Each year as finals week approaches, I find myself needing a winter catch-up day to get back on track with all of the extra tasks that have been gradually pushed aside in favor of homework and other activities. Yesterday was one of those days! I’m someone who needs a clean and organized space in order to begin sorting through to-do lists, assignments, and projects, and my room was looking less than tidy from the week before.
My dorm room stays relatively tidy throughout the semester (I like to be organized and clean), but there are definitely times where life catches up with me and cleaning is in order. As I looked around my room yesterday, I noticed that I needed to catch up on my bi-weekly tasks which includes laundry, dish washing, and shopping for groceries. I put my favorite playlist on, and gathered all of my dishes and laundry to be washed.
Once the dishes were done and my laundry was dry, I put everything back in its place and took to organizing my dresser. During the week there are many times when clothes will end up in the wrong drawers when I am in a rush, and it definitely needed to be sorted out. I took out all of the clothes, went through them to determine where they belonged, and then folded them and placed them back in the correct drawers. Sometimes the smallest organizational tasks make me feel much better about my space and organization, and folding my clothes is one of those tasks!
I then set to cleaning out my makeup. I always put my makeup back in its bag after using it, and after a while a lot of powders collect and it gets less than tidy (and most likely not great for my skin). So I took a cleaning cloth and wiped down the exterior of all of the palettes as well as the interior of the bag. I then took my brushes and washed them with my foaming facial cleanser in hot water in the sink, especially since my skin gets more sensitive in the winter months. Once they were all clean, I set them out on a towel to air dry and set about dusting my room.
I used cleaning cloths to dust surfaces and the floor, as well as to get rid of any germs (because at this point in the semester lots of people are starting to get sick). I also cleaned my computer and phone, and am in the process of gradually tidying the files on my computer as I complete my final exams (going through to archive what I need to, and deleting extraneous files or downloads that I no longer need).
I also took the time to organize the school files that I could, since I have printed out many readings and handouts at this point in the semester. I recycled all extraneous papers and worksheets that I no longer needed, and feel much better about having the materials that I need to complete my final exams and papers!
Though it was a tiring process, I was able to sort out the disarray from the past few weeks and start on projects that had been more or less buried in smaller tasks.
Organizing for the end of the semester
Once I had caught up on all of my life tasks, I was ready to start making my final project and exam schedule. I have done this every semester since my junior year of high school as a way to break up large tasks into more manageable workloads.
I start by looking at all of my due dates, and which ones are the priorities (which is something that I learned to do during my freshman year of high school). Once I figure out where my energy should be spent, I draft up a realistic plan for each night, taking my other activities and factors into consideration.
I also schedule meetings and other events as a way to incentivize myself to have tasks finished by that date (mini due dates of sorts). For example, if I have a large paper due, I will schedule an appointment with the writing lab or a peer reviewer and let them know that I will have a full draft completed (even if I don’t have a full draft at that moment). This is so that I will make sure that I get this done and prioritize it in relation to my other assignments.
I usually make this schedule on the Sunday before my last two weeks of the semester, and at the end of the schedule I include tasks for the end of the semester (such as cleaning out my room, unplugging my refrigerator, etc.). It helps me keep all of my due dates and priorities in mind with what is otherwise a very overwhelming workload!
Do you have winter catch-up days? What do you like to do on these days, and how have you prepared for finals? Let me know in the comments, I am always looking for suggestions! 🙂
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