I have written several articles on how to keep organized; this is because I had never found a method that worked for me long term. As the New Year is upon us I have taken some time to reflect on my current process and if this is going to work moving forward, because this year, I feel, is going to be a challenge.
I have been using the Bullet Journal method for a while now. It has worked well in that it allows me to make notes in “future months” of things I need to do, I have monthly goals, and then I break those into my weeks. My biggest issue before employing the Bullet Journal method was I would get way too far ahead of myself. I would plot out my days in a weekly planner—for months. Then one hiccup in the plan and it was all messed up; I fell behind, and I had no more room to write anything in the planner. It was a disaster.
Seeing that the Bullet Journal method has worked well for me I am going to keep using it, but with the MAIS program starting this month I need to have a few other organization tactics in place. The first one I am working on is planning the next two years (remember what I said about getting ahead of myself?) I want to have a visual plan for my program; nothing else will go on this planner. I drew up 2018 and 2019 and broke it into months, then I estimated how long each course will take, how many I think I can take at a time and in what order I need to do them. The last point is the most important as there are prerequisites and courses that are by “group study” method rather than “individualized.” The group study means a paced course and these I needed to plan strategically.
Once I got the courses plotted on the rough draft I left a few courses as “flexible.” This way, if I find that the courses take me longer than anticipated (or shorter), I have these ones that I can move around to fill in some time gaps or lessen the work-load.
I have also added one key space in my weekly planner and that is for “notes.” I was taking up both pages with the days and leaving nowhere to make notes about things I need to get done but don’t have a specific day set aside for yet, or for things that need to get done next week but haven’t been plotted out yet. This note feature has been great, I also use it to track the work I am doing for my literary internship, so I can be sure I am on track for the weekly goals here. As my “days” can get jumbled with notes, tick marks, x’s, and other things, it is a nice quick visual to see that “yes I have achieved these goals” or “better make this a priority for the remaining days”.
Finding an organization method is so important. I tend to go full tilt when I get an assignment and I want to finish it, now. But that “method” leads to other things being forgotten or pushed aside, and with both the internship and MAIS program taking dual priority I have had to find a way to keep the stress level down while making solid progress through both. This method of tracking my years for the course and weekly goals for both have been working well, so far, in keeping me on track and not feeling like I am flying in multiple directions while getting nothing significant accomplished.
So, while I am not one for New Year’s resolutions, my goal this year is to keep on top of my planning, stay organized, and keep the workload manageable.