Organisation Techniques: How Do We Manage?

One of the downsides of returning to the grind is that your horizon starts to fill up with assignments and deadlines that no number of motivational messages inked on novelty coffee mugs (or their caffeinated contents) can keep us from grumbling about. On top of that, a myriad of other responsibilities – societies, errands, Skype dates, house chores, coffee meetups, keeping yourself fed, that vague inkling of the need to go to the gym at some point – all need to be squeezed into the measly 24 hours you’re allotted, recurrently.

Not everyone is born a micromanaging guru á la Paris Geller, life coach included, but most of us inject at least minimal planning into our attempts to get by as uni students on a day-to-day basis.  We’ve been preached the virtues of effective time management (a still-elusive concept for some) for years – not to confine us, but to make our days less stressful, and eke out more free time to enjoy ourselves – and at this point in our lives it’s more relevant than ever.

A quick venture into the ‘organisation’ tag on blogging and social media platforms confirms that whether you’re a minimalist soul or worship at the altar of organized chaos, an advocate of Evernote, the old-fashioned Etsy-sticker-adorned planner, or are naturally gifted with enough focus to know what’s what and for when, probability law dictates that there’s an organisation system out there that will appeal to you. But is there an indisputable gold-medalist in the field of organisation methods?

Having sampled a bit of everything – the bullet journal trend, list-making, post-its, pinned scraps of paper linked by strings in a scene mimicking a crime show investigation, and numerous probes into the ever-expanding ocean of productivity apps on the market – under the guise of increasing efficiency, I’m going to raise the ‘nah, not really’ paddle. It goes without saying that what works for you is down almost entirely to personality; some people’s anxieties are eased by structural chefs-d’oeuvre of meticulousness and detail, others are fine with a nebulous idea of next seminar’s readings shoved in some corner of their brain. Realistically, most of us have neither the time nor patience for painstakingly laying out washi tape borders and developing a complex system of index symbols for our planners; at best, there’ll be a list of barely decipherable assignments penciled in whilst hauling off to your next hour (or freedom).  So you do you, whatever keeps you sane. If you’re an advanced player in the organisation dojo and show up armed with a bullet journal and vague mastery of the art of task prioritizing, you may even succeed in projecting the impression that you have it together.

[Natasha Baldassarre]

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