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Organizational Skills

Let's get organized

Start by uncluttering your work area.

Clear your work surface of files, books, and loose papers since they can distract you from what needs to be done. Staying tidy takes a fraction of the time you will waste if distracted.

Create and stick to a weekly schedule.

Use the printable weekly and semester calendars included on this webpage to help organize your time and ensure that you are able to keep important reminders in one place.

Utilize the online web calendar.

UMassD's email system, zimbra, offers a great resource for students who prefer online planning. Enter information on a weekly, monthly, or semester-long basis, then set reminders and adjust as needed.

Purchase a planner.

Again, writing down important dates and information will help keep you organized. Having more than one place to record this information will only increase your organizational skills.


Color code notes and assignment by class; if economics is coded blue, have a blue folder or binder just for economics. Get an expanding file or binder and label the tabs by color to keep handouts that may be needed later. Color code notes by topic with highlighters to help keep them organized.

Three Ring Binders.

Three ring binders keep important papers in one place. Use a different binder for each class each semester. Binders can be color coded or labeled by class. Divide the binder into different sections for notes, handouts and homework. Using pocket folders will also help keep the binders organized. Keep a hole punch handy so printed notes can be added with ease.

Stop collecting so much stuff.

The more you have, the more time you need to manage it. If it hasn't been used in a reasonable period of time, get rid of it.

Break large tasks into small steps.

Schedule each step into your planner. This strategy makes those difficult tasks less overwhelming.

Prioritize your tasks.

Rank tasks from "necessary to do" to "can wait for later."

Schedule in breaks.

You're more likely to burn out or work inefficiently without breaks, because you are too fatigued to do your best.

Get creative.

Use time between classes to study so your evenings will be free for fun.

And lastly...

Know your personal limits.

Say no when you need to and delegate tasks when possible. Attempting to do everything will only become overwhelming and decrease productivity.

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