Best Organizational Tip For Surviving Nursing School

  1. I am exceedingly disorganized. I just am. My house is disorganized, my car is a mess, and my kitchen/laundry area resemble tornado alley in spring.

    In getting my pre-requisites done, it was not a problem. In other careers, it was not a problem. In both cases, I was able to 'work around' things, so I never got organized. This has affected me this semester, both because I couldn't find things, and because it just bugged me. So over Christmas break, I am going to try to get - and stay - organized. But how to do it??

    I was thinking that a thread with BEST organizational tips would help. Because I am not as unique as I like to think I am, maybe this thread would help others, I suspect others are in the same muddle as I maybe this thread will help everyone.

    Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing your hints, helps, tips, and suggestions...

    Lovin Learning
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    About LovingLearning

    Joined: Nov '08; Posts: 102; Likes: 143


  3. by   CuriousMe
    I am also a naturally disorganized person. I was that kid whose grade school report cards repeatedly said "She would lose her head if it wasn't attached to her neck." So I know what you mean.

    As this trait obviously doesn't work well for nursing school. What I did this past term that worked pretty well is I put everything (and I do mean everything) I do in Outlook. Every reading assignment, project, study block everything was in Outlook by the end of week 2.

    The appointments were put in the Calendar section and the various kinds of assignments were put in as tasks. I then put the day I wanted to do the assignment (or piece of assignment) as the start day and the day it was due as the due date. This meant that every morning at 8:00am a list for the day would pop up on my computer about what I needed to do that day. I also bought a Palm....the Palm talks to the Outlook, so everything that is on my Palm is in my Outlook and vice versa. This way, I have my calendar and To Do list in my pocket even if my laptop isn't with me.

    All the above was fine....but it didn't help with the never-ending supply of paper and hand-outs we need to download and print. I'm lousy with managing, I work hard to have as little of it as possible. I use a tablet convertible computer, so I don't have to print out all the handouts for lab, I just use them on my tablet. I organize the handouts in a folder for each week and that way can find them pretty easily.

    Hope some of this helps out some.

  4. by   RN2010LW
    I'm glad that you realize the organization is a key factor. I am starting my second semester in January and finished my first with B's(not the A's I hoped for, but still ok) The first thing you need to do is make a space in your home, whether it be a room or a spot on a counter, where you keep all your school things. You walk in the house and put your school stuff there. I had to go and buy a new book case for my study room for all my nursing books but thats not always needed. Then What I did was went and got a HUGE binder for each class. Our classes have units with a few chapers in each unit, I put dividers(about 25-30 for each) and divided each syllabus up that way. I make sure to put all of my stuff in the binders in class. I keep a hole punch in my bag for hand outs and such. If I don't put it away....I WILL loose it. Also instead of one of thoes little bags for my pens, I got a school box (like the kids use) its much easier and it fits alot more. I am interested to see what others do as well.
  5. by   MaineEMT2RN
    Regarding school organization, BeautifulDisaster does what I do. Have a system to manage all the paperwork (binders, dividers) and use it religiously EVERY day. Do your school work in one spot in your home so your things aren't likely to be spread all over. Use some sort of calendar system (I use iCal on my laptop and it syncs to my PDA so it's always with me and current) and literally schedule all important things and be specific (everything on your syllabus, study time, grocery shopping, housework, time with family, work - I even schedule sleep because I work weekend nights!). To keep life fairly sane, also schedule time to maintain your space.

    During break I do come monster cooking so I have a freezer full of meals that can be on the table quickly and without added trips to the store, and I also do some significant stocking up of basics (canned goods, frozen veggies, toilet paper, trash bags, etc.) to keep those extra trips to the store to a minimum. Who has time during the semester?

    Use this break to get your home really in order, get rid of all unnecessary stuff (we spend a ton of time maintaining useless stuff), and make sure you have everything you need ready and available and that everything has a place. Practice OHIO (only handle it once). If you pick something up, put it where it needs to go right then and there - never ever put anything down anyplace else. Is it trash? Is is a book from your bookshelf? Dirty dishes, laundry - OHIO applies to everything in your home (and your car :-).

    This one rule has made me appear quite organized to the unsuspecting eye. Little do they know.
  6. by   mybrowneyedgirl
    I agree about keeping one set space for all your school things. A detailed wall calendar is great too.

    BUT - I really think it would help if you took this break time to really clean and organize all the main areas of you home. Kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living room. For me, if my house is unorganized, so it my head and it drives me insane. So that's what I've been doing on this break. I deep cleaned by entire basement, my bathroom and my kitchen and bedroom so far.

    Good luck to you.
  7. by   Nurse_Diane
    Don't get behind on your reading assignments!!

    It's nearly impossible to get caught back up if that happens.

    Best of luck,
  8. by   LovingLearning
    I really like this!! I can't afford a PDA, but I have one of those BIG 15 minute interval calendars for next semester. I have already started using it...

    OHIO! That's a brilliant rule. I can do that!

