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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Top 5 Organizational Tips for University

As someone who has been in higher education for the past 12 years on and off (yes, that means a BA, two MAs and a PhD in progress), people often ask me how I'm able to maintain my workload without going crazy. Because I also have lupus, this often throws a wrench into plans, so I've worked out a list of my top tips for surviving uni, an MA or even a PhD.

1) Plan Ahead
This is my serious top tip. I know a lot of people do things at the last minute, but that can come back and bite you in the ass. Having also been a teacher, there is nothing more frustrating for me when an assignment has been given out months in advance and students are unable to complete it due to a specific circumstance that occurred right before the deadline--which is what I mean by biting you in the ass. You can't help it if you wind up in the hospital or up all night with food poisoning, but if you plan ahead and get the assignment done at a reasonable pace, that kind of thing won't stop you from completing the assignment, only showing up at class.

2) Know Your Limits
This doesn't pertain to alcohol, though if you're starting your freshman/fresher year, that is useful! But it can be tempting to sign up to every club or event that seems interesting or go out with people every night. If you can realistically get your work done whilst doing all of this, then that is fantastic, but if you can't, make your work a priority. After all, you are paying all that money for a degree in the end! This doesn't mean you should shy away from fun activities, just don't overdo it to the point that it becomes your main focus.

3) Set Reasonable Goals 
This kind of goes with the plan ahead tip. Some people leave it until the last minute to write a 5,000 word essay. While I know some people can actually get out good quality work like that, you'll be less stressed and have a more cohesive essay if you set a goal for 500 words a day over 10 days or 1,000 a day over 5 days. This way, you can really check your work and make sure it is up to standard.

4) Reward System!
A reward system is a great way to ensure you get your work done. I like to do something like every 500 words I write on my thesis, I get to eat something special or watch an episode of TV. This doesn't mean that it has to be something big and expensive to reward yourself with, only something that can motivate you to keep going for those few extra minutes.

5) Keep a Planner/Diary 
Don't just rely on your phone for due dates, etc. Putting them both in your phone and a physical place will help you keep better track of things so you don't schedule incorrectly or lose things in the mix.

What are/were your top tips for organization?

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  1. Courtney@PancakesandSparklesSeptember 22, 2015 at 3:58 PM

    Thank you so much for writing this, I am starting university next week and I suffer with depression so I sometimes find it difficult to manage. This has helped me so much!

    1. So glad you found it useful! xx

  • Great tips! I've been struggling to find a good balance of studying and making sure I'm relaxing! It's definitely a struggle with a full-time job and grad school!

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