7 Ways to Stay Organized in College And Boost Productivity

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Collage life can be a good synonym for the most hectic time of our lives. As we are constantly tossing our time around. We write assignments, we prepare for exams, we have to give time to our family and most important of all—a lot of parties!

So it’s not your fault that your dorm looks like a zoo—we all have been there. And for many students, this is not bad, they can still pull up decent grades in college while handling all the mess. But one thing is for sure—you might lose your sanity one day or another in the process.

And for the same reason: you’ve to achieve a lot but you haven’t got the time or organized environment to increase your productivity. Therefore, to keep up with everything that you want to arrive at, you need to be organized in college.

So be ready to take notes, because you’re going to learn something valuable—something which is going to affect your entire life.

P.S. This guide is going to address everything in detail with headings and subheadings, which can be lengthy. So we suggest you to check the index below—so that you can follow along.

Why Staying Organized in College is Crucial – It’s not just about grades!

“The only difference between a mob and a trained army is organization.” — Calvin Coolidge via LibQuotes

Many of our friends in college follow one same pattern: they barely sleep and are overdosed with caffeine to function. They survive in a form of low-key panic.

And it’s evident to think that they have a lot to cover. They have their semesters, their classes, and other things we mentioned above. While this is one good reason for the stress, but for the most part—it’s because they are never organized.

You might think that it affects the grades also—but that’s not always the case. They still manage to perform well because they are smart and they study. However, the average standard of living is always messed up—they feel anxious and overwhelmed all the time.

Being disorganized not only increases stress levels, but it can also make you overweight. So that’s one BIG REASON to get organized.

So think about it, if you are less stressed, you will feel better and will function better. You will get a lot of free time to spend on other activities also.

However, this will not automatically improve your percentile of course—but you will have a lot of time to study difficult topics. You’d just have a fresher approach towards everything.

Stay Organized in Collage – 7 Main Areas to Focus

Now that you’ve understood the importance of staying organized in college, let’s head over to different ways to stay organized. And If you can work out with these areas, then your semester will roll smoothly. 

1. Organize Your Notes

staying organized with note taking

Alright, taking good notes is one of the key elements that help you to get shiny grades, but that’s not enough.

Taking good notes and actually keeping them organized will offer you the most value. What some people do is they carry a different set of notebooks for different subjects or topics and that can also work.

But it’s not the most effective way, because let’s say you’ve to study for your semesters and now you have to fetch every single notebook, textbook, syllabus and other material on the same desk.

As a result, your desk gets all cluttered and it’s almost impossible to keep the track of the topic you’re studying. That is why keeping the digital form of your notes is the best way to stay organized.

To do so, you can use any note-taking software available like Evernote or Notion. The benefit is that you can create different Notebooks for each class or subject and start typing your notes into these programs.

Even if you prefer to take notes by pen on a physical notebook, you can do that also and update the notes in digital format afterward.

And now you don’t have to turn pages 100s of times when you’re studying. Rather you can easily navigate the digital format according to the notebooks you’ve created. You can even search for key terms and your note-taking apps will locate you in seconds.

2. Organize your Paper and Documents

Other than your notes, you are going to have some syllabus, handouts, assignments files, and presentations which can grow up to become a pile in itself. These can be valuable materials and more often than not, you are going to search for them while studying or making notes.

Therefore, it only makes sense to keep all these papers organized in one proper place. For that, there are two methods—the online method and the offline method.

Let’s talk about the offline method first. So to store your class materials, you can arrange them in a three-ring binder and store these binders in a file box.

For the online method, you can scan and keep all the papers in your note-taking apps. And save them in a separate notebook. You can also opt for cloud storage like Google Drive and keep them separately by making specific folders.

If you’re someone who faces a problem with the Internet or just wants to keep things simple. You can always go old-school and save your scanned papers on your computer’s hard drive.

3. Organize your Calendar

It’s unbelievable that so many people choose to ignore a simple productivity tool—a calendar. Although people are overwhelmed with all the tasks their mind is trying to remind them all the time.

Putting all these events and reminders on your calendar can instantly free up space in your brain. Now your brain can work on what it is supposed to be working—generating new ideas.

Anyway, use the calendar to store appointments, classes, notes, due dates, exam dates, birthdays of your friends, and so on. Most of the digital calendar apps will also remind you of the events you saved so that you never miss out.

Now that you have decided to throw everything inside your calendar, here are some more suggestions which you can include:

  • Your class timetable
  • Your work/freelancing time (if you do any)
  • Due dates like exams, assignment submission, etc.
  • Workout time (if you do any)
  • Payment due dates like rent, tuition fee, etc.
  • Extracurricular activities/ sports
  • Meeting with professors.
  • Parties & events.
  • And anything which you want to get reminded of.

