Studying at university involves keeping track of a lot of different things, from multiple deadlines at the end of semester, to where you left those crucial lecture notes! Having some simple organisational strategies that work for you can make your life run more smoothly. 

Scroll down for our recommended strategies and resources. 

Look ahead

A key to being organised is anticipating what is coming. At the start of the semester and each week, look ahead for any deadlines, events, or crucial things you need to do. Having a semester planner and noting down key dates means you won’t have any nasty last minute surprises. Look at our page on time management for more strategies:

Be informed

Another part of being organised is having all the information you need. You don’t have to remember it, just know where to find it when you do need it. Regularly check Moodle, your university emails, and any course announcements as part of your routine. Bookmark any useful webpages that you use regularly so that you can find them easily. 

Filing system

Have a simple, workable filing system that can grow as you take more notes. Use colour coding, or have online folders with clear dates and titles. Tagging and search functions in note-making software like OneNote or Evernote can also help. See our page on Note-making for more ideas.

Planning assignments

You also need to organise your ideas effectively when writing assignments. Planning before writing helps you identify what you want to say, and will make the writing process easier. Look at our page on Planning for more ways to organise your ideas.

Keep track of references

Recording your references in an organised way is a vital part of academic integrity. Complete your reference list as you go along, don’t leave it until the last minute. An inaccurate reference list can lose marks and may lead to more serious issues with plagiarism. Have a good system for recording your sources; don’t rely on having lots of browser tabs open as you can accidentally close a tab or lose track of them. If you are using many web-based sources consider bookmarking the pages, or cutting and pasting any website urls into a separate document. If you find it hard to keep track of your references, try using reference management software like Endnote, which is supported by our Library.

Simple not perfect

Aim for organisational strategies that work most of the time and don’t have barriers to you using them consistently. For example, if you don’t get round to putting your notes in ring-binders because you never have a hole-punch, consider using box files instead.