T&T: Simple and Effective School Supplies
If you’ve been to Target within the last three months - yes, they started THAT early - then you know that this year’s school and ofﬁce supply section is unbelievable. From multicolored pens and neon notebooks to glittery folders and ﬂoral ﬁle folder organizers, you have no excuse for a dull desk setting. I’ve always been that kid who buys their new backpack and packs of pens way too early, incredibly eager to feel that ﬁrst stroke of new pen on new notebook pages. So, naturally, I always buy an overstock of supplies for my school year. Luckily through the past twelve years, I’ve found my favorite non-smudging pens and life saving organizers that truly have increased my productivity. With that being said, here’s my time to rant to you about the best school supplies that you should add to your shopping list this year.
A planner that you’ll actually use.
I constantly see ads for these $70 fancy planners with stickers and motivational quotes and monograms splattered across them on my newsfeeds. I look into them, and get so intrigued. Making agendas and to-do lists are my ish. I have special notebooks just for making lists. As elaborate as these planners seem, however, I always wind up going for my $8 Five Star planner. (Pssst: I know it says $15 on this site, but trust me: Target basically always has it on sale for $8 or $10). It has both a full month calendar, as well as weekly horizontal spreads. I’ve been using this thing since sixth grade, and it’s been my holy grail since. I’ve picked up the habit of color coding personal obligations, like doctor's appointments or meetings, special occasions and social activities, and academic events on the monthly calendar in order to see the month on an overview base of how busy I am in every realm. This is without a doubt my favorite planner, but you may prefer a vertical column spread, or just a monthly calendar. Whatever you feel the most organized with, adopt it and utilize it. Being organized in terms of scheduling is the ﬁrst step to staying organized across the board.
Some form of reminders that you’ll actually check up on.
My mom is a big fan of using the reminder app on the iPhone since you always have it on your hip, but I’m personally a fan of writing out 89 Post It notes. I ﬁnd that handwriting out notes has always worked for me better in terms of remembering things, and when I make a note to run to the post ofﬁce on a sticky piece of paper, I not only remember writing out the note, but I also remember to actually do it. Shocking. There are a lot of cute options for sticky notes around, especially in the dollar section of Target (Target should be paying me for all of these plugs) but truthfully, the real deal Post It brand notes are the best ones. They’re durable through just about anything, and they come in a variety of vibrant colors. A two in one special.
A killer playlist to listen to that will actually make you focused.
I know, I know. We all want to shut our browsers and dance around our room singing the new Kesha songs, but we’ve got work to do! Spotify has been my holy grail choice for music, especially since I now get half priced Premium with my student ID. The best type of music I’ve found that really keeps you on track can only be described by saying they’re songs that you’d probably hear in a mellow coffee shop, with a little more acoustics. James Bay, Bastille, and Jason Mraz are some of my favorite artists to add to my work playlists. I also sometimes rely on my night time playlist, jammed with acoustic covers of 90’s pop songs and a little too much Hozier, as background noise for writing assignments, as they have a generally calm sound to them. I may have the occasional breakout into song and go all Celine Dion in my room, but it never goes too far that makes me leave my work zone completely.
A favorite drink and snack that will actually keep you energized.
Filling a bowl with your favorite crunchy snack is deﬁnitely the easiest thing to do when you’re getting ready to sit down and crack out a 10 page paper in four hours, but it most likely won’t aid your feeling of wanting to take a nap just a little bit along the way. Try to ﬁnd something to much on that you truly enjoy, but that has natural ingredients and may actually beneﬁt you and your need for speed. As for a drink, we all know that coffee is the go to. Whether you like it black or basically milk with a side of coffee, ﬁgure out what will actually keep your mind going for the late nights of work. Personally, I get strong headaches when I drink caffeine, so I try to stray away. Which is pretty tough when I’ve remembered that I have an assignment due by the end of the night and all I’ve done is lay in bed and try to read a chapter from my textbook. I’ve found that an apple with peanut butter and a giant, I mean GIANT, bottle of water does the trick for me. I think hydration is probably the main key for staying awake and active, but I’ll let all you caffeine lovers have your treat.
If you picked up on the theme, all of my favorite essentials for productivity during the school year feature the word ‘actually.’ By this, I mean that you should chose the supplies that you know you will use and will be helpful for you, not just for the aesthetically pleasing pictures you may be able to get out of them. I know it’s tempting to buy that notebook with the gold splatter on it just because it matches your Instagram theme, but if the paper is thin and your ink is going to bleed through it, what’s the point? Spend your money on quality products, that you can later decorate and personalize if you desire. I’ve always been one to spend a little more for quality, and I feel like I’ve grown to be a pretty productive person. I guess the extra dollar spent on my favorite binders was worth it.