Learning how to get organized, stay focused, and get things done are must-have
skills when it comes to managing your schoolwork. Beyond helping you get good grades,
these skills help you in just about everything in life. The more you practice, the
better you'll get.
Organize Your Stuff. Being organized makes everything else easier.
It helps you get to work faster without wasting time looking for stuff.
Keep your assignments and class information organized by subject. Put them in binders,
notebooks, or folders. If you find yourself stuffing loose papers in your bag or grabbing
different notebooks for the same class, it's time to stop and reorganize!
Clean out your backpack regularly. Decide where to keep returned assignments and
things you want to hold on to. Offload things you no longer need to carry around.
Organize Your Space. You need a good workspace — someplace
quiet enough to focus. It's best to work at a desk or table where you can spread out
your work. Have a place set aside for homework. That way, when you sit down, your
mind knows you're there to work and can help you focus more quickly.
Organize Your Time. Use a planner or organization app to keep
track of your schoolwork:
Write down all your assignments and when they're due.
Break big projects into parts. Note the dates when each part needs to be completed.
Mark in your planner when you'll work on each part.
Mark the dates you'll have tests, then make a note of when you'll study for them.
Don't leave things until the last minute — you'll only end up working twice
as hard to do half as well. One sure way to reduce test
anxiety is to prepare by studying (really!).
Enter other activities on your calendar — such as team practices, drama
rehearsals, plans with friends, etc. This helps you see ahead of time when things
might get too busy to get all your work done. Use your planner to schedule what time
you'll do your schoolwork on days you have other activities.
Avoid Distractions. When you multi-task you're less focused. That
means you're less likely to do well on that test. Park your devices and only check
them after your work is done.
Some people concentrate best when it's quiet. Others say they study best if they
listen to background music. If you study with music on, make sure it isn't going to
sidetrack you into singing the lyrics and dancing all over your room. If you find
yourself reading the same page over and over, it's a clue that the music is a distraction,
not a help.
Take Breaks. Taking a short break between assignments can help
your mind stay fresh and focused.
Get up from your desk, move, stretch, or walk around to clear your head. Allow
your mind to absorb what you've just studied. Break time is when you can put on a
song that makes you dance and sing! Just make sure you get back to your studies in
a few minutes.
Refocus Yourself. If you find yourself getting distracted and
thinking about other things, pull your attention back into study mode as soon as possible.
Remind yourself that now it's time to stay on task.
Get It Done!
Stay focused as you do the final steps and details. Encourage yourself —
you're almost at the finish line! Check your completed work. Put your work into the
right folder or binder. Pack up your backpack for tomorrow. Now you've got it DONE.
In summary, here's a quick checklist of things that can help you organize, focus,
and get it done:
DO know your deadlines.
DO make a calendar of stages and final due dates.
DO include social events on this calendar for time management.
DO understand the assignment and expectations.
DO give yourself a quiet place to study with all the materials you need.
DO give yourself brief breaks.
DON'T put work off until the last minute; you'll be too frantic to focus.
DON'T do your homework late at night or in bed.
DON'T let yourself be bored. Find the aspect of the project or paper that interests
you. If you're dying of boredom, something's not right.
If you need more tips on staying focused, ask a teacher, school
counselor, or a parent for help. It's their job to assist in your learning.