Wednesday, 2 May 2012

The Art of Organisation (or: Why All Of Those Little Gummed Sheets Of Yellow Paper May Not Be Such A Good Idea)

Behold Ladies and Gentlemen! Behold my master organisational plan!

After many years of coming up with elaborate plans which involved any or all of the following:

  • Sub-folders
  • Flashcards
  • Colour Coding
  • Academic Diaries
I have finally come to the realisation that these things never have, never do, and never will work for me. I can't deal with all those little bits of paper, and having loads of copies and notepads just means I end up taking the wrong ones with me to class all the time.

So, to get organised once and for all, I have (ingeniously, I might add) decided to embrace my lack of organisational skills, and make the simplest plan of all my years as a scholar. I normally get excited by big and complicated plans for like five minutes, then give up on them. This time, however, it is a non-flashy, long lasting organisational strategy. And I am going to make it work!

The Plan
  1. Work Copies: I have cut down my countless refill pads and exercise books to just one copy for maths, and one copy for everything else. See how that works? Now if I keep just those two copies in my bag at all times, I will have all of the work I need for any class. Both of the copies are spiral bound, so I can easily tear out homework that needs to be handed up and file it later. The reason I have a separate copy for maths is because I tend to use up paper pretty quickly when I'm solving problems, and I didn't want to lose my other subjects in a sea of algebra.
  2. Notebooks instead of Flashcards: I'm trying to cut down on the number of notes I take anyway, and there is nothing worse than repeatedly watching your carefully stacked tower of flashcards tumble to the ground. Now I just keep a couple of notebooks for the subjects that really need them, like English and History. Also, I'm converting lots of my notes to my laptop on Microsoft Word or Excel to get rid of even more paper!
  3. Nothing on my Desk: Zilch, zip, nada. The desk in my room is now completely free of all paper, post-its, everything. I have a small shelf beside it in which I keep a few writing implements, and things like glue-stick and scissors, but my desk is clear. You see, in my personal experience, if I leave anything on my desk it magically multiplies until you can no longer see the formica beneath it. Now, I just put what I need on the desk when I need it, and clear it away afterwards. My desk isn't quite as cool as this guy's, but it is at least functional since I have adopted this rule.
  4. Just Learning the Damn Thing: Forget mindmaps, forget colouring in your revision timetable, forget walking around with flashcards in your jeans pocket pretending that you're actually going to use them. I have definitely rediscovered the immense benefits that come from just sitting down and learning what you need to learn as quickly as possible. All those finicky extras just make me want to procrastinate and not devote my whole concentration to the task. The only revision aids I use now really are mnemonics, which do actually help me (think My Poor Father Punched Alex for Monera Protista Fungi Plantae and Animalae, or Every Good Boy Deserves Football for the lines of the treble clef).
Anyway, I guess looking back over it, it's probably just common sense, but I have certainly benefited from it. It works for me, at least, so give it a try and tell me how it goes!

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