5 Ways to Stay Organized While You’re Writing
Staying organized is one of the most important skills when a student first learns how to write a research paper. It will help your stress levels as well as make the writing process go much faster. If you’re stuck on your paper writing, check out our tutorial How to Write a Research Paper… And Get an +A.
As well, These five tips will help you stay on track while writing your paper in a fast and efficient manner.
1. Dedicate One Notebook or File for Each Project
No matter how much work you’ve done on one project, it’s always best to keep it in one place. Drafts of papers, thesis revisions, even bibliographies or works cited, these should all be kept together somewhere in a notebook or in a file folder on your computer.
Keep your notebook or files annotated so you can find everything easily, and whatever you do, file away all of your work the minute you’re done with it so you always know where to find it.
2. Keep Your Research in One Place
Research is a big part of term papers, so do yourself a favor: download all of the research you’ve done on your computer or into a cloud service and keep it in one place. If you’re more of an analog person, print everything out and keep it handy in a folder.
This will ensure that when you’re writing your paper, you can go back to review statistics and other important information without having to research it.
3. Take Notes on Your Readings
If you’re like most students, you try to remember what you’ve read without writing anything down. In reality, writing down notes on your readings, either in the margins of the book or in a notebook, will help you make sense of what you’ve just read.
It can also help you summarize complex concepts in a way that you can then use in your paper. And if you take notes, you are more likely to remember the information you read correctly, so give it a try.
4. Work Inside a Routine Each Day
Writing a term paper is a procrastinator’s dream. You put it off until the very last minute and then the night before it’s due, you spend hours writing the paper in such a haze that you may not remember what you wrote.
But there is a better way: work inside a routine every day. This means that you spend time on your paper every day at the same time for a few weeks rather than trying to cram it into a few hours. Take one hour each day to do research, write an outline, or revision, and watch your stress levels sink.
5. Get the Thesis Right and Stick to It
Staying organized when you’re writing is easiest when you craft the thesis statement first and stick to it while you finish the paper. Often, the thesis is the last thing students write, but you should make it the first thing you do; this way, instead of wavering in the position put forth by your paper, you get right to the point and leave out any information that adds fat, but no substance, to your paper.
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