As RN to MSN students, we have a lot to juggle! How do we fit school into a life already crowded with our work, family and friends without letting something slip? Organization is the key. Managing your school documents makes life surprisingly easier. If you’re struggling with keeping track of everything, here are a few suggestions:
Create a system and stick to it. Whether it’s a file drawer in your desk, a system of folders on your laptop, or something entirely different that you invented, figure out what works for you and be consistent. This way, you’ll become familiar with your system and can easily store or retrieve your documents.
Save everything. After a class has finished, you may think you will never need the papers you’ve written again, but you will. In your BSN capstone course, you’ll need to go back to much of the work you completed in previous classes. Make a separate folder to store anything your instructor says you will need at a future date. I did that and it made accessing my previous work very easy when I was in the final BSN course.
Back up your computer regularly. I used to live in fear of losing my laptop, especially because I take it everywhere with me so I can work on the go. I also recently had a scare where my computer seemed to be malfunctioning. While the fix ended up being easy, I realized that even if I don’t lose my computer, I can still lose the files I have stored. That’s why I now routinely back up my computer. I use an external hard drive to keep a copy of all my important files, but that’s not the only option available. If you don’t want to purchase another piece of hardware, back up your files to a cloud storage system. Some of them allow you to access your files from any computer as long as you have internet access, adding another layer of convenience.
Create electronic folders to organize your class papers. When a new class starts, I set up folders for the course on my computer. Within those folders, I create a separate folder for each module. I label each paper that I write with the name and number of the class and save it to the corresponding module folder. It sounds tedious, but this detailed level of organization has been tremendously helpful to me. Many times, I’ve needed to retrieve a previous paper, citation or reference and it’s very quick and simple to find where the document is stored.
Keeping organized can save your sanity. Life is busy enough without having to spend a lot of time searching for a paper you’ve written or a document you’d like to reference. Whatever system you use to stay organized, stick to it and don’t forget to back up your documents!