| Aug 28, 2017

Back to School: Time to Get Organized!

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It’s important to be organized. It’s extremely important to be organized for school. Study after study has shown that students who are properly organized get better grades, have less stress, and just generally do better in life. Along with less stress, an organized student is likely to have more confidence and more free time to pursue outside interests like athletics, arts and hobbies. Best of all, if you can get organized for school and stick with it, you’ll probably have better odds of a good working life once school is done. Here are some tips you can get started with even before the school year begins.

Keep your supplies sorted

It may seem mundane, but ensuring you have all your school supplies standing by and ready to go is important. You don’t want to be searching for printer paper the night before a report is due! Keep track of absolutely everything needed for your schoolwork, from pens and pencils to paper, highlighters, binders and so on, and make sure you’ve always got enough of it. This applies to your computer as well -- make sure everything’s working properly, the software is humming along, and that everything is properly backed-up.

Be aware of any extra resources you might need

Some courses require special supplies, such as books, research material, software and so on. Read your course description carefully, and make sure you know ahead of time what you might need to pull together as part of the course. Don’t be left scrambling at the last minute!

Set up a calendar and make a note of, well, everything

There are lots of free apps and websites that will let you create a digital calendar you can access anywhere, but it can also be handy to have a large section of your wall set aside for big paper calendars that allow you to see the whole school year at a glance. Put down everything you can find related to school: tests, assignments, field trips, holidays, just everything. What’s more, schedule your work before those events, so that you’re always studying and working in advance, calmly, confidently.

Setting up a thorough calendar at the start of the year is probably the most important thing you can do to de-stress. Yes, it can be scary to see it all in one place, even frightening, but you’ll see it’s just a case of working through everything bit by bit.

Create a study space that’s all yours

Set aside a space for doing your schoolwork and respect it. A desk, properly-lit, decorated according to your taste, will help you get things done. It’s critically important to respect that space -- don’t let it get piled high with junk! Keep it clean, make it a precious little corner of the world that’s all your own. Also important: keep all your work organized. A bookshelf, filing cabinet, incoming and outgoing trays, whatever you need. You don’t want your work getting misplaced, lost or forgotten.

Establish rhythms for your life

You’d be surprised how much a daily routine can reduce your stress. Knowing ahead of time when you’re supposed to get up, when you’re supposed to do homework, when you’re supposed to eat, rest and so on, can be very comforting. The same can be said for weeks, even semesters. This sort of organizing will make sure you have the time to study ahead for your classes, and make note of any areas of your schoolwork that require extra attention (or the help of a tutor).

Keep your daily life organized

Us humans need a lot of upkeep. We need to be washed, dressed, fed -- and sometimes we need medical attention too. It’s important, therefore, to keep the “daily living” part of your life organized. Keep a steady supply of any toiletries you need, such as makeup, toothpaste, shampoo and whatnot. Also keep an eye on your physical health, especially ensuring you’re on top of any medication you require.

Live a healthy lifestyle

If you’re not physically healthy, your schoolwork will stuffer. Live as healthy a lifestyle as you can, getting lots of exercise (not just gym class!), eating a healthy diet and proper, regular meals. Try to cover all the major food groups and avoid snacking -- and if you must snack try to keep it healthy. Yes, processed foods like chocolate, potato chips and so on can be tasty and (temporarily) satisfying, but they should only ever be a small part of your diet.



 

Set aside time for socializing and relaxing

There’s more to life than school. While minding your responsibilities, you also need to be a well-rounded person with a full life. That means yes, it’s okay to spend time with your friends just hanging out, chatting, gossiping, and laughing. Friends play an important role in de-stressing. Relaxation can also be found in a hobby or two. Even just lying in bed and listening to music can bring peaceful rest.

Discover your learning style and use it to your advantage

Research suggests that our brains have different ways of learning. In fact, only a minority of people thrive in the standard, one-size-fits-all approach employed by most skills. A simple quiz can help you discover how best your brain absorbs and retains knowledge. Once you’ve got that figured out, you can change how you study and tackle your assignments, working with your teachers to emphasize your learning style. It might well give your grades a major boost!

Monitor your stress and mental health

Our society still struggles to discuss mental health without judgement. However, our inner lives are a crucial part of our identity, and it’s absolutely critical to keep an eye on your heart and mind if you’re to succeed in school (or life). Don’t bottle up your feelings! Make sure you have someone responsible to talk to, such as a parent or counsellor. Stress, especially, can be horribly destructive if left to fester, no matter where it comes from (family, friends or school). There are many tools, even apps, to help you track your stress levels. Developing a healthy approach to stress and emotional struggles can be incredibly empowering. Indeed it can improve your odds of living a life that’s long, healthy and happy.

Get some sleep!

It’s impossible not to underestimate how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. Our brains need to rest and recover from the day, and if they don’t get that rest they have trouble functioning. Avoid staying up too late! It should be a top priority to get a good night’s sleep as often as possible. This is one of the best things you can do to keep your grades up.

Remember: you got this!

School can be tough. It can. But you can do it!. Make sure you remind yourself regularly that you’re fully capable of doing what you need to do. You’re stronger than you think you are! Staying organized is an excellent way of proving that.