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MIT blogger Cami M. '23

goal setting and organization by Cami M. '23

how i organize my life!

I often get asked how I organize my life, my time, and whatnot and while I’m not the most organized person in the world, I thought it’d be nice to highlight how I organize my day to day tasks and how I track progress in my life.

Progress tracking is a huge part of my life. I really enjoy seeing changes over time and I think there’s a lot of different tools I utilize to track changes and make sure I’m where I want to be.

FitBit

Uses: Tracking fitness, general health, heart rate, sleep

A couple months ago, maybe in the middle of this past spring semester, I invested in a FitBit Inspire. After working out consistently, I realized it was probably necessary to track my health, sleep, steps, and heart rate somehow. I could honestly write a whole blogpost on my fitness journey this far, but that’s not what this is about.

I typically use my FitBit to check my steps to see if I hit my goal steps (usually anywhere between 8k-10k steps a day) as well as to see my active exercise minutes and resting heart rate.

Google Calendar

Uses: Event organization, time blocking, scheduling

I won’t spend too long on this section, but Google Calendar is a typical go to for a lot of MIT kids. Really, any calendar app is nice, but Google Calendar just seems to be the typical calendar a lot of people use so it’s more convenient to just stick to the norm. I’ve tried to get into time blocking01 'Time blocking is a time management technique where you schedule how you'll spend your time during every minute of every day. Each task you need to complete gets time scheduled on your calendar, so you can make sure you have the bandwidth for every to-do list item.' as of late, but I mainly use my work’s calendar for that so it’s not really reflected in my Google Calendar anymore. But it’s still super handy.

Daily Journal

Uses: Compiling information from the day, nostalgia TM

While I’m still trying to form this habit, daily journaling has helped me a lot with understanding and processing the events from the day. I think somewhere around January 2020, I realized the pandemic was making the days flow into each other and I lost a lot of my own sense of self and sense of time. Things started to just blend together and it felt like I was in a snippet of Groundhog’s Day. By journaling, I was able to ground myself a lot better with where I was in the world and specifically in time. Every now and then, I go back and read past entries to remind myself of the neat things that happened that day.

This is the journal I use. I got it as a gift from my mom and it works pretty well for my needs.

Daily Planner

Uses: Homework tracking

I go back and forth between using a physical planner versus a digital one. I have to say there’s something a lot more satisfying physically checking off tasks rather than clicking a checkbox on a computer screen.

I used to use a planner for school, color coding different subjects so I could look at it and know what classes I needed to work on. It’s super nice, but simultaneously, I think it’s not very practical having to bring it out all the time and carry it around.

Notion

Like everyone else at this forsaken school, I have fallen victim to the clutches of notion.so. It’s just a really convenient website.

I use these templates and track my annual, quarter, monthly, weekly, and daily goals/tasks. I’ve found that tracking goals like this helps me stay focused on what I want to accomplish, and it’s convenient since it’s as easy as pulling up a webpage and quickly typing in some notes here and there.

Letterboxd

Uses: movie tracking

My house watches a movie nearly every night and I thought it would be cool to actually go and see the movies I’m watching so I can look back and see all the genres I’ve traversed and all my new first-time-watches this year. Movies have become a really big thing in my life, surprisingly. In my freshman year I watched a movie every night of my first semester and now we’re kind of continuing that tradition in my house this summer.

You can keep up with what I’m watching at my Letterboxd.

screenshot of my letterboxd and recent movies i've watched (real genius, just go with it, portrait of a lady on fire, the farewell)

cw for food talk and calorie counting

MyFitnessPal

Uses: calorie tracking, macros tracking

Perhaps a controversial one (and I agree), I track calories. The juxtaposition in my use for MyFitnessPal from this year to this year is quite stunning to me, actually. Last summer, I was unhealthily obsessing over my calories, trying to stay under 1400 a day while also following a 40-30-30 for my macros. Which honestly in retrospect is terrible given how much I was working out and exercising last summer.

This summer, I’m trying to actually go the opposite direction and make sure I’m eating enough to see visible gains. According to some random calculator I found online, I should be eating around 2100 calories a day for my activity, so every day I’m trying to make sure I’m nourishing my body enough where she’s happy and healthy and always growing in the right direction.

I’m not as fastidious with my calorie tracking, though, as I was last summer. Before, I would tediously do every measurement just right and really deeply research the food I would eat from restaurants to ensure it’s the correct amount. Now, I kind of just search up the recipe online and choose what looks right.

Mint

Uses: budget tracking, credit score tracking

Now that I’m a big boy that has a credit card and has a credit score and has a steady income, I need to learn how to manage that money. Growing up relatively spoiled and privileged, I was never taught how to handle money well and often bought things whenever I felt like it. Now that I’m trying to gain some semblance of independence, I’m attempting to try and budget my money better. Less impulse purchases. More buying my own food. Less random SHEIN hauls. Less expensive UberEats order nights. Stuff like that. Mint has been a god send for tracking all of this, but I can’t help but cringe a little every time I check the app and see how my money’s fluctuated. It’s a work in progress.

Also take this as a sign to go get a credit card and build your credit score if you can.

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That’s really how I’ve been spending my days lately. I’ve been hard at work trying to balance my internship with taking care of myself, socializing with my house, working out, and overall just living a good happy life. It’s definitely a bit hard at times, but I think I’m learning to manage.

 

  1. 'Time blocking is a time management technique where you schedule how you'll spend your time during every minute of every day. Each task you need to complete gets time scheduled on your calendar, so you can make sure you have the bandwidth for every to-do list item. back to text