    And yes, this break is going to be used deep cleaning...I've already scheduled a carpet cleaning service to come in the week before school starts....but I plan on going through absolutely everything, and dealing with what I don't need but still have around, and donating a ton of clothing I will simply never wear again. I LOVE the idea of doing a lot of cooking and putting it into the freezer. I just don't have the energy between school, studying, and family to cook dinner every night, and I know my diet suffered horribly. I didn't put on weight, but I also didn't eat decently (crackers and cheese for dinner was a regular meal not good...!)

    As for school stuff; I already have a bookshelf dedicated to the books and notebooks for school...but that paper pile is scary and utterly disorganized. So I will spend some time at the store getting decent binders (one for each class, and one for clinicals), and getting set up for an easier access system and a more organized plan. And there will be a ton of boxes moved into the garage.

    Thanks, everyone. I know I'll never have a Martha Stewart house, but still...I can be far more organized and tidy than I have been.

    Any other tips??

    Lovin' Learning
  9. by   back2thebooks
    Call me old fashioned, but I like managing my schedule on paper. I use the Franklin-Covey system. Many years ago, while working for a major company, they paid for us to do the Franklin-Covey course, which teaches you, in detail, how to prioritize. For me, prioritizing is so important. You could easily convert this system to your PDA, Outlook, etc. (or they even have the Franklin-Covey software you can download to your device).

    As far as the home...I'm a list maker. Something about seeing a big fat sharpie line across a former "to do" makes me feel really great. With that great feeling comes motivation to keep going and do more. Once you become organized, it's much easier to stay that way. It will likely only take a spring or fall cleaning from there on out to weed out missed items. I also dedicate certain days of the week for certain things (clean bathrooms on Saturday, mop on Mon and Thurs--call me OCD) LOL

    I do something similar to OHIO---my motto is if it takes less than 1 minute to put it in its place, do it. If it takes more than 1 minute (putting the kids' laundry away, for instance)--I put it in a dedicated spot--the stairs for that task--and I make sure I take it upstairs the next time I head up there.

    There are lots of great books out there about effective time management. That's really where it begins for me.
  10. by   Meriwhen
    My house is a mess, my office is a mess (though my school stuff is all together and I know where everything is), and I can't plan my life in 15 minute increments. And I can live with all of that just fine.

    I do two things to stay organized:

    1. I use those large plastic document envelopes: one for each class. All notes, handouts, articles, etc. go in it, and it's all kept together. When the class is over, the envelope is put in my storage box out of the way, and I get a new envelope for the next class.

    2. I downloaded a To-Do widget for my computer's desktop. It's basically the same as a paper-and-pen To-Do list. I put down when every single thing is due for class, other important class dates, other things to do. I spend so much time at my computer so I'm continually reminded of what I have to do and when it's due.

    How I get those things done...well that I can't plan on a calendar because I can't/don't micromanage my schedule: I can't say I'll spend X hours a day on it or work on it from 3-6pm because life is unpredictable--I have a toddler. But I know that if I'm continually reminded that something is due in several weeks, I'll start working on it long before then. And so far, doing this hasn't failed me (or should it be I haven't failed myself?).
  11. by   back2thebooks
    Quote from Meriwhen
    I can't say I'll spend X hours a day on it or work on it from 3-6pm because life is unpredictable--I have a toddler.
    Is your toddler on a schedule? I have a 22 month old and a just turned 4 year old--oh, and a husband who travels about 50-60% of the time. I can say with almost 99% certainty which hours of the day I'll be doing what--unless of course one of them is sick. I think kids as well as us grown ups function much better on some type of schedule.
  12. by   Natingale
    im in the same boat

    i plan on investing on a trapper keeper
    some rings for those index cards

    maybe an accordian folder so I can store my old stuff, papers, handouts, labeled by focus

    thats all i have for now
  13. by   CBsMommy
    I can't have my house unorganized so I dedicate a spare room for all the extra stuff I have and just can't let go. I do have a dedicated place to put all of my schoolwork and I do schedule all of my assignments HOWEVER I do not put the date they are due, I put the date I need them done by (like a week prior if possible). That way I can schedule out some time each day or every other day to do part of the assignment and I never get behind. I too have a toddler and I can't schedule every 15 minutes of my life! I've tried and it's WAY too much for me! I also watch Clean House and Clean Sweep on TV and they always inspire me too! Good luck!
  14. by   Bpst486
    Use lots of 3 ring binders and divider tabs, make different sections for different things. homework, work to do, work to turn in, and use the pocket in the back for things "other"like handouts or graded papers? I suggest using the front pockets for the most important things so you can see it when you open it and not have to look for anything. Use 1 3 ring binder and 1 big notebook for each subject, and keep them with you always or alternate them around, maybe label them the days of the week with the subject? color coded? Just anything to catch your eye.
    Hope I don't sound like a broken record? haha.
    My little girl turns 4 in Feb, it's crazy with her running around:lol_hitti, and my husband, basically 4 as well. haha
    take care!