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Sky Alton

The Art of Organisation (or Disorganisation)

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“Once you’ve dotted the Is and crossed the Ts, then you may do whatever you please”


  Now it’s true that HOLers don’t have the … ehem … benefit of Hermione’s all-singing, all-dancing, all nagging talking homework diaries. However, many of the ones I chat to have worked out their own system for keeping track of the homework they need to do (and sometimes even their extracurricular activities as well). With a new term starting, this seems an excellent time to think about it.


  I know of people who have Hermione-like colour coded spreadsheets and some who even use their bullet journals to keep track. Some others just favour a simple list of priorities and deadlines. Making something like this isn't just useful to refer back to but can also help you put things into perspective and aid you in forming an action plan that might help you feel more relaxed.


  However,  for some people, this can just be daunting. Writing down everything they need to do can exacerbate their panic and be counterproductive. Some people even forget to check their lists once they’ve made them (I’ve never done that of course… *whistles*). And that's absolutely fine: it doesn't make you a bad student or professor.  For some people, they get on just fine without 'a system'. For  others, maybe it’s about finding a happy balance and a method that works.


  So, this is a very long winded way of asking you if you’re an organiser. If you are, how do you do it? Do you have any words of wisdom? If you’re more of a free spirit, are there any less regimented ways you use to help you get it all done?

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  I don't usually make lists, however, I will on occasion especially when I'm stressed about something. Sometimes, lists are just really helpful because it maps out what it is you need to do. (I find a lot of satisfaction in scribbling something out rather ferociously when I've completed whatever task I had written :P ) My biggest problem is when I remember something right before I go to bed. #minipanickattack


  When that happens, I find the notes tool on my computer to be very helpful. Actually, right now, if I clicked on my notes tab, I would have little orange squares covering my entire screen XD For me though, writing a note out usually doesn't work cause... somebody takes them and places them where they can't be find *coughs and whispers* I lose them. If I'm going to write something down that I need to remember, it's almost always going to be on the computer because it's the first place I check for anything :P


  Another thing I find with writing an actual note out, besides them going missing, is that I find it seriously annoying when I can't possibly complete every daily goal I've set for myself (1. Finish your homework for the entire year 2. Organize your entire room right down to each scrap of paper 3. Find a new lock and home screen for each of your devices - this takes forever believe it or not LOL 4.... well, you get it XD ) and thus see an uncompleted list hanging around.


  Usually though, I'm not a very organized person and my computer notes will consist of words that don't really connect to make an understandable sentence. Surprisingly, I still, somehow, manage to complete the most important things in an orderly fashion. So, I wouldn't say that writing notes detailing the day's plan is very helpful to me.


  However, my sister finds it very helpful to map out not just a day's activities, but an entire semester's worth. She has these printed-out calendars that she writes down literally every school activity on. She also has a clipboard that has become a permanent resident of her dresser that she writes everything she wishes to accomplish in a day, week, month. So, ya, while notes aren't always the most helpful thing to me, I KNOW that for some people, it's what keeps them motivated. 

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I'm naturally a very disorganised person, so to avoid chaos in my life, I've developed a somewhat OCD when it comes to organising.


I like lists, and looove making spreadsheets.


My life simply doesn't work without them. Unless I write things down, I won't remember it. 

Also I like seeing the progress made when things get done.


I don't need it as much now that I'm done studying, but I HAD to have three calendars when I was a student. One yearly, one monthly and one weekly calendar. I found that if I only had a weekly one, I missed the bigger picture of what was happening the next weeks, and with the monthly I missed the even larger picture of which periods I would have a lot of stuff to do and deadlines for papers and such. And of course I needed to weekly one to keep track of all the daily tasks and meetings and study sessions.


Needless to say I spent more time organising my notes than actually study them, but I think it helped me get motivated, feeling that I had somewhat control.


I can show the simple spreadsheet I've made for my classes.

I filled inn some point (that I'm eventually gonna get! :P) so show how it works



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I used never to bother with lists because A. they stressed me out andB. I never checked them. I made it through school and then two degrees without using anything to help me remember. I did forget a few homeworks back in my school days but it was never a huge problem. My brain just retains things and doesn't let me forget anything that's left undone: unfinished tasks are like itches I won't fully scratch until they're off my desk. Unless it's answering RL emails... I'm allergic to RL emails.


  This is why I need lists! Because if I have lists, then I have an order to do things in and if I have a plan, my brain is a little less like a hungry hippogriff on the rampage. I realised this some time last year when I had about 10 things to do for HOL which kept popping up to remind me they were their at very random moments. I think people on IRC probably got used to me screeching 'aaaaaaaah, not another thing'. So, I finally caved and made an ordered list so that I  could rein in the chaos. It's something I've tried to keep up, though I am still very bad at checking it. If nothing else though, it gives me the infinite satisfaction of scrubbing things out (or deleting them as its on the computer) that Ivey mentioned above. So, even if you're anti-list, I can sort of recommend them if only for that fist pump moment right at the end.


I also have that problem of thinking of stuff just before I sleep. The note section on my phone is full of plot points for my novels that I'm scared I'll forget about if I sleep on it. Dictation is really useful for me there because I don't have to wake myself up thoroughly enough to type.

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I have one journal that I go through about every 3-4 months. In it I put EVERYTHING. Ideas, song lyrics I made up, poetry, drawing, etc. are all in my bullet journal. The most important thing, of course, is the "weekly spread" where I plan out my week. I love planning, and though I go through ups and downs with how much I love my journal at a particular moment, the work I put in to maintain some sort of organization really helps. I would definitely recommend a bullet journal to people, but they way you use it really depends on your style.


Even though it is the messiest thing ever, with any ideas in it, for some reason my brain remembers pages very well (very useful when reading books) and I never worry about what was on what page.

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