How to Organize Your Life in College

“We continue the way we start.” -Gretchen Rubin

Let’s create a time map for your first semester of college!

If you’re starting college next semester, chances are you are feeling INCREDIBLY nervous about this time.

Partly a good, I’m-so-excited, everything-is-going-to-be-so-much-fun, kind of nervous.

And partly an, oh-my-gosh-I-am-going-to-be-Responsible-for-feeding-myself-and-keeping-my-living-space-clean-and- waking-up-on-time-and-getting-things- done-all-by-myself kind of nervous.

Both are normal.

Both are fine.

You SHOULD be feeling this way!

But how DO you make sure that you get up on time every day, have reasonably healthy meals, get all of your work done, do your laundry, and everything else that comes along with being independent and on your own?

Two things: Time management and habits.

Those two concepts are basically married. You can’t have good time management without good habits, and you can’t form good habits without good time management.

So, where do you start? This is kind of a chicken and egg debate, but personally, I would start with the time management.

STEP 1: SCHEDULED TIME COMMITMENTS

Create a Time Map

Start by creating a weekly “time map.” Open Word or Excel and create a table or spreadsheet. If you’re creating a table, you’ll want it to be 8 columns x 33 rows for 30-minute increments or (if you’re a SUPER detailed person like *ahem* me) 8 columns by 65 rows for 15-minute increments. SIDE NOTE: Please check the math on that 🙂 You are just creating 2-4 rows per hour.

Limit Your Active Hours

However, you are purposefully going to leave eight hours out of your day. Try NOT to schedule anything outside of those rows. Of course, there will be events here and there that you don’t want to miss… that’s not what I’m talking about. Don’t schedule SCHOOLWORK for yourself outside of those hours. College is an easy time to work past midnight, but there is a time management rule that “work will expand to fit the amount of time.”

Tell your brain those sleeping hours are not even an option! If it thinks they are, you will get distracted more easily and procrastinate more. I PROMISE this is true. If you need to get it done, you can do it in the 16 hours of your waking day. I’ll show you how!

Add in Your Class Schedule

If you already have your class schedule, or if you have a job and you already know the hours you will need to work, or if you cheer or play softball or are on the golf team, and you know you will practice at a consistent time every day/week, go ahead and add in those times.

Add in Travel Time

Go ahead and block out some time for getting ready and travel time to get to your location. One of my biggest mistakes during my early years of college was scheduling my activities where they bumped right up against each other. Add in time to change clothes, find a parking space, will hit a bunch of red lights on your way there, be REALISTIC about the time it takes to get to each place!

Read: Tips for Balancing Grad School and Real Life

STEP 2: HEALTH TIME

Ok, so now that you have your commitments + get ready/travel time scheduled in, let’s look at what you truly need to live a healthy life. Physical needs come first. It’s hard to train your brain to think this way because there is little accountability for physical needs. No one else really knows if you ate Oreos for dinner, didn’t drink enough water, or only slept four hours last night.

YOU are usually the only one who knows and, a lot of times, the only one who cares. You have GOT to take care of your body. Buy your groceries intentionally. Find a few things that are the perfect balance of cost-effective and healthy, and stick to buying those items consistently.

Eating consistently in college was a HUGE challenge for me and, as a result, I fainted in not one, but two public places. YOU DO NOT WANT TO FAINT IN PUBLIC. I once fainted at the airport from not eating, but before I actually passed out, I was literally crawling on the floor because my body was too weak to do anything else. Talk about embarrassing.

Don’t put your body last. Take the time to eat and drink consistently. Take the time to get outside and walk/run every day, even if it’s just across campus. The more you take care of your body, the more focused your brain will be and the better your grades will be 🙂

Related: What to Carry in Your Backpack for College

STEP 3: “ADULTING” TIME

First of all, let me say that I kind of hate the term “adulting.” BUT I can’t find a better way to describe this stuff, so… “adulting” it is! OK, on your time map, you should now have times blocked out for your concretely-scheduled commitments and anything pertaining to your health. Next up, think about what you need to do to keep your home and life running. These are all the things that fall under the term “adulting.”

For example, paying your electricity bill, vacuuming your carpet, scheduling doctor appointments, taking out the trash, putting gasoline in your car, etc. Schedule these things in so that you can keep your life up and running. They are usually things that don’t take long but are kind of boring tasks.

