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Intern Insights – Staying Organized: Top 3 Tips

Kim shares her top three insights on staying organized to help her balance college, work, family, friends, and yes even being our intern.


Being a college student, a graphic designer, an intern, and a starting business owner, I have a TON of stuff to keep track of on a daily basis. Keeping organized can be challenging, especially when you have ADD traits like me, on top of a huge list of stuff to do. I’ve got many different ways to keep organized, but I think it’s easier to pick my Top 3. Here’s how I keep myself on track!

3. Sticky Notes

blank sticky notes of varying colors with pens on a flat white surfaceI know this seems like a no-brainer, but sticky notes really do help! It’s a common assumption that seeing something at least 5 times makes people more likely to remember that thing. Advertisers use that a lot in campaigns! Sticky notes have the same effect. If I put a sticky note on my laptop that I have 3 assignments to do for my Graphic Design class, I’m going to see that sticky note every time I open my laptop. If I take out my laptop 5 times a day, I’ll see that sticky note 5 times and remember to do my assignments when I get a free minute. It also works for house chores–if I leave a note on the fridge to do my laundry, then I’m pretty likely to see that note over and over when I go to the fridge for snacks. 

The great thing about sticky notes is that they can go anywhere and everywhere. The fridge, a laptop, the back of a phone, a significant other’s forehead… you get the picture. Anywhere I’ll see it! Repeating the same note in different places makes me even more likely to remember. It also helps me because I don’t like cluttery places and I really enjoy crumpling up sticky notes when I get something done. It’s like that satisfying feeling of crossing off an item on a list, but I get to crush the task I just finished. 

2. Reminders, Checklists, & To-Do Lists

light skinned hand writing a checklist on lined paperSpeaking of crossing things off a list, the next method is to make a list. This one also seems too easy to be true, but it really works. Lists are perfect for people who like to keep their space neat and tidy, unlike sticky note users. While sticky note users thrive on the messiness of their notes to remind them to do tasks, those who write lists appreciate visual organization to get their stuff done.

Lists include checklists, bullet lists, and even shopping lists. It’s a great way to keep all of the things unified in one place. Plus, the brain releases dopamine when crossing off a task. That dopamine is a reward for getting things done, as well as a motivator to keep getting things done. Lists are also a great way to see all of the tasks in one place, rather than reminders for each task in different places. This makes it easier to form a game plan to tackle all of it!

1. Kanban Boards

two tan-skinned hands holding a chain of 3 multi-colored sticky notes--reads

ClickUp logoSaving the best for last, kanban boards are my favorite way to stay organized. They take in my favorite things about lists and sticky notes and make them both even better.

A kanban board is usually a large physical board with sticky notes or something like that, each with a task written on them. The board is split into columns that represent different statuses for tasks. All tasks start under the very first column, which is usually for ideas or the catch-all until users are ready to start a task. From there, each task is moved to the following columns, which can include “in progress,” “blocked,” and “completed.” Those categories are pretty straightforward; “in progress” means it’s currently being worked on, “blocked” means there’s something stopping progress that needs to be fixed, and “completed” means it’s finished. 

Kanban boards are usually large physical boards, but when I’m doing online work for Shawna from halfway across the country, those physical boards just don’t work. That’s why we use a program called ClickUp. ClickUp is our system for keeping all our tasks, goals, and to-do lists all in one place. It also helps Shawna see how much progress I’ve made, so she can give me a nudge if I forget something. 


No organization method is completely foolproof, but these ones certainly make it easier! I hope I could offer some useful insights!

Stylized image of young light skinned female with dark hair and glasses sitting in front of a laptop.
Images used in this article were retrieved from Unsplash and used under its license for free-use images. All other images are created by or permitted for use by the S.Barnes Designs Team.
Shawna's handwritten signature.
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