September marks the start of a new academic year and as such it’s an important time for many of us. After spending months with relatively little structure over the summer, it can be difficult to get back into the flow of following a more rigid school schedule. This blog post highlights some strategies you can implement to re-establish your momentum.
First and foremost, it’s a good idea to set clear goals. Take some time to sit down with a pen and paper (or a laptop if you prefer to type) and brainstorm about everything you’d like to achieve this year. It could be an academic goal such as improving or maintaining a grade in a particular subject or it could be something personal – maybe you want to run more or get involved in some extracurricular activities.
Somewhat related is investing in a planner; getting yourself a planner, calendar or journal is an important step towards becoming more organised. It’s a place where you can keep track of assignments and events, which is crucial especially as you move up in school and pursue more advanced qualifications. I personally like to use a separate planner for school events and a diary for more personal occasions. Things I put in each include upcoming lectures and deadlines, dates for tests and homework. I also recommend using Google calendar because it can be easily updated, which is super useful for events subject to change – and great to remind you of any upcoming online events such as webinars and Zoom calls.
Next, you’ll want to create a schedule. You will find it really hard to stay organised and up to date with your assignments without one. Going with the flow will likely result in you feeling stressed and overwhelmed, particularly if you’re in your final year of study. Important things to remember about schedules is that they should be a skeleton and not a comprehensive plan of your day. Taking too much of a pedantic approach to scheduling will make it much harder for you to actually stick to it. Oftentimes, you’ll have to change things around or you might want to take unscheduled breaks etc… By keeping your schedule light you can account for these unpredictable events. With that being said, don’t make it too sparse as the whole point is to provide a general structure for your day. Good things to include could be setting aside some time for homework and any volunteering or clubs you might have after school. If you have free periods making a plan for how you’ll use them is also helpful.
Organising your workspace is equally as important as organising your work. Think about your room; how well can you really work when it’s messy and disorganised? When you’ve got lots of clutter on your desk and your space is overcrowded it can be really difficult to focus. Not only because this clutter can block mental clarity, but also because it can actually become a distraction. You’ll feel much better working in a clean and organised environment which will allow you to get on with work, feel much better about doing it and be more productive. This also extends to your workspace at school: regularly clearing out your backpack and locker can help you to keep on top of everything.
Finally, making the effort to prep the night before can make a world of difference. Rushing about in the morning trying to make breakfast, iron your clothes and pack your bag at once is a recipe for disaster. Instead, taking some time in the evenings can work to lighten your load for the next day. And hey, if everything’s set out for you, you might even be able to get some extra sleep by waking up 10 or 15 minutes later!
Staying organised can make life a WHOLE lot easier. So, putting in a little bit of extra effort everyday will eventually build up to help you become a more productive and proactive version of yourself.
Tiffany Igharoro is a sixth form student. One of her favourite pastimes is writing as it helps her organise her thoughts creatively and dynamically. She has won awards and prizes for poetry, academic and scientific writing and short stories. Recently, she won a nationwide historical essay competition that opened her eyes to the importance of how things are told, and the impact ordinary people have on the world. She studied art GCSE and believes there is something incredible about finding links between drama, art and maths.
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