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Top Five Tips to Help You Become an Organized GMU Grad

October 31, 2018

By Sophie Gorshenin

As graduate students we have a lot going on. The majority of graduate students work part or full time. On top of work we have families, social obligations, study groups, readings, papers, and exams. It is a lot to keep track of, and sometimes it just really feels like there is simply not enough time in the day to conquer it all.

It is incredibly important to learn how to organize all of your responsibilities in order to achieve a healthy work-life-grad school balance. One of the greatest things you can do for yourself is get organized! Here are our top five suggestions for organizational skills that will help you create and maintain that balance.

  1. Invest in a Planner and Use It!

Investing in a good planner changed my life. It has helped me keep track of all my meetings and assignments, and even kept me in check for making sure to go to my dentist appointments. Experiment with different types of planners and see what works for you! Some might find that using technology is their best bet, and others may decide that going old school with pen and paper is best for them. Remember to consider a planner that not only allows you to keep track of the date and all of your appointments, but also allows you to record your goals and daily tasks. By keeping your life organized in a planner you will gain time back to actually sit down and evaluate your priorities. Having a plan is a great motivator for getting things done!

  1. Organize Your Email!

Conquering your email may seem like a daunting activity. Don’t go through all the emails in your inbox and start deleting messages you’ve had since 2013. A change you can make to help you get organized is to create folders for your emails staring today. It is so worth it once your inbox is not being cluttered by notes from your study group members, work meeting reminders, and emails from your mom. Take some time to really organize your email and make sure to keep up with the task daily. Create folders in your account so that you can sort appointments and messages by categories such as work, school, and personal. This will allow you to keep track of and access all of your emails easily.

  1. Create a Schedule for Household Tasks!

Nothing takes up your studying time like procrastination. One of my favorite procrastination activities is cleaning. Can’t read your chapter before class because the sink is full of dirty dishes? Well you can’t use that excuse anymore because you can and should create a schedule for all of your household tasks. Dedicate Mondays to tackling the kitchen, Wednesdays for laundry, Thursdays to sweep the floors, etc. If you have roommates or kids don’t forget to ask for their help! You can even make the chore chart interactive so that your roomies get excited to clean! By organizing your household tasks you won’t be feeling overwhelmed with clutter once you actually sit down to study and to get your work done.

  1. Check out Mason’s Learning Services

Mason’s Learning Services offers workshops, coaching, as well as a number of online modules to help students with time management, procrastination, and more! Learning Services is located within the Counseling & Psychological Services office in Fairfax, on the 3rd floor of SUB I. All graduate students can access services virtually, and students on any campus can arrange individual appointments.

  1. Stay Motivated!

The hardest part about staying organized is sticking to it! Make sure to write your goals in that planner, don’t let that inbox get cluttered, and go to a Learning Services workshop! Accomplishing a work-life-graduate school balance is not easy, even for the most organized among us – hopefully these tips can help you achieve that balance to help you succeed!

Best,

Sophie


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