Being a postgraduate student, or indeed an undergrad student, isnt as straightforward as people believe. You have different classes to prepare for and attend (usually in different rooms/buildings), different social engagements you want to go to, and then of course there are family events that you need to keep on top of.
The truth is that I dont think I am that organised, its the technology, and in-particular the software that I use that keeps me on top of things. Below I am going to outline the three programs that I use to keep me upto date.
BusyCal 2 (Link)
BusyCal is seen as by most as iCal Pro (or Calendar as it is now called), and adds extra functions such as integrated weather, a deluxe menu bar app, and the ability to add icons to events means that its stylish and functional.
The way that I keep my calendar organised is simple. For each area of my life I create a new calendar, and if they fall within a similar category, create a group for them to ‘live’ in.
As you can see by the group ‘university’ I have a calendar for each module that I am currently taking, or have classes remaining. When my timetable is released I transfer each lecture/class into this. It does take a little time, but it means that I have each and every class synced to my iPhone/iPad and other Macs instantly, and should a change occur I simply change it in my calendar, which is much neater and easier to keep track of than trying to keep track of a timetable on a piece of paper, especially as it gradually gets more and more weathered throughout the year.
I have covered EverNote before and considering its free, its a great little application to use day to day.
Just like BusyCal I tend to create notebooks for each area of my life, then use tags to sort these notes further when required. When a notebook is longer needed, I simply use ‘Archive |….‘ and place it in the archive nest so that its out of the way, but the notes are saved.
Evernote is available for free both on the iPhone and iPad and the notes can be either text/audio/photograph or document based. I tend to keep PDF’s of all useful documents such as ‘timetables’ (should I wish to access the original), important letters, and any other important pieces of information which don’t really go anywhere else.
Finding the note you want is easy whether you have 10 notes or 10,000 notes thanks to the quick ‘spotlight’ style search. If you have notes that you access on a regular basis, these can be easily added to the shortcuts bar for quickly getting to them.
OmniFocus is another application which I have blogged about before on a few occasions, and its sole purpose is to keep your to-dos under control.
This is done by creating projects, and then tasks within those projects which can then be assigned things such as deadlines and start dates.
You may be able to detect a theme if you look at the photo to the right, yes every project co-insides with areas of my life, with a group being created for the modules which I am taking at university.
This is perfect as I am able to easily input tasks in each project, and then with the use of perspectives, instantly view all the uni work which I have to complete by a certain date, thereby allowing me to plan my time.
The cost of OmniFocus is a little steep for a student, currently selling on the Mac App Store for £54.99. This cost is bumped up even more if you wish to purchase the iPhone App at £13.99 and the iPad App at £27.99, however I see it as an investment for the long-term future, as no matter what I am doing with my life, I will always have tasks which need doing!
So thats it, technology is what keeps me organised, its kind of simple when you know how.