A Students Guide to Disorganisation

The academic year has just begun, and the ever present optimism of the new semester looms throughout the corridors. This year will be different to last year; the disorganisation of the previous few years will not be replicated this year. Instead this is the year that you will stay on top of your assignments, you’ll spend less time in the uni bar and you’ll actually remember to take a spare biro into that all important final exam. There’s new stationary in the bag, a new notepad to write new things in, and of course a new folder that will hold all the new important documents in.


This naturally lasts until the end of the day. It might only last until the end of the first lecture. Soon all the hope and promise of an organised year, vanishes as quickly as your new pen. Soon the mountain of paper work appears on your floor, and you’re right back where you said you didn’t want to be.

I’ve recently completed my degree, and despite three years of chaotic notes, all nighters and a lot of panicky emails to my lecturers, I managed to come out with a 2:1 at the end of it. I don’t believe that I could have reached the gold status of a first class honours degree if I was more organised, I do believe that I could have drastically reduced my stress levels if I had taken the time to start my assignments earlier. I’ve recently started a Certificate of Higher Education course, and have started it with an honest and open mind. Rather than planning on having an organised year, I’ve decided to carry on with my chaotic methods, but with a twist; this time I’m organising them.

This method requires you to essentially admit that you are prepared to put yourself through the stress of last minute deadlines and missing documents. This leads me onto my three top tips for organising your disorganisation.

1. Be realistic. If you’re naturally a disorganised/messy/’really cannot be bothered doing anything until I really have to’ person, then accept it. Once you’ve accepted it, you’ll be able to challenge it and find a method that means you can get your work done without increasing your stress levels.

2. A diary or a white board helps. Even if you just do one thing that you have to do, it’s one less thing for you to do at a later date. Write it down and complete one thing on your to do list a day, this means that you’re not having a mad panic when you realise you don’t have enough time to do everything.  I’ve got the ‘Do it Later Diary’ by Mark Asher, a diary that is made for the ‘creative procrastinator’. It has a doodle space, boxes to help you organise tasks based on their importance and also a weekly dose of procrastinator wisdom. Plus each month ends with a variety of tips that encourage procrastination. As long as you get you’re work done, then why not procrastinate for a little while.

3. One of my main downfalls is my insane amount of procrastination, especially when it comes to social networking. If Facebook and Twitter are your main distractions, then a website blocker will save you. These can easily be downloaded off the internet, and you can change them to cater for your own needs. You set a timer that allows you to spend a limited amount of time on certain websites, and if you can’t resist checking your Facebook, then there is the ‘Sudden Death Option’. This can only be deactivated once you’ve completed a typing challenge. Enter at your own peril, it’s ridiculously annoying to do.

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