I once had a professor tell me that she could tell the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful college student with one question. “Do you have a planner?” At the time I thought she was being overly simplistic, but that was because I didn’t own a planner! The more that I learn, work and live, the more I find value in her words and in organization as a whole.
The brain is a funny thing. It is so immensely complex and functional that sometimes it fools us into thinking it can do more than it is capable of doing. It reminds you of when it bailed you out and when it was able to outperform your expectations. We all know that cramming for tests is the worst way to study, but remember all of those times when you crammed last minute and still did well on that test? What about the paper you threw together right before the due date? It turns out that if you are at Loyola, then you are probably naturally smart enough to do things like this every once and awhile. But success doesn’t come from winging it. Success comes from consistency.
After winning his 3rd National Championship in 4 years, Nick Saban was asked if Alabama was a dynasty. He replied, “I don’t think words like dynasty are words that I’m interested in. We’re interested in accomplishment and consistency and performance.
/Side note – if you read between the lines, he was saying, “Yes, we are a dynasty you idiot. I won 3 of 4!” Because what is a dynasty if it isn’t accomplishment, consistency and performance?/
Consistency is where organization comes into play. Organization allows us to increase our speed and efficiency (read: performance). Imagine if every time you were looking for something, the last place you looked was 3 places sooner. 5 places? Imagine that the answer to simple questions about scheduling or due dates were answered in 30 seconds as opposed to 5 minutes? What if you were able to use those minutes towards being productive? Admittedly, there are limited hours during the day where our brains are operating at a pace where we are truly productive. Sure we can stretch these hours during finals and midterms, but in a typical day there is only so much energy that we have to put towards our endeavors. If we are spending those precious minutes answering questions that organization can answer quicker, then we are not operating in a successful pattern.
I found the most value in organization came from decreasing the amount of brain power spent maintaining the organization system in my head. Sure I knew when that paper was due, but it was because I was actively storing and recalling that information. The simplest verified fact that neuropsychology catalogued was the brain has its limitations. Sure, some people are smarter than others, but everyone maxes out at a certain point. Because organization invariably taxes our resources, why not implement a healthy tax cut this semester and buy and use a planner. Get to know Google Calendar or iCalendar. Sync it up to your smartphone. Enter in all of your due dates and have it send you reminders. Use it for social events too. If you only use your calendar for school then you can’t look ahead to the fun stuff. Don’t let your brain fool you into thinking it can do more than it can and make the first place that you look for information, the last place you have to look. A little organization can help make your college career a dynasty!
-Logan Williamson, LPC
***Thanks for covering your mouths when you cough and getting those flu shots! Student Health hasn’t diagnosed a case of the flu in over a week!***
Wait! Don’t Go! Check out past posts on the Care For The Pack blog. Also, keep checking back as we have 4 articles that will be posted in the next two weeks, and we update the blog twice a week with contributions from our staff at the UCC and Student Health!