Autumn Organization: Give Your Brain a Break

In organization on September 10, 2009 at 10:15 am


I don’t trust my memory. My brain, it seems, was not meant to store the database of upcoming events, assignments, phone calls, errands, and projects — and even if it was, I’m not very good at remembering stuff. When I try, I end up awake late at night, thinking about something I might have promised to email a student or whether I need to buy milk or whether I should schedule bicycle repairs.  Whenever this happens to me, I know that I’ve been trying to remember too much. I grab a sheet of paper, and I write all that stuff down. My insomnia usually disappears immediately.

In 2007, Michael Condouris coined the term WSD as a new organizational system designed around a simple idea: Write Sh*t Down.  The idea, so simply stated, is to write something down to remember it later. Easy, right? It turns out that it’s a useful way to get organized — better than running out to buy a binder-organizer or super fancy software to keep all your class notes in order.

Try it. Write down your dentist appointment, the date your visa needs updating, the flight information you need to check on for your visit home. Write down what your teacher says about the test next week. Write down if you need to buy toothpaste next time you’re at the store. Write everything down. Put these notes in the same spot every day, and look at them every so often. Then forget about it, and keep your memory free for stuff that you really should try to remember: what will be on the midterm or new vocabulary. If you do this, I’m guessing you’ll be a lot more organized than you were before, no matter how messy your folders or notebooks look.

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For more information on the idea of being organized by writing stuff down, check out others who swear by the art of writing things down, bloggers at Unclutterer.

Also, here is a list of previous posts that might help, as you work on establishing an organizational system for the start of the year:

Using a Syllabus Wisely

Hate Taking Notes? Try These Tools

Links to Help you Start the School Year

Super Cool Organizational Tool

Getting Ready for Fall: Using a Calendar

Getting Some Kind of Organizational System


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