Peyton Boelk

Semester scaries setting in? You’re not alone! Starting the school year off on a good note can be daunting at times, but being prepped and prepared can help alleviate some anxiety revolving around getting back to the books. While it sometimes feels like staying organized throughout the semester can only be accomplished by wizards, organization is a trait anyone can learn and implement into their lives. 

Why should you stay organized?

  1. Reduces anxiety and stress.

College can be stressful and anxiety-inducing enough between balancing your studies and social life, so finding any way to help reduce these negative feelings is beneficial. Since staying organized takes the worry off your plate, you can have faith that you have the resources to deal with anything that comes your way. Knowing where things are, when things are due, and what the implications are for specific tasks makes you feel in control. 

  1. Reduced risk of burnout.

There comes a time when we feel like we’ve stretched ourselves too thin and struggle to manage the things around us. Staying organized allows you the span of control to influence the controllable things in your life, helping to reduce overwhelming feelings of stress. Due to the positive correlation between stress and burnout, reducing feelings of stress in turn minimizes your susceptibility to experiencing burnout. 

  1. Increased feelings of self-fulfillment. 

Finished everything on your to-do list for the week? Way to go! The feeling of accomplishment that occurs after your organized efforts finally pay off is a rewarding experience. This feeling not only increases your confidence but is self-fulfilling in so many facets of your life. The positivity you feel towards yourself is transferable to the people around you, so being organized can give you the space to spend more time pouring into the things you love. 

What are some resources I can use to prep and prepare for the fall semester?

  1. Notion 

Available on desktop and as an app, Notion is an organization-centered platform packed full of various resources that help fulfill all your organization-based needs. From planning to tracking productivity, Notion is the one-stop-shop for all things organization. Users can utilize various templates to set up workspaces based on what you need to accomplish. With a variety of customizable traits and interfaces, users can create the pages into their personally-designed organization partner. 

I utilize Notion to organize my personal, school, and work life. I have specific sections that cater to the different sections of my life, allowing me to update them as needed. 

I first have a homepage that acts as the HQ for all of my corresponding Notion pages. Here I can find my weekly goals, personal to-do list, and calendar.

I then created a specific Spring 2023 section where I created to-do lists specific to my classes and corresponding note pages where I could take notes during class.

To stay organized at work, I also created a specific Notion page where I track my needed tasks for each day and stay up-to-date on important assignments I need to complete. 

Catering more specifically to my personal life, I also created specific pages that pertain to my fitness and nutritional goals/habits. The sky is truly the limit when it comes to using Notion since there is no capacity to what you can use the program for! Being so highly customizable, users can make it their own without the worry of having too much information on the page’s interface. 

DISCLAIMER: The pages above are examples of my own usage of Notion and is not the only way users can utilize it! There are a multitude of widgets, templates, and add-ons that users can insert into their pages to make them their own. Below are some helpful links to help you customize your Notion:

  • Click HERE for a “What is Notion?” video.
  • Click HERE for a beginner’s guide to Notion.
    • Click HERE for a link to a YouTube video explaining how to use Notion (if blogs aren’t your thing ;)) 
  • Click HERE for a list of the 15 best Notion widgets.
  • Click HERE for a link to the Notion Template Gallery where you can find what templates cater to your organizational needs. 
  1. Tasks for Canvas 

With the fall semester comes classes, which inevitably means firing up Canvas and dealing with the overwhelming calendar of events, projects, and assignments your professors enter before the first day of class. Tasks for Canvas is a browser extension that helps Canvas users stay organized by showing all weekly assignments and tracking your progress throughout the week as your complete tasks. 

With the extension:

  • Never forget or miss an assignment again
  • Celebrate your work
  • See all your weekly assignments in one place
  • Create your own custom tasks

Download for Google HERE.

Download for Firefox HERE

  1. Microsoft To Do 

Being that UW-Whitewater’s campus utilizes Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft To Do is very efficient and extremely compatible with corresponding programs such as Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc. Microsoft To Do is a desktop and mobile application that seamlessly invites all of your Microsoft programs to exist and work cohesively as one.

Microsoft To Do acts as a daily planner with to do list capabilities and task management. Users can update tasks with due dates and reminders on the My Day interface and sync the list with their Outlook calendar. The application is also very collaborative with its capability of sharing lists with your friends, family, and colleagues.

What to learn more about Microsoft To Do? Click HERE.

  • Download for Android HERE.
  • Download for Windows HERE.
  • Download for Apple HERE.

While staying organized can be a challenging feat at first, the payoff is exceedingly rewarding. With utilizing programs such as Notion, Tasks for Canvas, and Microsoft To Do, staying organized is attainable and sustainable. Work smarter and be happier! Let’s make it a great semester, Warhawks!