I love the idea that Gretchen Rubin presents in Better Than Before of having a “Power Hour” once a week. On your least busy day of the week, schedule in one hour to power through your to-do list. This hour should NOT include studying, working, or exercise. It is 100% dedicated to errands, to-dos, tasks, phone calls, and other things that you tend to procrastinate.

Make a list to power through and set a timer for one hour. When the timer goes off, stop and resume with your normal life. During next week’s Power Hour, pick up where you left off 🙂

Read: Best College Habits

STEP 4: SOCIAL TIME

Your time map should have your scheduled commitments, health, and adult life things all scheduled in. Next up, make sure that you have about three social activities scheduled in. You are your own judge of this. If you are someone who tends to blow off studying to hang out with friends, then limit your social engagements so you have more time for studying.

If you are someone who naturally tends to spend more time alone, try to schedule at least three social times for the week, even if it’s just grabbing a cup of coffee and chatting for a few minutes with a classmate after class. It’s obviously not going to happen at the same time each week, but try to make sure you get out with friends 3 times each week!

Social relationships are SO important and you need them in college! Use your own judgment for this because everyone is different, but ensure that you have enough time to study, too! You need to balance both.

Related: How to Stay Organized in Online Classes (Tips from an Expert)

STEP 5: STUDY TIME

Get a “Study Planner”

I bought a cheap planner from Target so that I could completely designate it to study time. I called it my “study planner.” In that planner, I wrote all of my due dates for assignments. This way, you can scribble in all of your reading assignments without feeling like it’s too cluttered!

Plan Backward

Then, I planned backward… two days before an assignment was due, I would write something like “reread and final edit of ___ paper.” Three days before that, I would write “add citations to ___ paper.” I would keep planning backward and adding small, bite-sized tasks for big projects. About two weeks ahead, I would just write something (very low priority) like, “think about a topic for ___ paper” or “jot down ideas for ___ paper.”

By planning backward, I was able to think of the steps that I would need to complete for this assignment and then give myself a deadline to have each individual step complete. This kept me from just writing something broad like, “Write ___ paper” and procrastinating until the night before it was due. This also gave me control over the amount of time I needed to not feel rushed or stressed about assignments.

Plus, this allows you to just open your study planner and see a color-coded prioritized study list in front of you; no thinking about where to start. Set a timer and power through it! Schedule “study time” on your time map, then work from your prioritized list.

Read: How to Get Better Grades in College

STEP 6: HOBBY TIME

Now that you have your health, adulting, school/work, and social things in place, you can include fun on your time map 🙂 This includes any hobbies/interests that you have. Keep in mind that this will probably receive the smallest amount of scheduled time, and will most likely be the first thing that you cut out on busy weeks… but THAT IS OKAY. This is your lowest priority for now.

Include downtime things like reading for fun, painting, social media, volunteering, etc. In my life right now, this would include Junior League, this blog, or Instagram. Those are things that I love, but they’re also just for fun. They aren’t paying my bills, helping my health, or the health of my family.

When there is time to do these things, that’s great… but I’m also not going to freak out if I have to go a week without social media or if I have to pass on a couple of Junior League events. When my life calms back down, I’ll get back to those things. You can’t treat everything like a top priority. Decide now what can be the first to go and follow through on that decision when your time gets limited (which it will)!

Related: How to Prepare for a New Semester

STEP 7: ASSESS & ADJUST

Now that you’ve got everything in place, go back to your time map and look at how much blank space you’ve got in your week! Fill in the white boxes accordingly. I will really, REALLY encourage you to block out boxes for “social media” under “hobby time.”

Did you know the average American spends over 2 hours a day on social media?! That’s a full block of study time! Of course, you can learn so much from Instagram and YouTube… it’s not all mindless scrolling. But try to set boundaries so you don’t feel stressed later!

Read: How to Set and Follow Study Goals

I would love to see your time map once you’ve got it completed! You can share it on Instagram with the hashtag #organizedcharm, or describe it below! 🙂

What time management strategies do you use? What are your priorities 1-5?

Tips for Balancing Grad School and Real Life

“I’m Managing a full-time job, full-time grad school, and a social life…help!”

Sound familiar? 
Grad school is a pretty tough time in life because you typically have more responsibility than you did in undergrad. 
Maybe you’re paying your own tuition for the first time. Or your own rent. Or you now have a mortgage (or a marriage) or a baby. 
Maybe all of the above! And don’t forget about that full-time job you worked so hard to get straight out of college.
 
Going back to school with the responsibility of adult life can be super challenging! Whatever the reason, the blend of college life and adult life can be a struggle for all of us.

Here are some ways that I learned to deal with it:

Manage your time:

First of all, you are the manager of your time. Your boss probably won’t care about you being behind in schoolwork, and your professor probably won’t care that you’re overloaded at work. It’s up to you to find the balance of your responsibilities. Set limits and stick to them!
 

Read: 5 Time Management Tips for College

Start by prioritizing your time between the two… Yes, they may both be important, but which one is more important to your long term plan? Most likely, you’re in grad school to help further your career. If that’s the case, school is your top priority. 
Don’t be afraid to let your employer know which days you need to leave early for class. But also, don’t try to do schoolwork during work hours! Have the mindset that work time is for work and school time is for school. Don’t forget to leave time for working out and socializing! 
A good planner can really help in this area! Here are a few of my favorites!

Use effective studying skills:

Since you have a limited amount of time to study, you want to make sure your studying techniques are as effective as they can possibly be! Write down what you will work on ahead of time. This way, when you sit down to work, you can start working right away!
The Study Tips page of this website is full of my favorite study techniques I’ve collected over the years! Here is my overall study routine: Have a prioritized and detailed list before you ever sit down. 
-Set a timer for a certain amount of time. 
-Say NO to any and every distraction that comes your way during that time. 
-When your timer goes off, write down a detailed list of the next steps you need to take on this assignment. 
-That will be your prioritized and detailed list for the beginning of your next study session! 
Continue this cycle religiously, even using the same time and location! Consistency is key to creating new routines!

Find a great home organization system:

The final piece to balancing full-time work/school and normal life is to find a quick and efficient home organization system. I like FlyLady’s system because she just says to do a little bit every day. 
She has a free app that works as a recurring checklist you can use on your phone! Plus, you can edit it to fit whatever daily chores/routines you need in your own life (“feed the dog”, “file papers”, etc.). 
 
Also, this simple technique is my Holy Grail of home (and life) organization!
The key to balancing several different areas of life is to make sure you’re maximizing your productivity and not procrastinating
 

Read 8 Anti-Procrastination Strategies

By having these three things consistently in place, you’ll have more time to spend with friends and family (or secretly binging your favorite series on Netflix)! 🙂 

What tips do you have for balancing full-time work and school? Share them below! 

Follow Organized Charm on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for more productivity tips!

High School Study Tips

I spend a lot of time focusing on college study tips, and that is really important that we take the time to remember our OC babies! 

Homework, study hall, drivers ed, curfews, and the potential to get grounded. 

That’s right, this post is all about studying in high school!


Plan Ahead.
First and foremost, I’ll start this post like I start every post: Have a planner and use it religiously! (I just happen to know of a great one). But for me, high school was always a little harder to plan for because there was no full course syllabus at the beginning of the year. 
Dates for quizzes, tests, assignments, homework, (and substitute teachers) can sneak up on you… especially with 6+ classes a day! Don’t forget all the extracurricular stuff, plus bringing money for fundraisers, field trips, etc. So keep your planner with you at all times and write down EVERYTHING as soon as you hear about it!
Use a mechanical pencil just in case things change (which they will). Also, use a highlighter system to keep you on track:
Yellow = In Progress
Pink = Complete


Set a Timer.

When you get home from school every day, set a timer and work high priority to low priority! So…either start with the thing that’s due the soonest or the thing that’s worth the most points.
I played competitive sports in high school, so sometimes I didn’t even get home until 10:00. There was no way I was getting ALL the homework done EVERY night, so I just went with the top priority items.
So, if I didn’t make it to that 5 point worksheet by the next day, it wasn’t really that big of a deal.
(I also knew which teachers would give me extra credit for bringing in extra boxes of tissues. God bless you, Ms. Parker)
Perfect Your Time Management.

