Updated: Jun 14, 2021
University is different in several ways in comparison to high school, which is why the change is often overwhelming. One of the main adjustments that I had to make was how I keep myself organized. During my first year, it took many adjustments to alter my time management and finally find time for both school and a social life. I find that staying organized and managing your time is one of the major keys to success in university. It may have taken me my whole first year to get the hang of things, but when I finally figured out what works for me, it was smooth sailing! Being a full-time student in university, working two jobs, being involved within my school community, and still trying to live a healthy life is something that has become somewhat manageable with the help of Google calendar and Notion.
Using Google calendar has been super helpful as it not only links to my phone to send push notifications, but it is also a tool that I can easily glance at. As you can see in the photo, colour coding is very important to keep me on track. I usually use red for things related to SFU, light green for birthdays, light pink for CSA-related events, yellow for work dates, blue for doctor appointments, and purple for events that are planned for fun. Of course, when you colour code your own calendar, you can change these colours to whatever you associate your events with (e.g. I chose to use red for SFU because red is one of the school colours). When setting up dates in your calendar you can customize all sorts of things, such as the push notifications that are either sent to your email or more conveniently, to your phone. You can also set up recurring events as I have for CSA meetings and one of my job’s consistent work schedule/pay. Google calendar has been a great tool to keep me on track, and more importantly, plan my weeks to hold myself accountable!
As I do enjoy the aesthetic look of a beautifully built webpage, Notion has been a fantastic tool that is pleasing while also holding me accountable for schoolwork. Notion was super intimidating to use at first, but there are several premade templates on YouTube which set up the baseline for my organized paradise that I now use. On the main page, which I spend the most time on, the main portions include my steady weekly schedule (such as lecture and tutorial times, as well as one of my job’s set schedule) and my daily lists for the week. I also embedded my Google calendar into my home page, which makes it easy to plan accordingly for the week. There are sub-pages such as academia, lists, and goals/aspirations which separate the areas I find important. Notion is fantastic as it also sends reminders to my devices, which keeps me alert of when due dates are creeping up. I use Notion mainly for planning my days and keeping track of my assignments because I can check off assignments as I complete them and then they disappear, which I find super satisfying! After the complications of initially setting up and finding the perfect template for my needs, my page is now pinned in my browser as I am on it quite often.
Being organized is something that truly elevated my experience at university as it allowed me to hold myself accountable and have more time to do things other than school. Google calendar and Notion are two tools that I highly recommend using as they are user-friendly for the most part and aesthetically pleasing. With the help of these two amazing apps, I hope everyone is able to hold themselves accountable and stay on track for their coming semesters.
Link to the template I started with for Notion: