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How to become a note-taking and task management pro

Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

Many students going into their first year of university frequently wonder what the best way of organizing their university tasks might be, or if there are any well-trodden strategies to enhance their note-taking abilities. If you find yourself ridden with similar questions, this article will thoroughly explain everything you need to know about organizing your life and your notes before you set foot on campus.

It needs to be recognized that becoming a more organized individual tends to be difficult for students because it requires them to establish new practices in their lives. However, this should not be discouraging, since there are great benefits that come along with embracing better time management and organization strategies, such as increased productivity and a higher likelihood of meeting deadlines.

Take a deep breath, and feel free to employ the tips outlined below to begin organizing your life, university tasks and notes. Remember also to take the most sustainable organizational approach for your mental health needs; what works for some may not work for others, and that’s OK.

Tip 1: Get a planner!

The most valuable tool for transitioning from a chaos-ridden life to a more balanced student experience is a student planner/agenda. Most, if not all, university students have incredibly tight schedules, and keeping track of multiple courses and commitments is no easy task. For this particular reason, using organizational resources like planners or online programs can be extraordinarily life-changing for busy students. 

Before you go out and splurge on a student planner, you have to figure out if you prefer writing down your tasks on paper or through digital methods.

If you prefer paper agendas for keeping track of your tasks, these have the added benefit of improving concentration and helping you better remember the tasks you wrote down.

 A few options available for those who favour paper agendas include the weekly-monthly planners with set designs and templates or a blank bullet journal that can be designed from scratch to accommodate your lifestyle and creativity. 

If you choose to manage your responsibilities digitally, you can take advantage of software such as Google Calendar or online planners designed for university students. For instance, the Amethyst & Garnet Student Planner is a great choice that can help you track your assignments, projects, and overall schedule to increaseproductivity.

Tip 2: Use your planner for everything

You heard correctly, everything.

Your class schedule, work schedule, due dates, gym schedule and any other to-do that you might forget to complete unless you write a reminder should all go into your planner.

For those who are not used to doing that, it might seem a little tedious until you get the hang of it. Building the habit of jotting your responsibilities in your planner is incredibly advantageous because it will help you visualize the amount of time you will dedicate to university, work or student organizations. Once you understand your commitments on your weekly schedule, it will be much easier to designate time for socializing with friends, while being confident that you will have time to tend to your assignments.

Tip 3: Note-taking like a pro

After organizing your daily life with the help of a planner, you will likely

want your class notes to reflect the same degree of organization and usefulness as your student planner. Similarly, you should examine once more if a digital note-taking software such as Notion would be most convenient for you, or if you would prefer to bring out your pens and highlighters during lecture to take notes that’s fine as well.

Single-handedly, the key to writing exceptional notes for your courses is getting rid of distractions as much as possible. For instance, if you bring your laptop to your lectures make sure that the only tab open is the one you are using for your notes, and if possible, deactivate push notifications to avoid getting side-tracked. Likewise, if you bring a notebook or binder to class, silence your phone and put it away to avoid doom-scrolling on social media during class.

Similarly, colour coding and adding personalized symbols on one’s notes is highly recommended, for a better understanding of the material.

For instance, you could highlight relevant things with a green highlighter, and star symbol the concepts that need more clarification. It might sound odd, but having visually pleasing notes that simultaneously help you in your revising process can completely change the way you study and decrease the time you spend doing so. 

Managing the commitments that come along with being a university student shouldn’t leave you feeling depleted and unmotivated at the end of the day. Quite the opposite. You should aim to feel empowered with the help of the correct organizational techniques, such as time management with a student agenda, or even colour-coding for a heightened note-taking experience. 

Once you find what works best for your educational needs, managing all your responsibilities will feel like a walk through the park.

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