Manage your time as wisely as possible. High school is full of important schoolwork and every day feels like it’s the most stressful one ever (or at least, that was my experience). At the end of the day, make sure that you’ve also allowed yourself the balance to actually enjoy your friends, football games, dances, etc.
Work for 30 minutes at a time then give yourself a 5 minute break. Also, work smarter, not harder. A lot of teachers assign similar assignments, so don’t be afraid to “piggyback” off of your prior projects and just make it a little better each time!



Even though it’s been (ahem) a while since I’ve been in high school, I definitely remember it was a high stress time… Having 3 lockers (one in each building), literally running to class carrying 30 books to make it before my teacher locked the door, and (most importantly), trying to catch up on the details of every little daily drama between classes.
If it feels a little overwhelming right now, just remind yourself that college will be here before you know it and things get SO. MUCH. BETTER. 😀

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How to Highlight Books & Notes in College

Have you ever seen that picture of a textbook completely covered in yellow highlighter that just says, “Highlighting. You’re doing it wrong.”?
I literally laughed so hard at that the first time I saw it because I have definitely gotten those textbooks before! 

(And in all honesty, I’ve also been that highlighting offender.)
Sometimes, it’s just hard to know what to and what not to highlight. Like, what if you need to know this in the future? Clearly, that neon yellow will lead the information right into your brain and let it stay there forever!


Here is my system for highlighting (and reading) textbooks:


First of all, go into your textbook with a purpose. Just reading a chapter start to finish without a purpose is like walking into Target without a purpose (dangerous and costly).
When you know what you’re looking for (either by using a study guide, looking at class notes, or reading the guiding questions that the end of the chapter), you’re more likely to pull out the importantinformation.
Scan the pictures and headings to get an idea of what you’re SUPPOSED to learn from the chapter. Then really focus on learning that thing! You and I both know every chapter doesn’t need to be 30+ pages. Don’t waste your time reading every word.


Create a routine, just like everything else. You may want to use one color for vocabulary terms and a different color for important ideas. I always, ALWAYS write my notes right in the margins using a mechanical pencil. It just makes it so much easier to have all of the info right there together!
If you use a consistent system, you’ll automatically look for vocabulary words to be pink, or learning theories to be yellow, which would make it a little more memorable!


Also, don’t forget about the wide variety of office supplies that can make your textbook reading more interactive! Use Post-It flags/tabs to save pages where important theories/concepts/charts, etc. are. You can highlight away, but what good does it do if you can’t find the page again?
If you’re not totally comfortable with writing straight into your book, you can use medium-sized sticky notes and stick those in the margins of important pages instead! Plus, sometimes a little extra color makes textbooks a little more bearable.


Don’t forget to bring the information “out” of your textbook.By that, I mean pull out those important terms/concepts/ideas that you highlighted and put them on index cards. Hang them up on your fridge, the wall above your computer, or on your mirror. This brings the information to you instead of you having to do work to get to the information.
Also, Target and school supply stores have that giant paper that you could use to create diagrams, etc. and literally hang them on your wall (provided your husband/roommates wouldn’t mind too much).


Follow Organized Charm on Pinterest!

Good Habits for College Classes



Class. To go or not to go? 

That usually seems to be the question. 

I mean, we know that  it’s probably best to go… but the freedom of not having to be there is just so tempting sometimes.  

Plus, there is always so much to do. Occasionally, we’re just positive that we could be more productive if we skipped class and spent that hour by ___ (insert biggest stressor of the day) instead. 

If going to class feels “unproductive” to you, here are some ways to change that and get the most out of your time spent on campus!



Here are my top “good” habits for college classes:
Bring Your Planner
Not only would I never in my life have come to class without my planner. I kept it open in front of me at all times. This just kept  dates in my mind (next class, we’ll be talking about this chapterthat assignment is due a week from today… etc.). I definitely, definitely suggest doing this!

