‘Start by making your bed’: How to get organised

17 Jan 2022
By Daniel M, Student at UCFB Wembley

Knowing how to get organised at university is hard, especially in such an unfamiliar environment.

Starting university was a shock to my system. It was the first time I had to rely on myself to get things done. I travelled from north Lancashire to central London, which meant any close friends or relatives I had were 200 miles away. The only support I could get was over the phone.

I started finding it hard to balance everything. I couldn’t manage my social life well, and I would end up struggling with my assignment deadlines as I failed to manage my personal responsibilities.

I remember telling this to my dad when I called him one evening. I told him how much I was struggling to handle everything and how unorganised I'd become. His advice was to take things in small steps, because if I tried to change things all at once, I would crumble. ‘Do it all in small bunches so that it doesn’t become overwhelming’, he said.

So, that’s what I did.

First thing I decided to do was make my bed and tidy my room as soon as I woke up. It wasn’t a massive leap, but as my dad said, I had to start with small steps.

Plus, I’d watched a speech by a Navy Admiral William H. Mcraven, who says ‘if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.’

According to William, making your bed every morning will give you a small sense of pride as you’ve accomplished the first task of the day, which will then encourage you to do another task. He also says that making your bed in the morning will reinforce the fact that it’s the small acts in life that make an impact.

Using his advice, I saw myself feeling more energised to complete tasks within the day, and that sense of being organised came into fruition.

This helped me gain a sense of motivation, and I started to feel in control of my workload, social life, and responsibilities. This newfound motivation then helped me develop and stick to a 3-step approach to managing my workload, which I’ve outlined below.

First, you want to create a study schedule.

This will ensure you’re getting enough study time for your exams and assignments. But remember - small steps. If you create a schedule where you go from not studying at all, to trying to study 4 hours a day, it’s unrealistic and you’ll give up before you’ve started. I began with 2 hours of study on both Monday and Wednesday. I then moved up gradually to scheduling 8 hours of study a week.

Second, stay optimistic.

If you don’t have confidence in your work, you will struggle to study and achieve the marks you want. So if you find yourself feeling negative about your abilities or work, take a step back, breathe and start again with a fresh mind.

Third, practice good time management.

Be realistic about how long things take to complete, and try not to underestimate the importance of things like checking references and proofreading - this takes time, and often requires a break in-between to go away and return with fresh eyes. From personal experience, bad time management is what’s caused me the most stress.

To finish up, if you don’t know where to start with getting organised, start by making your bed first thing in the morning. You’ll soon notice how much of a knock-on effect it’ll have in other areas of your life.

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I am a sports journalist student from Burnley currently residing in London. I'm a massive fan of travelling and anything regarding sports.