In all of my previous degree programs, my biggest struggle was knowing what was due when and what I needed to accomplish next.

I have been an online student through two degree programs. One of those programs, at the University of Kentucky, did a tremendous job of connecting the students through synchronous meetings. The other, at a place I won’t name, did not.

Both degree programs required independent learning, fully expecting that all students could take it upon themselves to have enough organizational prowess to complete tasks promptly.

I can tell you that I was awful at that. Too often, I raced through work at the last minute because I forgot about it, mostly because it was buried in a module in the learning management system that I’d missed.

Last week, I began my doctoral work. I was determined not to repeat past mistakes and to be more organized.

It’s not that I’m not an organized person. I usually am. I like checklists. I like writing things down on note cards and tearing up the note cards when I’ve completed the work.

But I couldn’t wrap my head around why I struggled so much with my studies. Then, I had my lightbulb moment.

The problem wasn’t that I was not organized; the problem was I was using someone else’s organizational process and trying to figure out why they did what they did and how I could work through it.

Now, I’m working my way through this semester and organizing my work in a way that makes sense to me.

Enter Notion. I ran across The Redhead Academic and how she uses Notion for her own doctoral studies. She put together this fantastic tutorial and even has a template you can grab to use for yourself.

I’m new to using Notion, so the template helped me familiarize myself with the service. But now I’m burning it up.

I’ve quickly created my own dashboard for my studies and shared it with my entire cohort. So far, that dashboard allows us to keep our sanity.

I’ll have more updates for Notion soon, along with a few tutorials you might find handy.