How I stay organised at university.


© Sophie Dishman.

Staying organised isn’t easy for some people. It isn’t easy all of the time for me either, but I like to say that I am organised in terms of my time management. I can manage my time pretty well and that’s what keeps me from getting stressed at university and in my professional life as a student journalist. As I’m going back to university tomorrow (eek!) for my final semester of my first year as a journalism student, I thought I’d share with you how I stay organised at university.

People ask me all the time how I can do everything I do. I sometimes tell them – “you tell me!” but in reality, it’s all about organisation.

Here’s how I stay organised in a few paragraphs:

  1. I write everything down in my diary that I need to do during the day. Writing things down is key. It prevents me from having to remember everything in my head. I check my diary in the morning to see what I need to do and add things during the day if I need to. 
  2. I use an academic diary that is split into single days and times. It helps that the diary I use is sectioned into single days and times. It means that if I have something to do at 10.30am, I can put it in that slot straight away. Having a diary like this means that I can clearly see what I’m doing and when. 
  3. I use labels – that can be moved. I got into the habit of using labels from September. I knew my course was going to be busy so I invested in some labels. The beauty of these labels is that they can be moved about easily. It means that if something more urgent comes up at university i.e. a meeting then I can easily move things. 

© Sophie Dishman.

4. I use colour coding. My labels are also colour coded. Blue means “contact”, purple means “remember” and green means “task.” All of the labels have a meaning so it makes my diary easier to read at a glance. It also helps me with the next part of my organisation.

5. I prioritise. Prioritising is something that I need to do in my course and in my future career as a journalist. The colour coding helps with this as I can clearly see what needs doing immediately, where the label is placed helps too. 

6. I use a wall planner. Apart from using a diary, I also use a wall planner at home. My wall planner isn’t very detailed as it just contains my university assignment deadlines and my exam dates. It’s always next to me in my office so when I get ready in the morning, I can see my deadlines clearly. It means I’m not surprised when I have a deadline (or a few) in one week. 


© Sophie Dishman.

7. I use Google calendar. Using the Google Calendar app and desktop version helps me to stay organised too, especially with extra-curricular stories that I’m writing. I can clearly see what’s coming up which helps me plan stories and I can also see what I’m working on currently. It helps me prioritise and keeps me level-headed.

8. I use a note-taking app. If something pops up, for example in a lecture, then I’ll quickly write the to-do on my phone on a note taking app such as Keep. There’s other apps such as Evernote and Color Note (which I also have) and it’s easily accessible. I can then transfer it to my diary when I can.

Sometimes I’ll use a smaller organiser, especially when I need to pack light.

Here’s my alternative organiser:

It’s a lot simpler than my other diary but it keeps me just as organised as I use it with more labels in the form of sticky notes this time – matching ones I may add!


© Sophie Dishman. 

I sometimes use highlighters on the notes or use additional sticky notes for this diary as I like to re-use it every term. It doesn’t have dates on it and really it’s a transitional diary. Things that go on here move over to my main diary on a daily basis.

And that’s how I stay organised at university.

How do you stay organised at university, college or school? Let me know in the comments section below or on my social media accounts.


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