It reminds me of everything I have completed.

Looking at everything written down also puts things into perspective of thinking how long tasks may take.

Picture of daily planner and macbook laptop.
Daily planners may add another thing to your bag, but they are necessity for staying organized.
  1. Individual Study Rooms

Even though Newhouse is great, the lack of quiet rooms is a setback. When I’m doing homework, I like to be alone and listening to music or in silence. You can’t really do that around Newhouse, but you can in Bird Library. I recently came across the individual study rooms in Bird that have a three-hour time limit.

Here, you get to loan a key to a private room where no one bothers you. Not only does this get me out of my apartment or Newhouse, but it motivates me to get work done. With the time limit, I set goals for myself. So when I walk out, I have a certain amount of assignments or things complete.

I feel odd if I’m sitting in one of the rooms checking out Facebook or Instagram. It makes me realize the time I’m using. This is a great feeling and a simple thing to do. All you have to do is go up to the check-out desk at the library, ask for an individual study room, scan your ID and you’re good to go. Just make sure you aren’t late returning your key because there is a 15-cent charge per minute you are late.

Everyone has their own way of staying organized and dealing with time management. These are just some helpful tips that I find useful and a great way to keep me organized and on track. There are endless apps for your phones and computers that can be used too. Don’t be afraid to check out something new!

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Colton Madore
Colton Madore is a graduate student at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and studying Magazine, Newspaper and Online Journalism. When he is done at Syracuse University, he hopes he will be a creative director or social media director for a magazine. Follow him on Twitter to get updates on his journey through graduate school! @colton_madore

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