Stationery and productivity favorites of a visual learner

This post is not sponsored; I just really love these stationery products mentioned and would recommend to anyone who shares sentiments that I express in this post!

I’m a visual learner. Techniques like color-coding, drawing diagrams, and being shown graphs help me cement information into place. Therefore, throughout high school and college, I have found different study tools to help me succeed in the classroom.

Being the stationery fiend I am, I have amassed quite the collection. Nobody needs rainbow pens or a 24/7 printable calendar to lay out a weekly routine. If jotting notes on the back of a CVS receipt with a ballpoint pen works for you, take notes on that CVS receipt. You’ll have more than enough space. However, I have found different study and productivity habits that work for me and would like to share them for others in case any are useful.

Stationery

I store my highlighters and pens in a white ceramic cat mug. Because I find color-coding notes to be a helpful visual tool, I enjoy the various colors of the Zebra Midliner markers. They’re dual-ended so that one end is a chiseled-tip like a traditional highlighter whereas the other tip is like a felt-tip marker. This semester, I have five classes, so each class has a designated color pack. In the order that they came in, I like to organize my notes like so:

  • Titles
  • Vocabulary terms
  • Important terms that are not vocabulary terms (e.g. terms that are repeated)
  • Key figures, dates
  • Miscellaneous

Even if I don’t have time to go over my lecture slides and hand-write them out (although making myself paraphrase my lecture notes and readings helps me even further), I try to at least color-code the slides and readings to at least lock in the general flow of the information and make it easier for me to look back later and reorganize the information.

Planner

I surprisingly don’t use a bullet journal; I find that making weekly spreads is too time-consuming and not rewarding enough. However, I do implement elements from a bullet journal such as having a key denoting what different tasks mean and how I prioritize them:

Of course, things, like doing assignments and going to appointments, are towards the top, but I also try my best to implement two goals for myself: a practical goal and therapeutic goal (which I wrote about last week!). Here’s my spread from last week:

I do use my 24/7 planner, but I mainly use it to establish a routine. Again, I find that filling out a 24/7 planner every week is too time-consuming and not rewarding enough for my personal needs, but I have heard success stories from people who set aside this time and plan out their weekly routines. Again, use your daily allowance of 24 hours the way that works for you.

Time management

This is an area that I struggle with and an area I want to improve on. I used to not be a believer in breaks; I thought of them as a waste of time. However, over the years, I have found that simply brute-forcing decreases my productivity and overall wellbeing. Now, I implement the Pomodoro technique, which has helped me tremendously. Essentially, for every 25 minutes you work, rest for 5 minutes. Personally, I find working for 50 minutes and resting for 10 is the most effective, but discover something that works for you. If you find yourself getting distracted during that time of productivity, install an app like Forest that temporarily leaves you stuck on the app and unable to close out without a consequence (in the case of Forest, closing out of the app would destroy a virtual tree that only plants if you stay on the app during a set amount of time). Again, being the visual learner I am, it helps keep me motivated to see my virtual “forest” thriving.

 

Madeline Kim | Undergraduate Business 2020

Interpreter at Global Wordsmiths
Madeline is an Alabama native studying business administration at Carnegie Mellon University. In addition to her studies, she works as a Korean interpreter at Global Wordsmiths, expresses her political opinions through CMU’s student-run newspaper, The Tartan, and plays violin for CMU's string ensemble, String Theory. Some of her passions lie in food, music of all kinds, and open political conversations. She is a makeup enthusiast and incorporates her political views in the ethics and racial inclusiveness in the beauty industry. In her free time, she enjoys writing, spending time with her family and friends, and drawing. By graduation, Madeline hopes to become a more open-minded and well-rounded lifelong learner.

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