One of the most important things I have learned about being a successful graduate student is getting organized. As a new grad student I got really overwhelmed with all of the articles for different classes, articles for my own work, notes from classes, notes from my own work, notes from meetings, papers that needed to be graded, papers that had been graded but not picked up…The list goes on and on.
When I started to think about getting ready for my comprehensive exam, I realized that organizing all of these notes and articles and ideas was half the battle.
I know that there are an infinite number of ways to organize, but I’d like to show you the way that works for me. My organizational scheme is constantly evolving – but here’s how it is now:
I am lucky that the desk in my office has a drawer for hanging file folders.
(I also have a full two-drawer filing cabinet at home! – See how quickly you could get buried under all this?!)
It’s worked out really nicely to have additional storage in this hanging file crate. Also, this will make it easy when I take all these files to my house when I take my comp.
I keep this standing folder-holder (is that a real term?) on my desk for the things I am currently working on. These things include class readings for the week and projects that need immediate attention. In the front I keep pieces of scrap paper cut into quarters to jot quick notes or use as bookmarks.
I’m not teaching this semester, but when I was, I used these drawers to keep graded papers that students had yet to pick up. This system was perfect because I had two sections and each section got its own drawer. I liked it because student papers were completely separate from my personal files.
Above are pens and post-its and various office supplies. I got used to having them out when I was at a desk without drawers and though I now have drawers, I still like to have these things out where I can get to them quickly and easily.
I’ve started a new thing this semester where I keep one notebook for all meeting notes and to-do lists and goals. Before, these things would end up in weird places or getting lost because they didn’t fit logically into my folder system. I was hesitant to put all of these things in the same notebook, but now that I’ve tried it I love it!
Doesn’t hurt that I found a super cute (if not a little silly) notebook
Speaking of projects, this is how I am keeping all of mine straight (also a new idea for this semester)
I have what feels like a thousand projects going on right now, so to keep track of where I am on all of them I use a whiteboard to write down what needs to be done next on each project. I am also using some extra space on the board to keep track of time time until I comp.
And that’s how I stay organized.
I’d love to hear about your organizational system!