Planning Ahead for the New Year: Strategies to Get Organized

The new year is right around the corner, and we think it’s the perfect opportunity to start preparing! If you’ve got a student who likes to leave their school materials lying around the house, here are Tutor Doctor’s top strategies to get organized for the New Year!

Do a recap of the previous year. As we always say at Tutor Doctor, failure can be a good thing! Negative experiences and setbacks help us to build resilience as well as develop new strategies that will help overcome these challenges. The first thing we recommend students (and parents) do is to make two lists – one list of what worked, and one of what didn’t. We like to make two columns, using the second column for notes and additional information.

What worked: Notes:
Charging the laptop every night before bed An extra battery would have been helpful at times
Using separate folders for each class Use the same color folders as last year
Preparing 5 days worth of healthy snacks on Sunday night No changes, this worked great!

For your list of what didn’t work, use the second column to propose solutions!

What didn’t work: Proposed solution:
Using regular lined paper to write down weekly assignments Buy a proper agenda and color-code each week’s assignments by subject/difficulty
Filming myself doing a presentation for class and finding out that the microphone wasn’t loud enough Prepare for big projects ahead of time to avoid last-minute technical difficulties
Having trouble focusing on my morning class Go to bed earlier to ensure I get enough sleep so I’m not sleepy during my first class

Once you have these lists made, it will give you a much better idea of how to plan for next year!

Organization. The standard organizational tips apply here, and many students are surprised to find how much academic improvement they experience just by making a few simple changes to their weekly routine. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • Develop a priority-based system for your agenda. Students should be able to quickly glance at their agenda and be able to see what “high priority” assignments will be due soon. While doing this step, students should also make an estimate for the completion time. Finally, use a system to identify the responsibilities that should take priority – a designated highlighter or sticky note color for time-intensive responsibilities is a popular choice.
  • Create an organizational system for your materials. We love color-coding here at Tutor Doctor, and we’ve found it’s one of the simplest ways for students to separate their materials. Assign a color to each class or subject, and you’re done! Let’s use an example – say you choose “blue” for math. Use a blue notebook for this class, and highlight all your assignments in your agenda using a blue pen. The goal is to be able to easily identify each of your course materials easily.

With these two agenda tips, students will be able to quickly see both a) the subjects with upcoming homework due, and b) the most time-intensive assignments that should be prioritized.

To learn more great organizational tips for the new year, click here!