Quick tips to stay organized

Daily reporter Lesa Wicks, senior in event management, displays her organized planner. 

Sierra Hoeger


Whether a student prefers to have their classes color-coded and carefully displayed in a planner or to keep track of a to-do list in the back of their head, there are several different ways students can organize and stay on top of their day-to-day duties.

Specific apps, such as Skoller and StudyBlue, not only offer organized formats to help students live a chaos-free life, but also provide users with study tools and tips.

Apps are just one way to help students organize and keep track of their hectic lives. Others prefer the old-fashioned way, and write out everything in a planner. 

“My main tool that I use to help me stay organized is my planner,” said Bailey Wanders, a sophomore in computer engineering. “At the beginning of each week, I write down all my assignments for the week and what I plan to do each day. Seeing everything divided up like this helps me from feeling too overwhelmed with everything I have to get done.”

At the beginning of each school year, craft stores, department stores and bookstores alike advertise how to create a cute and functional planner. To lure in more students, brands also market stickers, pens, markers and other additions to their line of planners.

Michaels, a craft store, sells the brand Heidi Swapp. Heidi Swapp planners are notorious for being “memory planners,” including editions where the customer can put polaroid pictures, ticket stubs, letters, and just about anything else in their planner. As far as accessories go, Heidi Swapp has Washi tape, foils, stickers and almost everything else a crafter could want to enhance the quality of their planner.

Skoller is a free app that, once a user uploads their syllabus for classes, organizes course work, grades and provides students with an online community of students in their same classes to facilitate help, according to the Skoller website.

Skoller partnered with Iowa State’s chapter of Alpha Omicron PI (AOII), Iota Sigma and others nationwide to launch the app and to help raise money for their philanthropy.

“I don’t use any online tools to help me stay organized, although I know there are a lot of them out there,” Wanders said. “I think if I typed [assignments] out, I would be less likely to remember them and more likely to get distracted by other things on my phone and laptop.” 

StudyBlue is essentially the app version of Quizlet, allowing students to create flashcards and upload other test or class material to help students prepare for exams.

“Some of the disadvantages of my planner is that sometimes I forget to take it with me during the day,” Wanders said. “Then I have trouble remembering what I was going to do that day. But, I always have my phone and laptop with me throughout the day, so a digital planner may be more convenient.”