Listen Proactively

For my new teaching job, we’re reading the book Teach Like a Champion. There is a technique in the book called SLANT, which provides an easy for students (or “scholars) to know how they’re expected to sit. Our brains usually take their cues from our bodies, and if your body is saying “Hey, this is interesting and I’m excited to hear it! Then your brain will pay attention, too (probably).
S: Sit up
L: Listen attentively
A: Ask and answer questions like a scholar
N: Not your head
T: Track the speaker


Stay Active

Unfortunately, most college courses are still lecture-style. As in, you’re sitting passively, listening (or looking like you’re listening) for nearly the entire class period. If you struggle with staying focused the whole time, I would definitely suggest writing the whole time. Just start taking notes at the beginning of class, and keep on until the end of class. This does two things: First of all, it keeps you engaged, actively doing something throughout the lecture! And secondly, you leave with some pretty awesome and thorough notes that your classmates will totally envy.
Build Class Time into Your Schedule

Remember at the beginning of this post where I talked about to go or not to go to class? The answer is always the same: GO TO CLASS! Even if you have the study guide, Even if your professor puts the Power Points online, Even if you have a friend who promised to take notes for you. Build class time into your schedule and stick to it!
Keep Your Class Stuff Organized

If you’re going to math class (bless your heart), keep your pencils, calculator, book, graph paper, altogether in the same place every time! The worst thing is showing up unprepared! Try getting some of those $10 canvas bins from Target and making them your “class bins”. This will make it easy for you to grab your stuff and go (and hopefully keep you on time)!
College classes can be annoying, boring, and feel like time wasters BUT they’re also the reason you’re there!

Just show up, take notes, and try to learn something (of course)! 😀 

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How to Prepare for a New Semester



How was last semester for you? 

Did you easily breeze through, flitting from class to class, turning in perfectly completed assignments that your professors praised profusely, all with perfect makeup and a manicure? 

OR 

Did you feel so overwhelmed that you rushed from class to class, looking like a drowned, harassed rat, somehow managing to type up and print out assignments just as they were due, all while driving around in a car that hasn’t had an oil change in 9 months with half of your closet in the backseat? #nojudgment

Oh, you want to know how my fall semester went? It would be that second one. 



Starting a new job at a new school in a new school system had me completely overwhelmed. So overwhelmed, in fact, that it reminded me of my first semester of college:

My first semester of college went a little like this: I was super excited about the first day of class, then the semester started and I don’t remember anything else until Christmas. 

My first semester of teaching in public school went a little like this: I was super excited about the first day of class, then the semester started and I don’t remember anything else until Christmas. 

(I told you they were similar).



So, THIS is the time to set ourselves up for success over the next semester! We know what to expect, we have a general idea of how long things take and the general expectations that we’re held to. It’s time to prepare for a kick-butt spring semester! Are you ready?! 
Let’s get started, shall we?


First, always, always, always start with a goal! 
Your goal will guide everything you do. Keep your focus on that goal and you will take intentional steps to achieve it! Organized Charm is literally filled with posts about goal-setting, from how to determine them, to how to write them, to how to follow through with them!



Second, as they say, a goal without a plan is just a wish. 
So get yourself a beautiful new planner! I just happen to know of a great one 😉 Everyone is different and different types of planners work for different people. Really do your research before committing to one and make sure it works best for YOU!



Third, what left you feeling overwhelmed last semester? 
For me, I kind of hated how messy I let my home get. I hated it that I sacrificed workout time for my work schedule (as in, I literally have not worked out since Daylight Savings Time ended). And I really hated it that I spent less time with my husband than I used to. So, for the new semester, I’m working on ways to not let those parts of my life get pushed aside. Remind yourself that school/work is only a PART of your life. It isn’t your life.



Fourth, take action now! 
If you know that something will be challenging to do once school has started, then get it done now! Once the new semester starts, I won’t have time to get my oil changed or go to the dentist, so those are tasks that I can cover over the break. Of course, enjoy your break, but also deal with stuff that will stress you out once you’re back in school!

Fifth, designate checkpoints! 
I don’t know how it’s possible but semesters seem to simultaneously fly by AND drag on at the same time. When you’re in the middle of it, it can feel really overwhelming, so set some checkpoints to keep you motivated! They can be short-term goals or little motivational reminders on your phone or in your planner! Anything to remind you that you’re on the right track, even when you feel like you aren’t making any progress.



The best way to prepare for the new semester is just to do as much planning as possible! For every minute you spend planning, you save yourself 11 minutes in the future! 

And in the midst of the chaos of a new semester, those 11 minutes will be gold! 🙂 



Follow Organized Charm on Pinterest for daily inspiration! 

How to Stay Organized in Online College Courses (tips from an expert)

Yesterday was Labor Day, which means that it’s officially BACK TO SCHOOL SEASON everywhere! 

And you know what that means! …school supplies, new class schedules, and for many of us, online classes! 

Online classes can be tricky because they’re sooo convenient. However, they’re also sooo easy to fall behind in! Enter: Our secret weapon, Professor Myers! 

That’s right, today’s guest post is actually from an ONLINE PROFESSOR! Who better to give advice on how to keep it together this semester, right? She has some amazing tips (and a book with even more amazing tips) to share with us! Ready?! 😀

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 

Even college students who live on campus take online courses because they are convenient. You know, like you don’t have to get up at 6 am to get to a 7:30 class. But what many students don’t understand is that online college courses are not an easy way to get through a class that they aren’t necessarily looking forward to. 

Yes, they are convenient because you can “attend class” anywhere, anytime, but that doesn’t mean they are easy. The professors who teach online courses must teach the same amount of material in the same amount of time, so even if you don’t have to physically show up (dressed) for class, you do have to show up and do the work. 

Students new to online college courses often buy into the common myths that:

1| They will save time
2| They are self-paced
3| They are a breeze

Every college student needs ways of staying organized and keeping their stuff together, but for the online student, this is paramount to success (or just passing by the skin of your teeth.



Here are some ways I recommend you do that:

There’s an app for that—Students love apps, and they are a great way to keep organized and keep on top of things. I’ve gathered a bunch of the best ones for online students, including scheduling and grade trackers, as well as distraction-free writing tools and motivational apps that help you keep on-task and get stuff done. You can find these must-have apps here.

Schedule time—To avoid forgetting about reading and assignments, schedule time into your week to “attend class.” Online courses require you to read/watch/listen to lectures, post in discussion boards, read the textbook and complete assignments. Set up several hours at the same times each week—a couple of times each week—just like you would if you had to get dressed and show up in a particular classroom. This will help you keep on top of assignments and ensure you don’t forget about the class.

Print the syllabus and calendar—I know you may be thinking that since this is an online course you shouldn’t have to print anything. But, if there is one thing you will learn in an online course, it is that technology isn’t foolproof. Servers go down and students can’t access their class. Does your professor have a policy for how to deal with that? What should you be reading in the textbook to make sure you don’t fall behind while the class is unavailable? See what I mean? Semester classes move at the speed of lightening, and just a day or two of lost time can mean a great deal of stress trying to get caught back up! Printing a few pages is worth it!

Log in often—Check your class, even when there isn’t something due. This is important because things change. For example, there have been times when I have pushed back an assignment due date or eliminated some required reading because of unforeseen events. Logging in several times a week, even when you don’t need to, will make life much easier in the long run.



Want to learn more strategies for being successful in your online college courses? Check out my new book, Your Online College Course Survival Guide

You can learn more about it at http://onlinecollegecoursesurvivalguide.com.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 
  Jacqueline Myers has been improving writing skills since the 1990’s and is still hard at work, struggling to put an end to comma splices and stamp out accidental plagiarism. 

She is an online college English professor and a freelance writer & editor, as well as the owner & writing expert at Nitty-Gritty English, a site dedicated to providing academic writing tips to the reluctant college writer. 

Have questions about college writing or online courses? She’s all about answering them. Send them to her at jsm@nittygrittyenglish or post them on the Nitty-Gritty English Facebook Page

5 Ways to Make Your Planner Pretty!


Planners. You love them. I love them. 

And seriously, what would we do without them? 

They keep us on track, on time (mostly), and productive!

But just because they’re a productivity tool, doesn’t mean they can’t also be pretty!


(You may also want to take a look at 23 Tips for Keeping an Academic Planner)

Making your planner happy and pretty will make you use it more, therefore, being productive! 


Organization + Prettiness + Productive? I call that a win-win-win! Plus, if you document all of your important things, your planner will double as a journal! Add one more “win” to that list! So, what tips do I have for decorating a planner to reflect your personality and life? Psh. Where do I even begin? Get those debit cards ready because I see an Etsy/Target shopping spree in your future! 

(Please. Like you needed me for that.) 

