PM Life: How to use excel to keep focused while abroad (or simply in college!)

One of my favorite things to do involves sitting down for about an hour, pulling all my school folders and the upcoming school schedule (recently posted online!) together and opening up Microsoft Excel. It seems boring and tedious, and I guess it is if you don't like organization or scheduling. However, it's something enjoyable for me and it helps me keep on track and balance my opportunities. Here are two examples of what my meaning. One is the current study abroad schedule and one is a 'wishlist' of expectations and hopes for the new semester (return to SFSU!)
my current schedule.
This schedule leaves a five day weekend every single week for the next three months. My German courses are small but are really challenging so it's like I have a larger load. The blanks would be a great space for a job if that were open to me in my small town. Also, with my still limited German conversation ability. I'm advanced in the area but it's always different dealing with locals in situation variables. So therefore, this is the maximum classes allowed and also driving me insane!!! It helps that my current internship at emcBlue.com, takes over a nice chunk of time with writing and research, but not enough. Just look at what I hope to accomplish for my FALL 2011 return semester.
Busy.Busy.Busy! Still deciding whether I should commute from my stepmom's in Vallejo or live back in SF, so that's why the commute is grey. 'It's a bit of a grey area', get it? Plus, I haven't signed up for course yet and need instructor consent on one which is the ****.
I love this schedule and had fun creating it in Excel! If you would like to take control of your schedule and make a spreadsheet like this here are my tips:

#Color code your classes, it will help you decide on colors for notebooks and accessories that you use for each course, and the memory will help you get more organized. 
#If you are unsure of something, create a symbol or color to not that. For example, I haven't been given an internship or job position anywhere yet for 2011 so the rose color is off-putting. This is space I'd like to reserve for those things, but it's not clear.
#Another example is the green course with *********. It is a course I will need instructor consent for, so I need to remember to ask for it when the time is right.
#Take your time to make sure you are noting everything. If you miss something on the schedule, it may alter your entire day! For example misplacing the time of a course or telling your job you'd have that hour free could detriment your daily activities.
#Lastly, print out a couple copies to place in different areas. My top spots: taped on a binder, inside the small pocket of my backpack, inside my school folder and on my wall. That way I never miss it, and if I've forgotten something for the day, I can take a quick look.

How do you schedule your semesters? Do you have an crazy or time-consuming strategies that you do?

1 comment:

  1. Haha I LOVE using Excel to organize my life!