Let’s face it—PR students these days are busy people. Keeping track of our classes, extracurricular activities, and social calendars is a balancing act. Organization is essential in the public relations field. Though maintaining order is not something that comes naturally to everyone, thankfully there are many tools to help. Here are a few:
1. Write everything down.
Our teachers have been saying it since second grade, and they weren’t wrong: taking handwritten notes helps you remember information more effectively. Write down what you have to do, and cross out when you’ve done it. If you’re more of a visual learner, use concept maps or spatial organization to keep tasks and appointments in line.
2. Buy a planner that you like.
I never loved using planners until I got one from Kate Spade. She taught me how valuable a blank little book could be. Getting a planner that matches your personal brand encourages you to write things down, and it gives you a place to consolidate all your handwritten to do lists. There is nothing more satisfying than crossing off all of the day’s tasks in your planner. Not a Kate Spade kind of girl (or guy)? Passion Planner is another of my favorites, or you can even customize your own through the Erin Condren brand. You can also find a variety of inexpensive planners at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx.
3. Color code.
The easiest way to organize is to develop a rigid color-coding system. When I look at my planner and see a bunch of tasks highlighted in yellow, I know that I have a lot of homework. If I see something highlighted in green, it means I have an ImPRessions meeting. Being able to quickly look at a list and form an idea of what you need to do saves time and effort.
4. Utilize the cloud.
The cloud makes it easy to sync your to do lists, calendars and reminders on all your devices, so wherever you turn there is a reminder of your to do list. The Reminders app on iOS is my saving grace. You can set alerts for times or when you leave or arrive at a location, which is incredibly helpful especially if you’re worried about forgetting something.
5. Use one notebook for each day.
I hate carrying a million things to class with me. Like many of my fellow PR students, I leave in at 10 in the morning and don’t return home until 10 at night, so either have to pack my entire life into my bag, or I have to consolidate somehow. I chose the latter. I bought the Five Star refillable notebooks that you can add paper, folders and dividers to, and I designated one for my Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes and one for my Tuesday/Thursday classes. That way, I can grab one notebook when I leave and be set for the entire day.
Staying organized isn’t easy, but these tools can help you get there. As we head into the school year, I’m thinking more and more about getting my life in order. What’s your favorite organizational tool?