Get Organized - Northern Michigan University

Why Should I Stay Organized?
 Clutter and forgetfulness
increase stress and have
damaging effects on grades
 Students who are organized
exemplify a more professional
approach to their work and are
generally more productive and
efficient with their time
 Being organized is the first
step to a more enjoyable
college experience!
What Does it Mean to be Organized?
Prioritize tasks
Gain control of your day to
day activities
Meet deadlines
Get enough sleep
Follow through with
Avoid cramming
Easily locate necessary items
Know what’s coming next!
What steps can I take to become better organized?
Step 1: Assess
 Decide which areas your
organizational skills may be
Are you often late to class or
Do you have a hard time
keeping track of homework or
Do you feel overwhelmed with
projects and assignments?
Do you know where your
notebooks are?
Do you know where you are
supposed to be this afternoon?
Step 2: Separate Materials
and Reduce Clutter
Too much clutter can hinder productivity and efficiency
Separate education materials by subject
Use folders and notebooks
Designate one color folder/notebook for each class
Label each accordingly
Save and store graded papers and handouts for later retrieval
Discard any unnecessary materials
Keep a calendar, assignment book, or planner
Use a computerized scheduling tool
Designate certain spaces for certain things
Sticky Note
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Outlook?
Study spaces should be free from distraction and clutter
Organize documents on your computer: Keep everything in separate folders.
Step 3: Make a Schedule
 Make general categorizations of your
events and activities
Make a schedule of the things in your life that
will not change for an extended period of
For example: Distinguish between events that
are firm on your schedule, (class times,
meetings) and things that you can do at your
leisure (exercise, work on a project, etc.)
 Prioritize assignments and activities in
order of importance by developing to-do
 Plot these items on a schedule.
Try a daily schedule first, then move to weekly,
and so on
Step 4: Break Down Tasks
 Feeling overwhelmed? Breaking projects
down into smaller, more manageable pieces
makes them less daunting and easier to
Instead of reading four chapters in one day, how about reading
two per day for two days?
Instead of writing a whole essay in one afternoon, what about
writing the outline in one afternoon, and then writing one section
per day until complete?
This type of segmentation will take planning, and discipline to
stick to the plan!
 Don’t procrastinate
Make a plan and use time efficiently to complete those projects
For example: Need to have a book report completed in two weeks?
Designate 20-30 minutes each day to read the book. Once
completed, designate one day to write an outline for the paper, the
next to write the introduction, etc.
Start this process early enough so that you have adequate time to
complete scheduled tasks.
Step 5: Reward Yourself
Motivation is key to becoming organized
and reducing stress
Rewarding yourself after completing certain
levels of organization can prove very
Plan an enjoyable task for when the task is
Make a conscious effort to not only become
organized, but maintain an organized
Give it a try and see how your efficiency
This PowerPoint presentation is the property of
Northern Michigan University’s Academic and
Career Advisement Center. It may not be
reproduced without written consent.

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