Supposedly, we can only hold about 5-10 things in our short-term memory before they start to slip through our fingers. If you’re in class, it’s very easy to reach that limit very quickly. Three assignments and an upcoming test and you’ve made plans with your study group and you need to buy poster board for the project due next week… Now what was the assignment the teacher just gave you? Those details have already been shuffled off the board.
- Keep a planner. Seriously, just get one. And make it more than dates and times, make it a diary. Treat it like your wallet – take it everywhere with you.
- The moment your teacher gives you an assignment, write it down. Right then and there, in detail. The moment you think of something you need to get before the next class. Jot that down too. Your diary should be exactly as jam-packed as your life is, which leads us to the next point.
- Keep it organized! Now, it’s a small space, so odds are anything in there won’t get lost-lost, but organization will help it from becoming a stressor to you. Color-code tasks or assign each corner of a page to a different type of note. Assignments in blue or upper left, review periods in green or lower right, exams in red, right in the middle. Adjust as needed, you’ll know what works for you.
- Use prompts for big tasks so they don’t sneak up on you if you’re not assiduous about looking ahead in your planner. If you have a huge essay due on three weeks, put a tiny weekly reminder of it starting two weeks ahead. Or if you don’t mind your diary bristling, put an unmissable post-it sticking out to make sure you really know it’s coming.
- If you’re already doing these kinds of things and -still- struggle with keeping it all straight, a last useful tip is actually to keep a second planner at home. A huge wall calander is ideal for this one. As part of every evening, copy your on-the-go planner into it, every single detail. Just like copying your notes, it’s a strong form of review, and will help fix details in your mind as well as letting you see physically how your responsibilities are spaced out or clustered.