Since I know y’all are tired of seeing my same planner all the time, I decided to round up a few gorgeous examples that I found around the lovely Pinterest planner community! And guess what? That even includes some links to free printable downloads! YAY! 
(If you really love planners, here’s a peek Inside My Wedding Planner!)

Here are my absolute favorite examples + products that will make your planner pretty and organized!! 


Colorful Event Reminders | Elephantshoe

Oh, hey. Aren’t these the cutest little things ever? Breathe a little life into any planner with these happy little event reminders. This free download includes 2 sheets of reminders! You can print them onto regular cardstock and stick them into your planner with Washi tape OR print them onto adhesive paper and cut them out as stickers. I love these so much!


Color-Coded Pens | First Home Love Life

So, if you’ve read more than one post from this blog or seen more than one Instagram on its account, you definitely know that I’m a big (BIG) fan of the Papermate Flair pens. I love the colors, the way they write, everything. But there are other pens that work just as great for planners! 

Above you can see that Christine from First Home Love Life uses Sharpie Ultra Fine Points and they look fabulous! I’ve also heard wonderful things about Pilot Frixion (erasable!) pens! I usually try to limit my planner to about 5 different colors (because you know, I like to keep things simple.) But you can obviously go as wild with different colors as you want! 

Washi Tape | Take Two They’re Small

So, you know how I always use Washi tape to organize my planner? (That sounds like an exaggeration but it isn’t.) The example above from Take Two They’re Small is the first place I ever saw it! Man, did it really change my planning life. Perfect for showing “summer break” “vacation” or “exam week” in your planner! Plus I color code mine to match the pens that I use! Too perfect and such an easy way to add some extra prettiness to your productivity! 

Binder Clip | Luckeyfrog’s Lilypad


Binder clips are one of my favorite ways to decorate/organize my planner! I have mine set up with binder clips so that I can open straight to the current month or the current week! They make it super easy to open up quickly and start planning! (plus… they’re pretty). There are tons of pretty ones at Office Depot and Target. OR you can just make your own by using a plain black binder clip and your favorite Washi tape design! 


Planner Stickers | ScribblePrintsCo

Aren’t these weekend stickers adorable? I know they are. That’s why I’ll probably end up ordering before this weekend is over. ScribblePrintsCo is just one of the wonderful Etsy shops where you can find adorable planning stickers to help organize your life! I have the solid page flags (which I use to show my scheduled blog posts), the heart checklists (which I use for monthly goals), and the coffee cups (which I use for coffee dates. Clever, I know). 


{via}


Of course, you and I both know that there are a BILLION more ways to decorate your planner but these are some of my favorites! I would LOVE to see how you decorate your planner! 🙂 

Tell me all about your favorite products/ideas for decorating your planner. 

Or better yet, if you want to show me your adorable planner layout, just use #organizedcharm or tag me @organizedcharm on Instagram or Twitter

Do you need a new planner? Check out OC’s Etsy shop!

Planner Review: May Designs

I was recently asked to review my May Designs planner. (um… that only sounds like the most fun ever). So here it is! I’ve only been using the planner for a couple of months, but I have really gotten into the rhythm of using it daily, which is something I always worry about when switching planning systems. 

Create a Planner System That Works Best for YOU!

First of all, the coolest thing about May Designs is that you design your own notebook. You choose the cover design, add a monogram or name (or year), and you choose which package of pages that you want. You can get plain old notebook pages, a monthly planner, a monthly and weekly planner, graph paper, etc. 

Another great thing about it is the size. Here, I have it in a little binder and it fits pretty perfectly. Admittedly, I miss my old planner and this one was a little too simple for me, so I did need to supplement it with a binder and notebook pages. This binder is from Office Depot/Max and the dividers and paper are from the office supply aisle at Target! 


 The page package that I chose had both monthly + weekly views. The weekly views are all laid out vertically in a 2 week spread. So, if you are someone who tends to write to-do lists on your days (like me), you may need to supplement it with some notebook paper, too! 


The pages I chose are pre-dated, which I liked. I always tend to mess something up when I’m trying to fill in my own dates. I think it was a little extra for pre-dates, but worth it! I’m using my daily to-do lists instead of writing everything in the daily spaces. 

Overall, the bi-weekly spread is nice, although it can get a little cluttered-looking by that second week. The page quality is pretty good and my color-coded pens don’t bleed through, which is fantastic! I’m not crazy about part of every Sunday being taken up by a calendar of the month, but it’s certainly no deal breaker. 


