Being organized can be a tricky business.
It’s one of those things that in many ways is incredibly simple, but for many high school students (and, er, adults equally…) it seems as difficult as climbing Everest.
For many teens, it’s their disorganization that is holding them back from the grades they’re capable of.
Being organized is a learnt skill
Unless you are a Monica and naturally want everything to be in its perfect place, being organized is a skill that you can develop.
This may sound a bit ‘foo foo’, but being organized is a state of mind. Organization manifests in the physical things we do and the way we do them, but you have to have things sorted mentally before your physical world becomes neat and tidy.
Chances are your teen will not become organized passively — they’re going to have to make a conscious effort to develop good habits, which in time will become second nature.
Of course, this will not happen overnight. It may take a week, a few weeks, or even months. But that’s okay. To borrow a cliché, every marathon starts with a single step.
3 must do’s for being organized
That’s enough of the philosophical from us — now here are 3 fiercely practical tips to help your teen get organized.
1. Have a home for your stuff
Your teen should have a book / folder / shelf / tray / all of the above for each of their school subjects. They might find it helpful to use all of these things. Stationery and storage is your friend when it comes to organization.
Having a home for all of your stuff, but PARTICULARLY your study stuff, is going to help your teen stop leaving their notes, their books and their school equipment all over their room (or possibly your whole house!). When you designate space for particular things, it’s way easier to establish a system where everything you use for studying has it’s own place.
2. Put things in their place, not just wherever you happen to leave them
I got this rule from a friend a few years ago and I really thank them for it. Instead of just putting stuff down on the desk/table/wherever you happen to be standing, perhaps with the intention of putting things away later, I strongly encourage your teen to get into the habit of putting things in their place STRAIGHT AWAY.
Sometimes yes, this feels like a drag — you can’t be stuffed going over to the folder and filing away whatever it is — but boy, is this little trick a time and stress-saver.
You’re saving yourself putting the item away at a later time, and you’re making sure that you can’t lose it!
3. Plan ahead
As we’ve said above, being organized is a state of mind. And an organized mind plans ahead.
Organized students know what classes they have the next day. They know what is going on at school over the next couple of weeks. They know when all of their assignments are due. They know when their exams will be.
They might even use a diary, or a weekly, monthly or even yearly calendar.
Organized students take a little bit of time to think about what is coming up, which allows them to plan how they’re going to use their time most effectively.
Planning ahead prevents students from finding themselves in stressful situations, because there are very few surprises.
If your teen doesn’t have a wall planner in their room, they can be really helpful for keeping an eye on what’s coming up.
No forgotten-about assignments. No missed deadlines. No missing bits of paper.
For more organizational tips check out this article!
We can learn a lot about organization from each other, so if you have some handy tricks up your sleeve that help keep YOUR life in order, we’d love for you to share them in the comments below!