Unsinkable Organizing


Cal Newport's Unsinkable Organizing:
Creating an Enduring Organizational System

Many students make the mistake of building complicated organizational systems at the beginning of a school year. But when schedules pick up and life gets busy, these systems become difficult to maintain. Start your year off right by considering this simple and comprehensive organizational system that will stand up to the test of time:

1 Class= 1 Notebook + 1 Folder: Simplicity is best when it comes to selecting your school supplies for the year.  Designate one notebook (or one tab in a binder) and one folder for each of your classes.  All handouts, and supplementary materials go into the folder, and all class notes can be taken in the notebook.

Fault-proof Filing:  Out-of-date handouts, research materials, administrative paperwork, and study materials that you don’t use daily will all need a place to live.  Create a simple filing system by using manila folders to store similarly themed paperwork.  Label each folder accordingly, and store in a neat stack somewhere at home.  

Maintain a Calendar: Keeping a planner is imperative for success. But it isn’t always convenient to pull out your phone to add an important deadline to your Googlecalendar or to log onto your laptop to add a task to your running to-do list.  Keep a separate notebook, or even a stack of post-it-notes handy to jot down important dates, tasks that arise and reminders that need to be added to your calendar.  Then, the next time you review your calendar or planner, add these notes accordingly.

*adapted from 'The Unsinkable Student Organization System,' http://calnewport.com/blog/2009/08/25/the-unsinkable-student-organization-system/