It's funny - and slightly ironic - that I'm writing this post at a time when I feel I definitely need to up my organisation game. Final year of uni is no walk in the park and without even the sightest hint of structure and self-motivation, it can be nothing more than a wade through the swamp (the swamp metaphor stretches a long way: flooded by work, sinking into a pit of oblivion, ogre-like essays threatening to eat me alive...) Having said that, I have always considered myself to be a relatively organised person (borderline control freak) so I thought today I would share my top tips for being on the ball and motivating yourself to achieve any sort of goal, big or small. For me, being organised is a kind of way of life, and although we can't be winning at life 24/7, a change of mentality can help kickstart us to make the most of our time and gravitate towards a more productive, rewarding lifestyle. 1. Find something to structure your organising Before you can make a plan, you need something with which to record that plan. I personally find writing lists to be the most productive and helpful method but you might prefer to use a different technique. Whether it's an iPad or a notepad and pen, thinking about what it is exactly you want to achieve is the first step to managing your world successfully. 2. Set REALISTIC goals We all have a tendancy to think that we can achieve more than is possible. For example, I believe I can eat way more food in a given period of time than I actually can, which is sad because I love food and just want to eat 24/7 but unfortunately I have my limits as a human being. When putting together a plan, take into consideration timings, your environment, what else is happening in your life and think about how you will really feel at the time of doing something. It's important to look at things objectively and anticipate what is likely to be going on at that time. If you set yourself too many goals, you're only going to feel more disappointed when you can't achieve all of them. 3. Prioritise what's important or what really needs to be done We organise what we do depending on what is significant and what isn't, and also our attitude towards it. Being sociable and hanging out with friends is of course something we would rather do than, say, a piece of coursework, however the coursework can only be done once and our friends will always be around (I mean, I hope they will.) Again, anticipating what events are coming up in the future will help to decide what things need to be done, what things can wait and what things will be useful. Speaking in rather vague terms here, but I hope you're getting my drift... On that note: Make sacrifices Making sacrifices will be inevitable. No matter what sort of success you're after, there will always be sacrifices involved as we can't achieve everything. Deciding what is important will help you manage things effectively. The sacrifices you make may be big or they may be small but either way, they can actually help you realise what you really do care about. Get up a little bit earlier everyday I personally feel that getting up earlier allows for a more productive day. It makes sense, because if you wake up earlier you have more hours in the day to get stuff done. I'm not suggesting you set your alarm for 6am every morning, but just having a slightly earlier start to the day isn't going to do you any harm, that's for sure! Make sure to get enough rest so you don't burn out Even though it's good to get up earlier, it is so, so important to take care of yourself so that you don't end up burning the candle at both ends. Your health, at the end of the day, is the most important thing you have, so if that isn't up to scratch then you won't be able to handle anything you do to the best of your ability. Remember that your sanity comes first and if you need to take a break at any given time, take that break. Check in with yourself daily / weekly to track your progress Every so often it can be very helpful to look back and see what you have achieved so far to put things into perspective and to keep up your positive mindset. I do this frequently as I like to see what I've managed to get done basically everyday. You can also see what kinds of things you may want to improve on. Self-reflection is highly useful as you also learn more about yourself as a person. Understanding yourself = being able to take charge of your life. Understand that you cannot do everything This is stating the obvious but is key to being organised! Don't forget that none of us are superheroes and we have our limitations, as I've mentioned already. I beat myself up for not doing MORE than I can do, but obviously this is stupid as I'm not a machine and have no intention of becoming an insomniac (LOL.) There is no point comparing yourself to others because we've each got our own sh#t to deal with, and then some! Don't forget, we are all at different stages in life and you need to make sure to listen to your gut instinct so you know what will be beneficial for YOU. Organising can be stressful as well as fun but with a little patience, dedication and self-belief, you can definitely do it! Good luck.