This isn’t some cookie-cutter list made by your Year Advisor or Agnes the school librarian; this is from somebody who’s had to claw themselves out of a proverbial pigsty just to gain some semblance of success.
Just like you, I lose my shit when the most common advice to getting more organised is ‘don’t be disorganised’. I know what it feels to laugh/cry at the suggestion of using rainbow dividers, as if multi-coloured pieces of cardboard are enough to overcome our devastating urge to be a grot.
I’m going to be your friend, your comrade, your drill sergeant–you’re going to learn how to organise, even just a little bit, and you’re going to fucking enjoy it.
1. Clean your space
You are a product of your environment, and if your environment is a bloody mess then so are you. Put on some sweet jams and dig out some Chux wipes, cause you’re going to have to dedicate a good chunk of your day resetting your room to an acceptable level. I’m not going to pretend that this will be your new baseline for cleanliness, and neither should you, but please try to keep it close.
2. Give everything a home
Some people get a little anxious when they see my room, but to me, that clutter ain’t clutter. Everything has a place, and it goes back there every single time I take it out. This means I always know to go to my desk drawer for highlighters, the bottom of my bookshelf for textbooks, and under my bed for detention slips. Do this and you’ll never lose anything again, and you’ll even have some structure and predictability in your life for once.
3. Throw your shit out
You don’t need your Year 8 poster assignment on Ancient Egypt, nor will you actually finish that worksheet given to you by that Maths sub last week. Streamline your paper trail by throwing out, or even scanning documents as soon as you don’t need them, and you’ll find yourself less overwhelmed by it all.
4. Use a diary planner
Okay, your teachers were right about this one. Having your deadlines written on paper is a damn easy way of prioritising your tasks for the day, and it’s like crack when you start crossing that shit off. Make a habit out of it and you’ll even gain that elusive skill of planning ahead.
5. Your phone has a calendar, use it
If you’re finding the whole paper thing to be frivolous, use your phone, cause we all know you look at that thing all fucking day. Even the inbuilt calendar will send you push notifications to remind you how useless you are for not finishing that essay from two weeks ago.
6. Trick your brain into liking being organised
Be like Pavlov’s dog and give yourself a treat every time you do something an organised person would do–choccies when you clean your room, a nap when you use your planner, a Netflix binge when you finish an assignment early. One day you’ll be doing the task without the reward.
7. Take effective notes
All the study in the world doesn’t mean shit if you’re not writing notes in a way that your brain can understand, or if you’re constantly losing information in a mess of words. Consider using different note-taking methods to work smarter, not harder.
8. Make your bed in the morning
There’s some psychology here where if you start the morning with a small, achievable, yet useful task, you’ll prime yourself for continued productivity for the rest of the day. Also related is the One Minute Rule, which states that if a task takes less than a minute, do it immediately. This goes for things like putting away study notes and cleaning dishes, since the satisfaction from completing said task will give you momentum to complete bigger tasks on your to-do list.
9. Date someone who can organise
If all else fails, date a person who knows how to organise their life and they’ll whip you into shape in no time. Or, at the very least, surround yourself with productive people and hope their habits rub off on you/they’ll organise y]our life for you.