Learning to Stay Organized in Dental School – Katie Quan (BU ’19, District One Events Chair)

Class, lab work, patients, gym time, dinner with friends, short-term projects, long-term projects… how are we supposed to keep track of it all? Some of us are goal-oriented (aka list-oriented), some of us like to know a specific breakdown of their day, and some of us prefer organized chaos.

And maybe your desktop looks like this:


Looking for a change, I tried a few different ways to stay organized. Check out my attempts to clean up my desktop:

Photo courtesy of passionplanner.com

Passion Planner—The good ol’ pen and paper
It has an hourly breakdown of every week, helps breakdown to-do tasks based on importance, and a feature that puts an emphasis on personal growth and wellbeing. Each week has a new goal and a space to write down the good things that have happened. For the yogi in me, it was a good reminder to slow down and reflect on the good things that had happened in the middle of hectic weeks.

Results: The full-size planner can be a little big and heavy. They do have a mini version, but there’s less space to write. You also have to carry the planner on you at all times to know your schedule and tasks coming up.

Wunderlist and Todoist—phone apps
They are both platforms that can easily sync your to-do list with your phone, computer, calendar and email. Both applications let you create different categories of tasks and the user can customize based on importance and type. Both have an intuitive interface so the learning curve is easy for both of them. The differences between the two: Wunderlist transitions easier with email than Todoist, and it offers more features for free, but Todoist lets the user snooze tasks easier.

Results: After trying to keep up with the apps for three days, I had unread notifications on my phone and about 15 emails reminding me to practice my Spanish. As a student now, I would only be using the apps’ basic functions and the “Reminders” app from Apple can fulfill my needs for now. The “Reminders” app gives the option of creating different lists and can automatically sync lists from your iPhone, Macbook, and iPad.

Whether you’re trying to reorganize yourself for the New Year or new semester, there is no right or wrong way. The best way is the one you will actually use—similar advice I give my patients when they ask which type of floss to use. If you are the type of person whose email inbox has less than 50 unread messages, the apps are probably best for you. If your inbox has roughly 2,000 emails and you prefer an organized mess, a paper and pen is possibly your best bet. Whatever method you choose, try to stick it out for three days!

Shameless plug: if you have any questions about the District 1 Events Committee, shoot me an email at kquan@bu.edu!

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