Learning Outside the Lines

Seven habits for highly disorganised people

Learning Outside the Lines offers seven organizing basics:

  1. Every notebook needs your name, phone number, e-mail address, school address and mailbox number on the first page.
  2. Find a home where you always keep your notebooks. A backpack, messenger bag or spot next to your desk would work well.
  3. Choose and structure your notebooks according to who you are. This might be as pragmatic as associating colors with classes or scrounging binders at the Salvation Army. Identifiable binders also are a lot more likely to come back to you if you leave them behind.
  4. Giving yourself reasons to keep coming back to your notebook is the surest way not to lose it - whether that means storing pencils in there or keeping a timepiece tucked into the front.
  5. Avoid notebook crossover. If you accidentally grab your biology book on your way to psych class, it is still better to take notes on a loose piece of paper than in the notebook you have with you. Otherwise, those notes are probably as good as gone.
  6. Once a week, sit down at a coffee shop with all your notebooks and book bag and tidy up.
  7. Transitions between places or tasks are when stuff gets lost. Do a quick mental checklist of three questions before you move: Do I have all the books I brought to class ? Did I leave anything under my seat? Did I stuff any random papers someplace?