Becoming an Academic Superwoman: Part 1

This post is all about a topic that’s been hovering around the front of my mind since September: organisation. It’s perhaps not the most thrilling of subjects on the surface of things, but becoming more organised is a quest of mine at present.

During the past few years, I’ve considered myself to be a fairly organised person. I’ve always been early for meetings and classes, met my deadlines, and generally had a good idea of upcoming plans and events. This is good.

I feel like things started to slip slightly when I finished my undergraduate degree, though. I burnt myself out working on too many assignments in the run up to the final patch of deadlines, and I hadn’t quite recovered by the time I started my MA in September. I still managed to do all of the basic stuff – being in the right place at the right time and hitting ‘submit’ before the 12 noon deadline passed – but I wasn’t planning in enough work hours to comfortably do all of the stuff I needed to do. My work ethic’s been patchy, and Pinterest and I have become closer friends than should probably be the case.

This is something that I’m trying to change. I want my mojo back, and I’m trying lots of different things to become a super-organised academic machine.

Today, I would like to introduce you to the first thing that’s made a real difference to my recent success in being more on top of things. It’s functional. It’s portable. It’s very, very pretty. Meet…

Planner 1


Setting it up has been a bit of a project over the past few weeks. I’ve made lots of bits and bobs myself to make it completely personalised, and it (hopefully) has everything I need to keep me on track. Let me take you on a quick tour:

Planner 2

My title-page: designed to capture the way I feel when I’ve had caffeine in the hope that I’ll be productive without needing any. I guess we’ll see how that goes…

Planner 3

Next up is a key for my washi tape colour-coding system. I stick strips of the stuff in my diary to help me see at a glance what I have on each week – it’s a good way of keeping my organiser simultaneously pretty and functional. You can see it in action a couple of photos down.

Planner 4

Here’s a space where I can plan out particularly busy days. These pages are from Paperchase and have space to include appointments, a to do list, and things to remember.

Planner 5

The juicy bit: my actual diary! I have space to include appointments and plans, top tasks that I’d like to get done each day, and a record of what I eat (good for Slimming World!) I’ve also got a colourful day marker with a quick-view version of the current calendar month. Still deciding what to do with the space underneath…

Planner 6

This is one of my favourite things about my organiser. I use these pages most days to make a more detailed list of the articles I’d like to read, emails I need to send, and all the other stuff I hope to achieve. I use the ‘tasks’ section more than the others, so I think I’ll tweak the layout slightly to give this bit more space next time I print out pages.

Planner 7

Towards the end of my organiser, I keep colour-coded pages to note down ideas and plans for the various projects I have on at the moment. It’s so handy to flick to the relevant page and jot stuff down whenever something pops into my head!

Planner 8

Finally, I have some pretty bunting-patterned paper at the very back of my organiser where I make lots of different lists (usually aspirational ones). I have lists of books to read, films to watch, and places to go, and I also use the paper to make notes about things that don’t fit anywhere else (library books, email addresses – that sort of thing).

I’ve very quickly become very attached to my organiser. It’s still in progress, but it comes with me everywhere I go and it’s already had a big impact on the way I approach work on a day-to-day basis. Pretty things and stationery make me happy, and working through a list of tasks is much more enjoyable when I have warm fuzzy feelings about all the colours and patterns that my organiser is full of. Maybe I won’t even need Pinterest to get me through my dissertation…

Come back soon to find out what else I’m doing to get more organised!