Keeping Your Life Together

Simple tips and tricks for staying organized.


Olivia Masterson

My day-to-day planner detailing my assignments for the week.

As an individual who has made it to my senior year while also being rather incapable of time management and a frequent victim of procrastination, I’ve collected a multitude of tricks to prevent myself from completely failing everything. Being rather scatterbrained with a habit of getting sidetracked and immediately forgetting what I was supposed to be doing has led to many a last-minute scramble to get things done, and I used to find myself desperately searching for something that would at least manage this problem, if not solve it completely.
Now that I’ve discovered the secrets to solving my memory problems, I’ve found that there’s less stress and more spare time when it comes to my day-to-day life. I have five tips for other individuals like myself which will hopefully help a few people to feel more confident in their ability to get things done.

Made with Canva

A Planner:
Now this one is definitely one that everyone’s heard of, or at least seen before. There are dozens of videos on Youtube of people setting up beautiful planners that are color-coded and hand-drawn to keep track of everything from water intake to sleep hours. Personally, those stress me out. It took me a while to get comfortable with the fact that a planner can be a mess of hastily scribbled objectives that you can check off as you complete them.
Mine is a mess. And it’s a little ugly because my handwriting is bad and I’d rather get the thought or assignment written down before I forget it instead of searching for the colored pen that’s meant for all homework assignments. I’ve found that a simple planner from Amazon works perfectly.

A Personal Assistant:
I don’t mean that you literally need to hire someone to keep track of things for you, but surely there’s someone in your life that isn’t nearly as forgetful as you are. For me, this person is my mother, but anyone from best friends to table partners will work as well.
Your personal assistant is mostly for the big things you don’t want to forget. Tests, project due dates, things you need to talk to a specific teacher about, an email you need to send about college applications. All you have to do is ask them to remind you and when the time is right, you’ll get a helpful little text or verbal reminder.

Condition Yourself:
It’s a little similar to brainwashing, but friendlier! Find a playlist to associate with studying, doing homework, chores, or anything else you need to remember to do, then only play that playlist when you’re doing those things. It helps jog your memory about things related to that playlist that need to get done, and it stops you from getting horribly sidetracked in the middle of said task. It doesn’t even have to be a playlist. You can condition yourself to associate certain locations with doing certain tasks or even exchange a playlist for a TV show that can be mindlessly played in the background.

Although this picture is on the floor, this is the usual state of my desk when I’m trying to get things done. (Olivia Masterson)

Do Things When You Remember Them:
One of the most foolproof ways to not forget to do things is to do them the moment you remember them. I have many moments when I’ve reminded myself about something, said I’d do it later, and then never did it even if it made it into my planner. For example, I took a trip to San Antonio recently. Needed my computer, told myself I would pack the charger later, and never packed my charger so I had to make it through the whole weekend on the battery life that I carefully rationed. Moral of the story: do things when you remember them.

Lists and Sticky Notes and Alarms, Oh my!
Put them in your phone, write them on your mirror, plaster them all over your bedroom, slip them in between the pages of the book you’re reading or tuck it into the back pocket of the jeans you’re wearing tomorrow. You’re likely to look in one of these places at some point, and when you do, a note or list will be there to remind you.
Setting alarms is efficient for both reminding yourself to do something as well as managing your time. You can make them a blaring alarm noise or the happy strumming of a guitar. Whatever will help remind you that that homework assignment is due tomorrow so you should really be working on it.