A new semester is a great time to try some new habits for staying organized and on top of your schoolwork. Color coding is a great tool to help manage a wide variety of aspects of your life — especially when it comes to college. Whether your New Year’s resolution is to keep your schoolwork in order or you’re simply looking to add a pop of color to your life, follow a few of these color-coded tips and tricks to get a head start on the winter semester.
Ever get to class and realize you have the wrong binder, folder or notebook, leaving that important paper that was due today behind in your room? Many of us have made this mistake — especially when all of our school supplies are the same color. Rather than picking up every black folder or yellow notebook at the office supply store, try to assign a color to each class. That way, you’ll be able to see and associate assignments with a specific color, and grab it without having to look inside. Plus, Canvas lets you change the colors of your classes on your dashboard, which you can assign to match your supplies.
Sure, we all know how to use a highlighter — but why stop at just yellow? Color coding can help you organize notes and prioritize information if done correctly and in a manner that helps you. One way to color code your notes is by ranking information: highlighting the most crucial information in one color, important notes in another and so forth until you don’t have to highlight some text at all. Or, you can customize your technique to the class. Depending on the content you’re studying, you can assign different aspects of different colors, such as formulas, theories, definitions, references, etc.
Checking everything off of your daily to-do list and finally getting some time to relax is one of the best feelings unless you find that assignments keep getting pushed back every day. If you’re finding that you have issues prioritizing your tasks, try making a color system to let you know what absolutely has to be done. Depending on the assignment, this can look like highlighting the task in green, yellow and then red as you get closer to the date. If it’s something you’ll be working on for multiple days, having the visual warning to let you know you’re getting close to your deadline can help you stay motivated.
College students are usually no stranger to a jam-packed schedule. From classes, work, extracurriculars and more, juggling everything you have to do in a day is no small feat. Unfortunately, having so much to do in a day can also lead to accidentally skipping or missing out on commitments. Instead of writing everything down on a sticky note or the last page of your notebook, try making one schedule, either online or in a spreadsheet, that helps you figure out when you need to be where. You can even print out a blank daily schedule, slide it in a clear plastic paper sleeve, and draw on it with a dry erase marker. Color code every category differently; that way, when quickly glancing at your schedule, you’ll know you absolutely can’t miss your 11 a.m. class, but might be able to skip an optional event afterward if you need to. Consider even scheduling yourself some free time to help decompress.
Photo: C. Noelle