Tips and Tricks: Self Management


Bryana Ayala

Sticky Mess A student is surrounded by sticky notes listing personal worries. Disorganization can cause stress in students as it overstimulates people and causes them to focus on the wrong things.

As someone who has a busy schedule, it’s easy to find myself surrounded by work that is halfway completed or forgotten about. Some people can get caught up in their work, and others end up being unorganized and disoriented. 

It’s not fair to fault an individual for not always being able to keep up with their work. SpringerLink claims that only 2.5 percent of people can multitask effectively. While the workload can’t always be shortened, people can start introducing healthy habits into their lives. Instead of letting the work overtake them , there are practical ways to organize and manage time  better. 

I’ve found myself searching for the right tips to keep myself efficient, but not everything worked for me. The idea of a planner seemed overwhelming, sticky notes became too messy and lists were unorganized. In the sea of tips and tricks, there are six overall helpful tips that I use on a daily basis to keep myself organized and on top of things.

Organizational apps

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One of the best decisions of my life was to look over my friend’s shoulder during a drama club meeting. I saw a cute cartoon penguin along with some basic text boxes listed as ‘drink water’ and ‘clean room.’  My curiosity piqued, and I asked what the app was. After a brief explanation, I was sold, and I downloaded the app as soon as I got home.

The app is called Finch, and the app allows its user to list goals for the day, but they also offer breathing exercises, stretches, logging prompts and many other attributes. Users can also customize their penguins and rooms, as well as build a friendship with their penguins as they complete tasks. One aspect of the app  I love is the ability to connect with friends. A user can add friends to a community and send messages or reminders to those friends either about drinking water, stretching or showing gratitude. 

 Finch has been a lifesaver in helping me keep a balanced lifestyle. I’ve been using it for about four months now, and I’ve seen a big improvement with getting stuff done. I mainly use it to keep track of my school assignments, but I’ve also listed some of my routine activities as well. 

Replace other distractions for music

A change in my routine that helped me was listening to music as I worked. When I first came home after school, I would grab a snack. Having a quick snack for energy wasn’t bad in itself, but I connected that snack with watching a show or movie. That then leads me to getting distracted and forgetting my work all together. 

Although I’ll still grab a snack from time to time, I often head to my room and put on some music. Music can help be beneficial to some during studying. According to WebMD, the Mozart effect, which is a study based on the idea that listening to classical music can help improve reasoning skills and test scores. A similar study on the Blur effect suggested that more people benefitted from listening to music they enjoyed. Music can also lower stress and improve motivation, focus and concentration. 

Delete useless apps


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Along with unhealthy distractions like watching shows, apps like TikTok have been a major harm toward my usage of time. When I still had the app, I was using it for a good amount of my afternoon. My screen time was around five to six hours. Now, my screen time has been closer to three hours. I wasn’t realizing how bad my usage of time was until I deleted the app, and I had a lot more time to work on school. Not only did my grades improve but so did my stress levels.

Although it can be easier said than done, deleting useless apps can help improve a person’s schedule. The action gets rid of another distraction, and it allows people to use their time more wisely. If deleting an app altogether sounds too intense, people can also add a time limit on certain apps as well.

Note Anywhere


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One function from the school Chromebooks are the sticky notes listed at the top of the screen next to the URL. Students can click on the sticky note icon, and they can then write down what they need to keep track of. It’s easy, simple and accessible.

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I’ve always had a hatred for bullet journals and planners. Journals have to be taken out of their place and then flipping through the book itself can get irritating. Sometimes I forget to even write in the journal, so they aren’t the best option for me. Sticky notes themselves are messy and end up being very unorganized, so they weren’t the best option either. Once I found Note Anywhere, the sticky note tool, I got very excited. It’s all digital, meaning no mess and easy to use. The sticky notes can also be customized to an individual’s personal liking. 

Keep a schedule

When I was still forming my morning routine, washing my face was a big issue I had. I could never remember to do it even if my cleanser was staring right at me. I began setting alarms or putting a note next to my door that reminded me of the tasks. Once I started enforcing the action daily, there was no more need for alarms or notes. I began washing my face simply because it was now a part of my routine. 

An individual’s schedule can be busy. I know my own morning schedule alone would be overwhelming for most non-early birds. People don’t remind themselves of every little detail about their schedule, but they do start remembering what they need to do once it becomes repetitive. Keeping a similar daily schedule can help people stick to their tasks at hand. Once people make a conscious decision to add something into their schedule it can slowly start to become a subconscious habit. 

Allow breaks

When studying became a more common occurrence for me in middle school, I was focusing on school for hours at a time. At one point, I was burnt out and couldn’t physically force myself to even look at a book. I wasn’t realizing the issue at the time, but breaks are a necessity. I got a bit better as time went on, and I felt more confident with my academics once I started implementing breaks into my schedule.

Breaks are a much needed part of studying. Going over information for a consecutive long amount of time can be exhausting for the brain. Breaks can help boost a person’s energy, productivity and focus. Some people will only take a break for a few minutes while others might go for half an hour to an hour. It depends on the individual person’s schedule and focus. It can be better to start out with shorter breaks when first starting out and then slowly add more time in between the breaks if necessary. The main component is making sure there is a balance between studying and taking a break. 

It’s important that people keep themselves accountable for their work so they can have a balanced life. Self-management can lead to better productivity and performance as well as lower stress levels.