The monthly view is just my favorite! I just love the simplicity of it and even the tininess of the boxes! Additionally, there are 6 pages in the back of the planner for notes (the only thing I have written back there so far is my morning routine).

This post was written because it was a request. If you’d like to request your own post, do it here!

Do you love planners and planner-related things? Have you ever used a May Designs planner? If so, how did you like it? If not, aren’t they adorable?!

Top Lessons I Learned About Procrastination During College


This will probably be the dumbest question you’ll read all day: Do you struggle with procrastination? Like, literally able to do ANYTHING except for the one thing that you’re supposed to be doing? 

Oh, I’m sorry, would it have been easier to ask: “Are you human”? 

If you answered “yes” then welcome, you’ve found the perfect place where you belong! 

I recently read that we’re supposed to “read what we need to learn”. And if you’ve taken a look around this blog for more that 4 seconds, you’ve probably seen the word “productivity” aaaaabout 42 times. 

Go ahead. Take a look around. Crazy, huh? 

I’ve obviously been working on learning how to get rid of procrastination for a while now! 

(5 Anti-Procrastination Strategies to Help you Get Through Finals Week)

Here are the biggest lessons I learned about procrastination in college! 

Procrastination is one of those things that is just so difficult to overcome! The worst for me was in undergrad because there were just so many other things to do: parties, friends, work, moving. You name it and it could distract me from schoolwork. Here are some of the things I learned that helped me balance out my social life and school work! 


5 helpful lessons you need to learn to kick procrastination to the curb!

1. Procrastination is a form of fear.

Last year, my super nice professor gave us a take home midterm. “Awesome!” I thought. “She is just the coolest person ever for doing that!” And she was. But did the fact that I had this thing in my house all of spring break make me want to take it? Absolutely not. 

It sat on my desk until the day before. Why? Fear. Fear of failing. Or maybe just fear that I would start it and realize how hard it was and that I hadn’t actually learned anything so far. It even prompted me to write this post! So, what’ s procrastinating college student to do?! 

2. In order to accomplish things, you have to face that fear. 

Choose an “Anti-Procrastination” Day. Back in the day, I used to try to use the FlyLady system for keeping our house clean. My attempt at those routines ha been long gone for a few years now, but there are a few things of hers that I do still use. 

One of them is anti-procrastination” day

Choose one day a week to just get those tasks you’ve been dreading over with! I promise, you will feel so much better once you do! Most of the time, once I start a task, I realize that it’s much easier than I expected. Just jump right in!

3. A good plan is worth a million minutes. 

I’m a planner. No doubt about it. But even if you’re more of a “free spirit” than I am (in which case this entire blog looks like pure insanity to you) it’s still helpful to make a productivity plan! A productivity plan is exactly what it sounds like! Make a list of your stuff! The tough stuff that you’ve been avoiding or the tediously boring mind-numbing stuff that you hate to do. Then get started on it! Here are some tips to help you get going


4. It’s easy to get distracted (especially when you’d literally rather be doing anything else). 

Back to undergrad and midterms (and finals): When I came home from class in the afternoon, I just wanted to relax by doing nothing. Which is fine, as long as “nothing” doesn’t turn into all afternoon (like it often does). 

If this is a problem for you, too, try this: Give yourself a “reminder”. For example, place your study guide near your computer, so that when you’re thinking about heading over to Pinterest, you remember that you’ve got an exam to study for. 

Or set a reminder on your phone, so that 10 minutes into that Insta-binge, you remember you still have reading to do! 


5. Bribing yourself is definitely okay. 

There are a lot of times in life that bribing is frowned upon. Luckily, college is not one of them! I would use whatever it was that I was just DYING to do against myself. Like, If you finish your rough draft in time, you can go to brunch on Saturday or watch that new Netflix.

Set up a reward plan for yourself and really stick to it! You are the boss of yourself and you are not about to be stopped by some weak little distraction or lack of self-discipline, right? If all else fails, designate a hiding spot for your phone/computer until you get your work done!

Organized Study Time

What lessons have you learned while in college? Are there any specific “anti-procrastination” tips that really help you out? Share them with our readers below! 

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