So, September has rolled around yet again which can mean only one thing - back to school. Whether you’re at secondary school, in your final year of university or you’re simply going back to work after a few weeks away, getting organised can be a great way to successfully re-integrate yourself into the school routine.
However, this back-to-school feeling can make you feel like you need to spend a small fortune on a brand-new planner, highlighters, pens and other expensive stationary. This doesn’t have to be the case - read on to discover a few budget-friendly organisational tips for students.
Stick to a routine
As well as being completely free, sticking to a routine is a fail-safe way to improve your organisational skills. However, whilst keeping to a routine sounds easy in theory, it can be a lot trickier in practice.
Make sure that you write down your schedule at the beginning of the week and try to stick to it as much as possible, specifying the time periods when you should be working, exercising and relaxing. This will ensure that you fill your days with activities that will increase your productivity and make the most out of your time.
Sticking to a routine will make sure that you don’t waste your day deciding what to do - with carefully planned slots for a variety of different activities, you’ll be able to follow this routine without considering what you’re going to do next.
However, whilst sticking to a routine sounds easy in theory, it can be pretty difficult in practice. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t manage to stick to a routine completely - instead, just use it as a rough guide and accept that life can sometimes get in the way.
Investing in a diary or a planner is a good way to start sticking to a routine. With so many cheap options available, this doesn’t have to break the bank. Check out this planner from WHSmith for just £12.99
Invest in some new stationery
So, although stationery can be expensive, there’s no denying that it’s a failsafe way to improve your organisational skills. And buying new stationery doesn’t have to put you on course for bankruptcy. Of course, certain brands - naming no names - will cost you a small fortune for a new pack of highlighters, but these are easy enough to avoid.
Buying in bulk is an excellent way to get the thrill of buying new stationery without going into the red. For example, a quick browse of Amazon can find you this set of Sharpies, ballpoint pens, mechanical pencils and correction tape for just £7.99 down from £16.20. Alternatively, check out eBay and find this back-to-school stationery set that includes an A4 clipboard, sticky notes, pencils, stencils, glue sticks, rubbers, a mathematical set, a rule and loads more for just £13.99.
While we don’t recommend spending your life savings on stationery, there’s no doubt that buying new stationery can improve your organisation. Use your new bulk-bought stationery to set out your workspace, whether that’s at school, home or work. A well-stocked and organised work environment can work wonders for your productivity, so you can easily justify investing in a few new pens and pencils.
And if budgeting sounds right up your street, check out this article on the best budget stationery.
Get enough sleep
Whether you’re frantically revising for an important exam or you’re just striving to be top of the class, it can be easy to fall into the trap of sacrificing sleep for schoolwork. We’ve all been there - if you’re working flat-out all day and into the night, it can be a surprise to discover that the sun set hours ago.
While working into the night can feel like a good way to get on top of your studies, this is actually far from the truth. Studies suggest that 13-18-year-olds need between 9-12 hours of sleep per night, whilst adults need at least 7. Sleep deprivation can cause a variety of long and short-term symptoms, such as memory and concentration issues, mood changes, weakened immunity, high blood pressure, risk of heart disease, weight gain and more.
Essentially, you won’t be able to work at your best if you’re not getting enough shut-eye. Trying to stay organised all year can be tricky at the best of times, let alone if you’re only running on 3 hours of sleep!
Instead of grafting into the early hours, consider putting the pen down a few hours before bedtime. This will give you time to unwind and relax before you go to sleep, as you’ll want to clear your mind of those fractions to get a decent night's sleep. Consider running a bath, taking a shower or reading a book to wind down after the day's work is over. Alternatively, tidying your room is a good way to feel organised and accomplished before bed.
If you’re looking for some ways to take your relaxation to the next level, check out this article about how to save money on spa days.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!
Okay, this might not be what you want to hear, but there’s no denying that getting enough exercise can do wonders for your organisational skills. Physical activity can actually improve your brain health, leading to increased concentration, accuracy and organisation in the workplace. Regular exercise can also work wonders for your mental health, which can in turn increase your levels of organisation.
Whether you’re a pro athlete or an exercise novice, there will be an activity out there for you. Taking a brisk walk for half an hour will dramatically improve your concentration ability, whilst a quick 10-minute jog will leave you feeling energetic and ready to learn. Furthermore, doing more exercise can be an excuse to learn a new hobby such as skateboarding, gymnastics, yoga, rollerskating, netball, hockey or rugby.
Whilst it can seem daunting trying to squeeze in some exercise when your schedule already seems packed, fitting in some time to work out will work wonders for your organisation. It doesn't have to be a 10k sprint - simply walking around your garden for 10 minutes will have an effect on your productivity in some way or another.
While joining a club or taking a class can incur a small fee, there are a lot of exercise activities that are completely free. And if you want to spend more time working out, it may be worth investing in a gym membership. Despite some gym memberships costing upwards of £100 per month, you can join a decent gym for around £25 a month if you want to stick to a budget.
But if forking out for a gym membership doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, check out this article about affordable ways to work out at home.
Keep your room tidy
As mentioned above, keeping your room tidy can have a huge effect on your organisation skills. It’s good practice to get into the habit of tidying your room once in the morning and once in the evening - this means that you’ll never have to spend ages cleaning it as it would (hopefully) stay fairly organised throughout the day.
While tidying your room is completely free, there are a few things you can buy to help improve your bedroom organisation. These include storage cubes, dresser organisers for socks and underwear, makeup organisers, bedside storage bags, jewellery stands, storage organisers and more.
And if your room is in need of a deep clean, check out this article on how to save money on cleaning products.
So, there you have it. Being organised doesn’t have to involve splashing out on expensive stationery - it’s possible to be organised by sticking to a routine, getting enough sleep, exercising, keeping your room tidy and buying some new (budget-friendly!) stationery.
Hi there! My name is Mazy and I’ve been a part of the vouchers world since November 2022. After studying English Literature with Creative Writing at university, I realised that I would love to incorporate writing into my career - so here I am!
You could say that I have a mild addiction to online shopping, specifically second-hand shopping; you probably won’t find me spending thousands on a brand-new outfit, but you will find me deep into a browse of my favourite second-hand clothing apps, including Depop, Vinted, eBay, Preloved and Vestiaire Collective.