Being organised is truly a skill. I say this because I used to be rubbish at it. Here’s the thing: when you’re a kid, you’ve got only a few things to do and contend with. The more you grow, the more stuff you have to do, but there’s always someone to nag you (a teacher, a parent, a relative). There comes a time when you launch off into the world on your own and all of a sudden, the amount of stuff you do and remember somehow hits extreme, unprecedented heights.
Organisation became crucial for me at university. If I happened to organise myself well, life was a bit of a walk in the park; on the occasions that I didn’t, I would miss a lot of deadlines, activities and everything would eventually fall onto itself. So, in the spirit of sharing, here are my top tips for being super organised:
- Planning is your friend, the more you love it, the more it loves you back. “But Alan, I’m bad at planning stuff,” well most of us probably are. Stop whinging and imagine it as fishing: concentrate on the fish (your activities) and not the rod (planning).
- It’s okay to miss/forget things. Hey, it happens. I’m afraid to say that there might be plenty more where that came from in your lifetime but it’s best to focus on achievements and when you do get it right.
- If it’s boring, do something else. Sometimes we have to attend rubbish events, lectures, or nights out, yet no one is forcing you to be there. If you’ve got better things to do, do them; get your priorities straight and focus on your top ten list. That said, with some things, it’s worth persevering through the boredom tunnel to get to the light on the other side.
- Keep a journal, calendar, budget, to do list, and goal chart. These things kept me sane, organised, financially stable, focused, and determined and I couldn’t live without either of them.
- Start small and let it grow on its own. I started planning my academic stuff first, then my job, my personal life and my own business. As time passes you’ll see the benefits and you’ll add new things into the mix on your own.
Written by Alan Ionita, a co-creator from the 2013–14 Star Track programme. Photograph courtesy of Yvonne Eijkenduijn.