A “typical” Harvard student is busy and bounces from one activity to another. Events are back-to-back, overlapping, with locations and times changing at will.
No one likes waiting on someone who’s late for a meeting. So, don’t be that girl or boy.
Here are some tips on how to keep organized.
1) Google calendar
Due to the lameness of the Harvard email system, chances are you’ll sign up for Gmail. This means, you’ll have access to Google Calendar, the ultimate organization system for the chronically busy.
Google calendar allows you to label different events, so you can have labels for extracurriculars, classes, office hours, and so on. This allows you to view different labels on your classes (I usually keep my office hours label hidden unless I need it). It also allows you to share different calendar labels with others — very useful for keeping others in the loop for an organization.
The beauty of Google calendar is that you can pull it up on any computer on campus. Convenient, if you have a short term memory like me.
At the risk of sounding like a spokesperson for Google, I’m going to recommend Gmail as a component of your organization system. Chances are, people will tell you to do things by certain times. Let them know to send you an email to your Gmail account.
You can label different messages, star important ones, and keep on top of all of your obligations and responsibilities.
The trick to managing Gmail is “archiving” — don’t be like me, with an Inbox of 10,000 messages.
A pen and paper agenda is necessary for some. It helps for longer term visualizations. It’s also useful for when you’re planning events and don’t have your laptop on hand to let others know that a certain weekend won’t be so hot because you have two midterms the following week.
This is also helpful for jotting down the two unexpected homework assignments you have to do for the next day in Chinese class.
If you’re going to a meeting, bring a laptop. Take notes. You’ll probably be assigned things to do, and you want to be sure to remember what they are.
While the working world may not be that big a fan of laptops, the collegiate world is.
5) Let others know if you might be late
Harvard students are notoriously independent and used to individual achievements. However, you should still respect people’s time, especially during meetings. If you’re going to be running from one event to another and your participation is important in both, let the coordinators know you’re going to have to leave earlier and arrive slightly late.
It’s a good courtesy, plain and simple.
6) To Do List?
For a To Do List web application, check out this post.