4. Organize Your To-Do List/Task Manager

staying organized with to-do list and task manager

Here comes the master of productivity tracker—the do list. While setting your calendar is the least you can do. Having a to-do list really levels up your proficiency.

People who are new to the to-do list system might think that setting up the calendar is already enough. But that stirs up confusion, especially if you’ve many things to do in a single day.

Both calendar and to-do list serve specific functionality. To compare, your calendar is for tracking the events which happen at a particular time or date. These events mostly require you to be there physically.

Whereas, the to-do list is to track the tasks you have to complete. These tasks can be small or big and very specific. These tasks don’t require you to be there physically—generally speaking.

To make it more clear, here are some examples of both:

Events (calendar):

  • Your English class.
  • Your gym session.

Tasks (to-do list):

  • Converting notes from physical to digital form.
  • Washing your clothes.

Now that you understand the difference, you’d want to know how to set a to-do list. Once again you get the two options—online and offline.

For online, you can use many apps like Todoist, Wunderlist, Microsoft To-Do, and so on. Whereas you can use the bullet journal method for tracking your tasks physically.

The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter which system you use. What matters is staying organized in college. For most people, using a simple mobile app is the easiest. You can always dump everything or note the most mind-blowing idea.

5. Organize your Backpack

staying organized with backpack

What is one piece of accessory that a student carries every single day—it’s a backpack, right? Because there are some items which you need to bring every day. Like a laptop, notebooks, headphones, maybe a water bottle. 

Your backpack plays an essential role in carrying EDC (everyday carry). Therefore, it becomes very important to organize it.

The fun part is, it’s not that hard to keep it organized. Carry your EDC so that you don’t forget your books when you need them. Also, don’t overcrowd it with stuff you don’t need.

Since you don’t want to regret it afterward because you forgot your notebook. And now you can’t take any notes in your class. Missing study materials can hurt your overall productivity in college. It can also impact your semester performance.

So to make sure this doesn’t happen, you can always check your backpack the night before. This will eliminate any mistakes. You can also make a to-do list of the things you need to carry.

6. Organize your Night Routines

staying organized with night routines

For a college student, every day is different. And this affects the night also. Because as students, we have different things coming up every day which eventually leads to sleeping at different times.

But this messes us with our morning routines also. That is why setting a night routine will help you to stay organized in college. This one routine will help you support all the other habits and tasks you want to accomplish.

Night routine is personal to everybody, so design it according to your needs, but here are some suggestions that are a great way to start. From here, you can modify it according to your lifestyle.

Set an alarm – To start with, set an alarm for the morning. You can do it while you go to bed before sleeping. Setting an alarm makes sure that you don’t miss any exams or important classes.

Hygiene routine – Whether you’re a girl or a guy, everybody should take care of their body and skin. One can start with low-key activities. Wash your face, toothbrush, and maybe some moisturizer. Once you start doing just that, you will sleep like a baby and wake up feeling refreshed.

Lay out your clothes – Imagine you‘re getting late to college but you still wasted 15-20 minutes because you couldn’t find proper clothes to wear. So just pick out your clothes the night before to save some time.

Finish homework – Procrastinating over the homework and finishing it just ten minutes before submitting—it means you’re stressing your whole day just for that. So get your homework done before sleeping and you will have nothing to worry about.

7. Plan your Upcoming Week

staying organized with weekly plans

Now it’s time to take one step forward. It’s time to apply everything that you’ve learned so far—to organize your whole week.

To begin with, make a list of any activities you can think of in the future. We suggest you look at the syllabus for any of your courses, as well as any college website for any updates. Then, pass your activities to your to-do list

Next, take a peek at the schedule. See what activities are arriving for the week, and add something that isn’t on the schedule at the moment. Check your syllabus for imminent due dates, and your calendar accordingly

Lastly, take a look at your backpack. Make sure that it is organized for the day ahead. This little task will help you eliminate forgetting any books or notebooks.

This weekly summary and preparation process might seem time-taking when you go through it. But it should take no longer than 30-35 minutes.

Once you start practicing this weekly guide, you’ll realize that it takes less time every week. Because hopefully, you’ve become more organized!


Well, that was a meaty guide. But hey, now you know every single thing about staying organized in your college. But don’t let this guide get in your way.

If the guide doesn’t work for you, change it or adjust it according to your own college life and priorities. Because in the end, the only thing matters are accomplishing your life goals.

Remember, the best management structure is going to help you do the things you want without being too stressed out. Yet at the end of the day, you do have to sit down and figure out on your own.

Also read: Start a Lucrative Career in Data Science – Your Final Guide

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