Getting Organized in Time and Space

Feeling like you have an organizational handle on your use of time and space is a great way to reduce stress and lead to more effective studying.

Organizing your Space

Some people have no problem studying and feeling organized even if their space is a mess. Before you decide if that person is you, be honest with yourself for a quick sec. Pause and think. If you can find what you need quickly and without hassle, if a messy room doesn’t distract you, if you’re not making your roommates’ lives a living hell, if you’re not inadvertently providing food and habitat for all manner of vermin, then skip this part.

For the rest of us, having a relatively organized physical space can make a big difference.

For more ideas, read “7 ways to organize your study space for success” from UTEP Connect.

TIP: If you’re healthy don’t stay in bed all day!

Organize Your Classes

Check your course syllabi to find out what each instructor is offering and expecting in terms of online communication.

  • Will class be held live? Will it be recorded and available later? Will there be opportunities for live discussions or chats?
  • Find out what virtual opportunities there are for help in the class. For example, virtual office hours, virtual TA sessions, and so forth.
  • Take advantage of the LSC’s programs, which will continue virtually. We will still have drop-in peer tutoring, supplemental courses, and consultations! Updated schedules and instructions to access support can be found in the Announcements section of the LSC homepage.

So many things are changing! You may find this period of time a little less disorienting if you can keep track of the changes for each of your classes. Here’s an example:

Organize your Time and Create Structure

The prospect of a whole bunch of unstructured time might leave you filled with excitement, or dread, (maybe a combination?), and/or a million other feelings. Creating and sticking to a routine will help make this away-from-campus-time optimally functional. Setting a “work-day” schedule for yourself can help provide structure and keep you motivated.

Many students find that LSC’s simple weekly planner is useful. In COVID-19 times, it might help to color code the different types of activities you’ll be doing throughout the week: video lectures, on-line office hours, remote study group meetings, reading/studying on your own, breaks to chat with friends, etc.

Like always, you’ll be more productive if you can get some exercise, and don’t forget that it’s effective to break up your day so you’re not doing just one thing for hours at a time.

Here’s an example of a daily schedule, color-coded by types of activities (self-care, study tasks, and classes).

TIP: Change out of your pajamas!

Check out the following videos on “Time Management for Online Learning”:

For tips and strategies for families:

For Families: How to Support Students’ Remote Learning.

For useful information, go to the Cornell COVID-19 updates page

Many of these tips are adapted from the Center for Academic Innovation at the University of Michigan, the Academic Resource Center at Duke University and Academic Support for Learning and Advancement at Northwestern—thank you to our colleagues for generously sharing their resources.

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