If you could ask any student to describe school life in one word, the majority of the answers will most likely be “stressed”. Why? Students are not taught a more organized routine that allows them to balance class, homework and their extracurriculars. For this reason, some students do not work while in school, or sacrifice grades and social lives to balance their multiple obligations. Therefore, I have come up with 5 ways for the average students to become more organized for school.
1. Agenda/Planner/To-Do Lists
There are so many tools our there that can help a student or anyone become more organized for school. To be specific, there are no words to describe how grateful I am for my planner, especially during my first year at university. I used a hard copy planner that showed the overall monthly outline as well as individual pages of the week to help me organize my classes, homework and work. A small tip is to designate a specific colour to each topic. For example, in my planner I use red pen for work, purple pen for social events and blue pen for homework. Don’t forget to add the due dates for each assignment in as well. By using a planner, you can lay out your thoughts visually so you won’t forget your tasks, and you can see how much free time you have.
2. Alarm Clock/Time Apps
The alarm clock method helped my friends become more organized during our four years at university. Basically, you would create alarms for every task you have that day, including breaks. For instance, let’s say you start your day at 8am sharp. Here, you would create an alarm for 8am-9:30am (1.5 hours) to complete your class readings, followed by a 9:30am-9:45am alarm (15 minute) for a small break. After this, you would continue the pattern of a work period and then break until you believe you have worked enough for that day. This method is mostly helpful if you have a lot of tasks to do for a day, specifically for homework.
3. Blocking Apps
The number one reason why a lot of students are not more organized at school is because they waste their time scrolling through social media rather than work on assignments. For this reason, some companies came out with blocking apps you can download onto your phone and/or laptop. Applications such as Offline (phone), Self Control(laptop), Freedom (phone), and Cold Turkey (laptop) are simply a few apps that allow you to block any website, social app or notifications at any time for a designated period of time. Blocking apps are more useful to students who cannot fight the urge to check their phones/social sites, or if you are working in a busy environment such as a cafe.
I know what you are thinking, music is simply another distraction. Well, it can also be a great source of concentration if you let it. The easiest way to listen to music while completing an assignment is to listen to instrumental music. When we listen to our favourite song we find ourselves singing along to the lyrics. However, if you listen to instrumental music for movie soundtracks, you will easily slip into a working frenzy. My favourite school work playlist is the Disney Instrumental Playlist on Spotify. My friends and I love to type along to the beats of our all time classic fairy tales. Spotify and Youtube have a lot of instrumental playlists such as “cafe vibes” to help you become more organized.
5. Schedule Breaks
This may feel a little irrelevant among ways to stay more organized, but scheduling breaks is one of the key factors for organization. Humans are creatures who run on energy and love to move. In other words, we have a need to move around, and we need to fuel our energy with food. This is also a reason you might hear some people say they hate office jobs, because they are required to sit down at a desk for long periods of time. For this reason, I recommend you adapt what I call a school method. Both in elementary school and in university, teachers would give you a 15 minute every 1.5 hours of class. For example, in a 3 hour lecture, a class would get 15 mins to stretch their legs halfway through the class. Take this method when you are working, and designate 15 minutes to grab something to eat or make a coffee after you work hard for 1.5 hours straight. By doing this, you not only become more organized, but you also ensure your don’t drive yourself crazy with so much work.