6 Ways to Get Organized for the New Year

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I have tried so many of the organizers and productivity apps and techniques out there in an attempt to manage and maximize my time in school. Here are my favourites so you can get a head start on 2017:

Chrome Extensions

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StayFocusd

This free extension has done wonders for my lack of self control when it comes to BuzzFeed videos.

It allows for different options when it comes to blocking websites: you have a Blocked Sites list, which the app restricts, and you have an Allowed Sites list, which restricts all sites except ones you’ve specified (e.g. the UTM Library site). Then you choose how long it restricts access and when the blocking begins.

This has saved me hours of Facebook meme browsing, which I instead used to study for exams in December.

Great for: the easily distracted (me), optimizing time

Zotero

This useful extension and downloadable program allows you to ‘clip’ articles from the web onto your desktop app, extract metadeta, and produce a bibliography entry of any format.

This time-saving, hassle-free (once you get the hang of it) program is a gem my Global Justice prof pointed our class towards when writing our lit review. It even pairs up with your word processing program, so when you’re writing, all you have to do is go to the Zotero tab and add reference/footnote.

Great for: long, multi-source papers and lit reviews

Apps

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Wunderlist

Wunderlist is the best list app I’ve tried because of its simplicity.

Once downloaded, all you have to do is create a list and add your items. It produces a nifty checklist; and when you finally accomplish a task, you press the empty square and it makes the most satisfying Ding! The item then disappears from your list and goes to the Completed To-Dos archive at the very bottom.

I use Wunderlist to keep track of the shows, films, and books I want to consume and the ones I’ve already completed. It can also be used on multiple devices and syncs when online.

Great for: logging and tracking tasks, archiving things you want to check out later

Google Calendar 

Google Calendar works like most calendar apps, but what I love about this one is that it can take some of the events in your emails (including date and location) and format them into your calendar automatically once you allow access.

I’ve mainly used this for reminders, though, because I get emails in my inbox and receive alerts on my phone. This past term I had some weekly responses, so with the two-fold notification system, I never missed an assignment deadline.

Great for: the forgetful (me, yet again)

Analog!

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Bullet Journals

The bullet journal is simple in its essence. It’s like a to do list, but your bullets are symbols, adapting to the type of task on your list. There are tons of variations on this minimal organizing technique, making it easy to personalize.

I love browsing online and seeing the directions people go with their bullet journals. Some people get so creative and create elaborate works of art, with different colours and designs in the margins.

If you wanna try this type of organizer out, definitely check out this site to get started.

Great for: minimalists; artsy people

Good Ol’ Planner

I got my red 2017 planner from Muji (pictured above) in the beginning of December and they were already on sale!

This is my principal technique when it comes to organizing my tasks and time. The planner I prefer is the weekly one because I need to see each week laid out before me. I’ve tried doing this on several calendar apps (Apple, Google, etc), but it’s never quite as gratifying flipping back through the weeks to recall an assignment, or forward in time to plan efficiently.

My planner has the week laid out on the left page and has a grid-patterned page on the right for notes, which I have found is optimal for my erratic thoughts and haphazard notes.

Great for: everyone!!! [Before getting my current planner, I was using the UTMSU weekly planner, which worked great as well.]

How do you get organized? What works best for you?

 

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