Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Getting Over your Winter Blues

It is always around late January that my winter blues really begin to set in. This is the time of the year when temperatures drop to their lowest, I forget what the color green actually looks like, and I start wishing that I had invested in some snow tires instead of that designer coat. So here are some ideas that I am going to try to get over my winter blues.

Start spring cleaning early. I often feel home-bound during winter and this seems like a good way to make my home feel more enjoyable. While unfortunately I can't find my garden beds under the inches of snow covering them, I can still prepare the interior of my house for spring by doing some deep cleaning and organizing! This will give me more time to enjoy the good weather when it comes around too. And at the very least, all that cleaning will warm me up.

Buy spring scents. Just last week I bought a new spring-scented reed-diffuser from Pier 1 called "Pink Champagne." It's amazing how such a little thing can brighten my mood! It's time to put away the Balsam and Cedar scents in exchange for lighter flowery scents. I can guarantee you this will make you feel like spring is just around the corner.

Countdown to spring. Whether on a white board in your dorm, a sticky note on your calendar, a note on your computer desktop, or within your planner, start writing down how many days until spring officially begins!

Or just embrace the dead of winter. If you're like me, living in the snowy mitten of Michigan, you know there is no escaping winter without taking a 3 month long trip. So maybe it's time we just embrace it. Make it fun by putting together cute winter outfits. Make a warm cup of chai tea, grab a good book, and have a cozy rest of your winter.

How do you survive winter? Or do you enjoy it? Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

College: Organizing for the Semester

Organization in college is a necessity for success. Due dates, application dates, exams, and appointments are constantly being thrown your way during the semester. Notes get shuffled together and are not always written neatly or in a comprehensible order. Homework is given on a separate site for each course. It is easy to lose track of all this important information if you don't have a system put in place, so now is the time to get it started while the semester is still fresh!

These are the ways in which I stay organized:

  • Keep a planner. This may be the most important tool you can have to stay organized. Write down every due date, even dates subject to change and dates for minor assignments. These are the dates that often slip from your attention. I like to keep my planner color coordinated so I can see my priorities at a glance. 

  • Write out your to-do list. I have multiple to-do lists: a daily one, a weekly homework one, and running one sorted by priorities. I keep my daily to-do list on One Note because I can access it from my computer or my cell phone. My weekly homework to-do list is clipped within my planner. My running priority to-do list is taped on my wall above my desk. This list contains due-dates for applications, emails that need to be sent, appointments, and other miscellaneous items. I update all of these lists regularly to keep them from becoming cluttered with items I have already completed and adding new to-dos.

  • Binder with dividers. For my college classes I use only one binder. This is because I am usually in a rush in the morning (I have to make it to my 7 AM calc class!) and am likely to grab the wrong binder if I had more than one. To keep it organized, I have pocketed dividers. These, of course, are color coordinated as well. My binder quickly becomes overfilled with papers from my classes, so every Sunday night I remove unnecessary papers and hole-punch and insert papers I may still need. THIS IS IMPORTANT: do NOT throw any papers away until you receive your final grade! Keep a second binder in your room to store papers that you don't need in your class binder. It is important to keep all graded papers in case a score is incorrectly recorded, and it is smart to save all your notes until the end of the course for studying for the final.
If you have any tricks for staying organized throughout the semester, leave a comment below!

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