Schoolwork Organization | 5 Tips For Being a Successful Student

by | May 16, 2024

For a student, organization is no new concept. As early as pre-school, organization is taught and instilled in students as an important part of development. Furthermore, the middle school years are the most important for learning executive functioning. Many students who have executive function deficits in high school and beyond, can be traced back to their middle school years and a lack of development in that area. So whether your student is about to enter, is currently, or is past middle school, these 5 tips should help them become more organized with their schoolwork. So without further ado, let’s jump into the first tip!

Tip 1: Get a Planner

This one comes as no surprise, but I can’t overstate how important this tip is. A Planner is the KEY to a student staying organized with their schoolwork! They come in many different forms, with the traditional being a classic pen and paper version with newer versions being digital apps that can send reminders. The type of planner a student uses depends on their preference as well as a number of other different factors. Is your student glued to their phone? Do they hate writing? Getting a digital planner app may be the way to go! Utilizing the calendar feature on their phone is a great way for students to stay organized. On top of this, they can receive digital alerts that will remind them that they have assignments that need to be completed.

On the other hand, a physical planner could be the better option for students that are easily distracted by their phone. Another great benefit is that a physical planner gets students into the habit of recording their assignments by hand and can be easily reached and used in school.

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Tip 2: Keep Track of Major Assignments

As students get older, teachers rely more and more on students to keep track of their schoolwork and important assignments. In high school, students will be juggling multiple projects at once. For that reason, it’s imperative for students to keep track of when these major projects and assignments are due. Forgetting about a project and doing it at the last moment can lead to less than quality work and possibly a bad grade (on top of added stress). This links back to tip 1 where students should have some sort of planner. In this planner, students should be marking major assignments down far into the future in order to make sure they don’t forget about those due dates that creep up on them.

Tip 3: Form a Routine (and Stick to It!)

Humans are habitual by nature. It explains why it’s so hard to create a new routine, but easy to maintain an old one. Forming a new routine involving organization is a surefire way to stay productive and organized in the long run. The unfortunate thing is that these routines take time to form and are easy to quit early on. The best way to get started with a new routine is to incorporate rewards into it. Maybe you get a snack after completing each major assignment. Incentivizing rewards creates a desire for students to stick to it and before they know it, the routine becomes habitual!

Tip 4: Keep an Organized Binder

When students are juggling multiple classes, it becomes easy for them keep an organized binder/folder for each class. Making sure all of your assignments and study materials are easily reachable goes a long way in staying organized. It also helps students remain motivated. Many students who are disorganized, have difficulty with motivation. This lack of motivation stems from the stress that the disorganization initially caused.

A great way to approach an organized binder or folder is by color coding it. Have a color for each major subject or class. Within each subjects folder or binder, have tabs that are labeled and easy to read. The tabs should be split in to major categories such as: Major projects, homework, classwork, reading materials, etc. The way in which you organize these tabs can change based on the student’s preference and class requirements.

Tip 5: Have a Dedicated Study Space

The importance of a dedicated study space can’t be understated. This space should be free of any distractions and separate from where a student likes to relax. Bonus points for a study space that’s in a separate room or location from where the student sleeps or hangs out. If a student likes watching TV in the living room, the kitchen table may not be the best spot if it’s nearby. If the student plays video games in their room, it may be worth setting up a desk in a different room at home for them. Having a discernable separation from work and play is a great motivator and helps focus students.

The Essentials

Student organization is a necessary skill for all students to develop. It’s useful both in and outside of the classroom. While these skills are often taught in middle school through various other executive functioning exercises, many students ‘fall through the cracks’ starting in high school. We recommend employing these tips all together to improve the success of a student’s schoolwork organization. If you need more guidance on developing schoolwork organization or other related executive functioning skills, check out our executive functioning tutors here!

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