Back when school was in-person, teachers gave us tons of worksheets, notes, and homework that we needed to keep with us until the due dates. Crumpled papers with looming deadlines would get lost in our backpacks and magically resurface in the summer. Therefore, as we went through middle school, most of us were forced to find an organization method that worked for us.
For those of us who were successful in finding one, it may have worked brilliantly. However, we never foresaw that a pandemic would soon plague us, and things would be completely different then.
Now that we are all learning online, we need brand new organization systems. We may not have physical papers; instead, we have files and pictures scattered all over Google Drive. And the looming deadlines… that part hasn’t changed one bit.
So how do you stay organized as a student learning online? I have found 5 resources that aid you in doing so:
1. Google Sheets
I use Google Sheets for numerous things, such as planning out my study schedule and making lessons for students I tutor over Zoom. You can use the fill-color, cell merging, and other tools to make the spreadsheet look neater and more aesthetic. If you need an example of how to use Google Sheets to make schedules, see the below picture.
If you’re unsure how to create schedules with Google Sheets, this link is pretty helpful.
2. Toggl Track (app)
Toggl Track is an app that allows you to track the amount of time you spend on activities that you do. It is similar to a stopwatch in the way it requires you to click a play button when you start doing the activity and a stop button when you finish. However, it stores this information and makes pie charts and bar graphs out of it so that you can really see how much time you spend on each activity. This is extremely helpful if you get distracted easily because often you don’t realize that you take much more time than you should to complete certain tasks. For example, I started writing this article an hour ago, but I’ve only been writing for ten minutes. For the other fifty minutes, I was “researching,” AKA getting distracted.
Also, tracking your work time is key to managing your time better; if you know where all your time goes, you can prioritize and balance out your schedule more effectively.
This is how Toggl Track’s interface looks:
Unlike other resources, Todoist is both an app and a website, so you don’t need to install anything on your phone. Because I always work on my laptop, I prefer using a website for organization purposes.
Apart from this, Todoist has many cool features:
You can add subtasks within tasks, then subtasks within those subtasks, and then more subtasks within those subsubtasks… you get what I mean. Here is a visual representation of this feature:
You can add tasks to task boards, which act like different sections in a binder. It’s really up to you how you organize these sections; you can have one board for each subject, different boards for different projects you’re working on, or something else entirely. Each board can be further divided into sections. This feature is useful because it allows you to separate your tasks and not have them all clustered in one space. Here is a picture of a board I created:
Todoist has several other features as well; click this link for more info.
4. Zenkit To Do
Zenkit To Do is similar to Todoist because it also has both an app and a website. What I like the most about this application is that you can set due dates (for your tasks) that are separate from the reminder dates. For example, if I have an assignment due on Tuesday, I can set a separate reminder for Monday.
Aside from that, you can:
Change the background. Zenkit has many aesthetic background pictures to choose from in case you’re bored of how your dashboard looks.
Sort the tasks by the due date, title (alphabetical order), or the date you created the task.
Control which devices get notifications and which don’t (if you have the app installed on other devices).
5. Keep Notes
Keep Notes is phenomenal because it functions as a note, doodle, and reminder app all in one. Additionally, it is associated with your Google account, so you don’t have to sign in to a separate account to access it. Like the previous 2 applications, it is available on desktops and phones.
It allows you to create a checklist, bullet point list, and regular notes.
You can change the color of each note in order to prioritize your tasks (for example, you could make top priority tasks red, medium priority tasks blue, and low priority tasks green).
Its reminder service operates like any other such service; you pick a date, time, and location for the reminder and set how often it should repeat.
You can pin important notes to the top of the screen.
I’ll admit that finding a good organization system is a trial-and-error process, especially because everybody has different preferences and priorities. However, I can say from firsthand experience that the above resources are efficient in aiding you with time management and keeping you organized. Think of them as mini-virtual-assistants; always here to remind you of your upcoming assignments, chores, and all the other activities that fill your schedule up.
I hope this list facilitated your method-picking process, and thank you for reading this post!