Being human is hard. Here are some organizational tools you can use to make the practical side of things easier, even if you’re a slob at heart (like me). As a student and a sick person, my prefrontal cortex is mainly taxed with 1) getting my ass to pass classes and 2) managing health-related things, so you’ll find that most of my printables are designed with these goals in mind.
One-Week Habit Tracker
This page-per-week tracker will help you establish good habits and (gasp) follow through with them. There’s space for both daily and weekly necessities. Use it to log simple tasks like making your bed– you’ll feel better when you do it!– and grander commitments, like working consistently on a project. There’s even a corner for rewards.
You can probably guess how this works from my sample, but I’ll explain anyway. The big ol’ blue grid is for daily tasks, and the little green table is for weekly tasks. Throw down some habits in the leftmost columns and enjoy the satisfaction of crossing out/checking/stickering a box when a task is complete. (On the sample, I put X’s in some of the boxes because I don’t need to perform certain tasks every day.) If you want to sum up your victories, there’s a column for that. I recommend giving yourself a minor reward plan. I earn 50 cents at the thrift store for each perfect row, and there’s this $3.99 sweater that I want to put on my body. Therefore, I make my bed. Aren’t we humans strange?
A final tip: As you can see, I have some repeating tasks, because (for some stupid reason) I’m apparently supposed to brush my teeth more than once daily. It helps to section off portions of the blue grid to indicate morning and evening tasks.
Give this tracker a whirl. Your prefrontal cortex will thank you.
2. Short Response Sidekick Sheet
In college, there are two main kinds of writing assignments: Papers, and not-exactly-papers. Here is a sheet to tackle the elusive “short” or “informal” response, where you have to give detailed information but also pretend you didn’t try that much, since trying is for real papers. Truth be told, I put a lot of thought into short responses, and breaking up the process into clear steps has helped me work more efficiently. Even when it’s sometimes easier to think in a tangle, it’s good to sort thoughts into categories for later use. This sheet has space for sources, notes, an outline, and the beginning of a draft. Writing out my first few sentences by hand always jogs the verbal noggin. I’ll often just handwrite the whole thing, as you can see in the sample below. (I don’t expect you to be that crazy.)
Before you fill up the draft section, make sure to spend an appropriate amount of time gazing at the super subtle secret Soft One.