We are always busy. Homework, work, friends, appointments, cleaning, more work. This quarter I’ve worked out a way to keep myself a little less stressed than usual, and I think this could be helpful to many students. It involves two things: good time management and working ahead. Read more
I’ve received quite a few messages asking about the Chronodex Planner system (designed by Patrick Ng), so I decided to write a few sentences about it. Basically, it’s a very compact and organized way to put all your daily tasks in one little circle, as well as a daily opportunity to color something (stay inside the lines!). All you do is get a Chronodex Template (I used this one), come up with a to-do list, color in specific sections on the calendar and go be productive. You can tweak the system according to your needs, of course. Here are some photos:
Chronodex templates can be found with a simple google search and printed out for your convenience. For reference and a little inspiration, here are some helpful links:
If you have made the decision to use a tablet or an iPad for school, congratulations! I have found it to be so helpful, both in terms of freeing up some space in my backpack as well as keeping everything organized and in one place. One frequent question I get from my Tumblr followers is what are the top apps you can use for school?
Here is a quick list of productivity, note-taking, document reading, to-do list and some fun apps that can be integrated into your school life.
1. To be Productive
When studying, the Pomodoro Timer can help you organize your schedule. The Pomodoro Rule (aka 45-15 rule) allows you to work for 45 minutes and rest for 15. Studying in smaller chunks like these helps you keep your best focus and re-energize when the concentration goes down.
If you are not a fan of set schedules, but would like to keep a clean and organized to-do list for all your activities, I’d recommend the GoodTask app
2. To Be Organized
To those who enjoy keeping a calendar online, Sunrise Calendaris a beautiful app. Similar to iCal, it includes Google calendar, Exchange and iCloud support, and is available on laptops, iPhones and iPads. It is also offered on Android!
StudyCalis also a great option for students who like to keep their daily tasks, class schedules, assignments and even grades all in one place.
3. To Take Notes
I take notes using GoodNotes app (Here is a screenshot).It is very simple and easy to use, doesn’t lag, and has handwriting recognition in case you need to do a search of you notes. Also includes PDF annotations as well as allows you to take photos and insert them right into your notes.
Another option is Notability– an app very similar to Goodnotes, except that it offers a voice recording device and allows you to listen to the recording and see how you wrote your notes during lecture. Super cool!
Evernoteand OneNoteare also great apps for taking notes in class, but mostly if you prefer to type them. Both are saved on a cloud and are accessible from any device!
For various short and random notes, the App Store offers Post-It app, which lets you create Pinterest-like boards of post it notes from your photos.
4. To Study
One of the greatest ways to study vocabulary or any kinds of key terms is with using flashcards.
I really should be posting more, but school really is taking a lot of time. I feel a little guilty whenever I get some free time- should I be studying for that Tuesday test right now? What if it could make a difference in my scores? But by the end of the day my brain decides to turn off and seems to only focus on five episodes of Orange is the New Black.
I think my study inspiration comes from an organized desk and a clean room. That’s why this weekend I decided to clean up super quick (unfortunately, it turned out I have so much stuff that after dusting the drawers I put everything back where I found it…) and cozy up my study table. I threw away some random to-do lists from September and August, got a third new pencil pouch to put my fancy pens into and even organized some folders on the laptop.
As of now, my tools for staying on top of things are:
A to-do list. It’s huge sticky note.
Class schedules. Right in front of my face. To remind me of how much work needs to be done.
A tablet with my notes and class PowerPoint to review.
A pouch with fancy colored pens. My feet brought me to the University Bookstore the other day and forced me to buy them.
Caramel Black tea in a cute cup. To help me stay calm in this busy, busy world. (There may or may not be a giant thermos with tea that didn’t make it into the picture)
Trying to figure out the situation with planners right now, so here’s a list of some nice ones I’ve found online:
1. Whitney English Planner Very minimalistic, elegant and practical. I’ve seen it being used at my university, and the reviews are wonderful!
A great little system that allows you to keep everything you need in one place. A bit on the higher end, however, but people use it for years. You can refill with whatever sheets you need (monthly/weekly/daily/to-do’s/meals, notes, etc.), use a ton of sticky notes, stickers, etc. The whole website is magical.
Check out also: Filofaxomania, Filofax, Filofax & Planners on Pinterest
I’ve never been able to keep a single planner for more than a few weeks. I buy the most expensive and prettiest one, spend hours writing down assignments and exams, and then forget about within a month. I think I work better with daily or weekly to-do lists. Somehow the satisfaction of aggressively checking and crossing off items from a list has helped me stay on top of things.
Here are a few photos I took of my *current* weekly task planner.
It is a little notebook I’ve purchased in Russia this summer because I decided I needed one. Also, it’s adorable.
For example, on Sunday October 12, I came up with all the things I need to do in the next week. The bottom of the page under the line is used as a little personal thing- I end up writing down a couple sentences about what happened that day.
When I finish some tasks, I check them off and transfer the unfinished tasks to the next page at the end of the day.
*My fall quarter starts on September 24th. Professors started posting textbook information, test information, syllabus, etc. on the course websites a couple days, so I thought it would be a good idea to prepare for each class before it starts *
Once you have your textbooks, a little bit of information on the website, and the syllabus, start preparing your study plan for the quarter.
1. Read the course syllabus. Professors know exactly what they will be teaching, how big the workload will be, exam schedules, reading material, etc. Once you read the syllabus, you are already mentally prepared for the class, and it won’t seem as overwhelming on the first day.
** Important information to take away from the syllabus:
– Homework load
– Class schedule, test information
– Retake and make up policy
– Any class- specific information
2. Look up your professor on RateMyProfessors. By reading other students’ reviews, you can get a preview into what your classes will be like. It’s important not to believe every word you read there, simply because every student has a different (or no) relationship with his professor.
** Info to take away from Ratemyprofessors:
– STUDY TIPS. A lot of students write what they’ve done to be successful in the class
– How to professor teaches the class. What materials to use
– Homework/ work load
3. Write down your goals for the course. Whether it’s a specific grade you want to earn or the information you’d like to learn, it’s good to have something to motivate you.
** More info:
– Create a Work Document, a poster or just some random sheet and write down your goals on it
– Hang in somewhere where you’ll see it as a reminder and motivator
4. Note exam dates, reading schedule, etc. Look over the syllabus or a schedule chart, if one is available, and assign yourself pages to read a few weeks ahead. You can always modify this list as the quarter progresses
5. Attend the first few Lectures. Probably the most important thing you could do to prepare for the future classes.
** Info to take away:
– Professor’s teaching style
– Plan a note-taking technique
– What you’ll actually need to read/ do to succeed.
– Talk to the professor, ask for tips on how to study for his/her class!!