The time management and organization skills you develop now as a student or young adult can be beneficial for the rest of your life. No matter what grade or age you are now, it’s not too late to make some adjustments to how you plan and complete your work.

By Wendi Ostroff

As a student, school is your job, so do the best you can. These tips are proven to be successful, and whether you start with one or all of them, you’re heading in the right direction. Remember, organization is a skill that will take practice.

  1. One of the first steps is to make a to-do list, or write down all homework assignments and extracurricular activities in a planner or on a calendar. Having a calendar with things to do and deadlines posted is a great visual. Prioritize in the order they need to be done.
  2. Cross things off or make a check mark next to items as you complete them. There’s a rewarding feeling of having accomplished something and then being able to mark it off shows progress.
  3. When you have a due date, count the number of days until the deadline and make a plan of action. Take into account other activities on your plate that are time consuming. This is also known as a study plan and is best when spread out over a number of days/weeks.
  4. If you have a large project or assignment, break it into reasonable chunks and tackle one piece at a time. Do the math for how long you have until deadline, and create a balance of chipping off a little bit daily. Remember to add it to your list of things to do so you can cross it off and feel you are making progress.
  5. Create a designated work space to help stay organized and then you don’t need to spend time looking for things. This goes for your binder. Keeping subjects sorted, either through sections or folders, will help you from spending extra time searching through random pages of work. Have labeled folders at home that are designated for different topics with the intention to help you stay organized. While studying at a coffee shop seems like it would be fun, it’s really hard to get anything done in that kind of distracting environment.
  6. Set realistic goals and take breaks to be the most efficient and effective with your time. Start small, have some success and then add on a little at a time. If you are already behind, you will have to step up how much you get done in less time, but you still need to be realistic and give yourself breaks. Getting enough sleep helps too.
  7. Stay on task. If you find yourself getting sidetracked or distracted, take a break and know that the sooner you finish the better you’ll feel. This is very common and will take some practice to improve. Set a timer or alarm to work for a designated amount of time before you allow yourself some down time for that distraction. Start with a realistic amount of time, maybe even 35 or 30 minutes, and work your way up to 45 minutes or an hour. It’s best to even have a short break after an hour of studying or working.
  8. Remember a few short words of wisdom: Follow your plan; breathe; productivity counts; resist distractions; think positive; get it done!