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Strategies for Organizing Academics While at Home

Reducing Distractions

  • Start with a clean workspace
  • Create a To-Do List
  • Check e-mail infrequently (e.g. 3 times/day)
  • Turn on "Out of Office" notification (also helpful if balancing a job)
  • Turn off app notifications (may identify on calendar when to check notifications from school)
  • Silence cell-phone during work times or hide phone
  • Set up "free times" where you are able to freely "roam" Youtube/apps/news
  • Close out the 20 tabs

Physical Organization

  • Create a workspace (clean surface that does not face something distracting)
  • A table may be helpful
  • Do you need background noise? Try https://coffitivity.com/
  • Navigating and managing the new learning management systems

Mental Organization

Time Management

  • How much time do I have? How much time will it take? 
  • Enter all new assignments into the calendar for each class (if it's not on the calendar, it does not exist)
  • Enter class times; you may be in a different time zone than your professor

Task Management

  • What do I have to do? When do I have to get it done?
  • Create daily and weekly To-Do Lists
    • What do I have to get done today? When do I have to do it?
    • What do I have to get done by Friday? When do I have to do it? 
  • Maybe these tasks are on your calendar or in a separate notebook 
  • Identify what is negotiable, and what is not
    • Which tasks can be done on a different day, and which need to be done today?

Electronic Organization

  • How have you set up your files on your computer for your online learning?

  • Do you download the docs right away? Does everything get saved to the desktop?

  • Do you have a "tree" system (e.g. folder for course; within the course have 2 folders for the lab and class; within the lab folder have folders for papers, handouts, lab assignments?)

    • How are the files by course going to be organized?

  • Create automatic places where files are stored
  • Create a standard way of naming files (e.g. last revised date at end of file name)

App Resource for Class Organization 

  • Notability
    • There is a cost for the app
    • Can record classes and sync with written notes
    • Developing cues so a student does not have to listen to the whole class again
      • Such as: stepped away, rewind here, I have no idea what they are talking about, or simply "?"
  • Notability syncs writing with the audio that is being played at that moment
    • Allows for import of PowerPoint, pdfs, word docs...you can add pages and take notes while listening to the lecture...amazing (in my opinion).
  • Audio, ppt, and notes are then sync’d
  • Can develop folders per subject to maintain course organization


*Developed based on information from Michelle Mullen , MS, CRC, CPRP, PhD Candidate Webinar March 25, 2020