High School Organization Tips to Help You Succeed

Padya Paramita

High School Organization Tips to Help You Succeed

Let’s face it. There is so much going on in your life as a high school student. You’re rushing from finishing up your classes to getting to your club Zoom meetings on time. If you’re an upperclassman, you have to find time between completing homework assignments to look up colleges and decide what you’ll write about for your personal statement. With so much to keep track of, it’s easy to get completely overwhelmed and lose motivation to do anything at all. That’s why it’s extra important that you follow a list of high school organization tips.

As you think about how to be more productive over the next few years, it may be hard to know where to begin. In this blog, we have included high school organization tips that can help you get started to find a balance in your schedule, manage time well, and make sure you’re prioritizing your activities right. 

Take Advantage of Calendars and Planners

In terms of high school organization tips, the first on almost every list involves using a planner to write down what you’ve got coming up, and for a reason. As a student, you’re balancing a lot between classes, extracurricular activities, test prep, and looming college applications. It can be hard to keep track of everything that’s coming up and what’s due. Set reminders when you’ve got an important due date around the corner so that you don’t have to rush to finish the entire assignment within a few hours!

Whether you prefer a physical planner or notebook, or you want to download Google Calendar or a similar app, make sure you’re current with your assignments so that you don’t miss a single deadline. It can be tempting to fill up your entire schedule with academics and activities but make sure to also schedule free time so that you can catch your breath, eat, and rest. 

Utilize Notebooks and Binders

A big part of staying organized includes making sure that the work from each of your subjects is kept separately. Maintaining one notebook and binder for each subject can keep all of your materials in one place — as well as prevent you from mixing them up. The last thing you want is your history notes interrupted by math problems or chemistry equations. 

Label each notebook with the course title and stick to it. Plus, if you use a binder, you won’t stuff all of your papers in your bag and lose them when you need them the most. Every few days - perhaps twice a month - you can check in with the syllabus and see which papers are okay to recycle. Decluttering is important when it comes to high school organization tips, and maintaining specific notebooks and binders can help you on that mission.

Download Study Apps

If you’re someone who focuses better with screens, there are plenty of apps out there to help high school students get more organized. You might use tools such as EverNote or GoodNotes to keep track of lectures and class materials. Of course, there are those good old calendar apps we mentioned previously. You may also want to take advantage of Grammarly, a software that auto checks your grammar, spelling, and sentence structures once installed in your web browser. Apps like Duolingo can help you learn and practice languages while the Khan Academy app contains thousands of educational videos on all high school subjects including AP courses and playlists dedicated to SAT prep.

Create To-Do Lists

This addition among the high school organization tips goes hand in hand with the introduction of a planner. To-do lists are excellent for reminding you what you’ve got going on each day, week, and month. At the beginning of each week, start a new list. Assign different tasks to each day so that you don’t get overwhelmed with everything at once. Complete the easier tasks first so that you can leave more time for the tougher assignments.

If you don’t want to start a physical list, you can always download apps such as Todoist or Microsoft To Do, where you add entries of what needs to get done and assign due dates. 

Take it One Task at a Time

Speaking of subtasks, you might feel less motivated to complete a large homework assignment or to study for finals because they cover such a big chunk of material. It’s understandable that you may feel anxious when you’ve got due dates and deadlines, so make sure that you break down big tasks into smaller ones. Don’t try to do everything at once. If needed, write down each small task, and check them off once they’re complete. This can help elevate your motivation and build positive habits as you prepare yourself for success when the time comes to take on even bigger hurdles, such as your college applications or AP exams.

Don’t Save Anything Until the Last Minute

Next on our list of high school organization tips comes the reminder that while deadlines literally indicate the last day that you can submit something, it doesn’t mean that it should also be the day when you start working on a task. If you’ve got an essay due two weeks from now, it would be ideal for you to start researching the topic now, allowing time to cover a lot of material. Plus, the earlier you start writing, the longer you’ll have to revise and polish it. You might also find that starting early means that you’ll have the time to ask your teacher questions that emerge as you go through what you’ve got to write. Saving it for the last minute also suggests that there will be a lot of extra pressure to get it finished on time, so chances are, you end up submitting unsatisfactory work, which isn’t ever ideal.

Develop a Study Environment that Works — But Change it Up When Necessary

How students find productivity varies depending on the individual and their study style. Even if your friend works best in the library, you might find that you’re actually better at concentrating when you sit in your living room. It doesn’t matter where your study space is — what’s important is that you find what works for you, and stick to it.

You may have to try different spaces to discover your preferred study area and that’s okay. Once you’ve determined the ideal spot, eliminate all distractions, and actually work on completing the tasks. You might find that sometimes you need a change of scene when an assignment is particularly tough. In such cases, you could work sitting at a coffee shop for a day, or study at your friend’s house, and come back a day or two later to your usual spot. 

Set Aside Time for Schoolwork and Avoid Distractions 

Many of our high school organization tips naturally involve time management. You’re balancing a whole lot these four years. It can be tempting to want to go hang out with your friends or spend all day working on a project for one of your clubs. So, it’s extra crucial that you still keep at least two to three hours a day fixed for completing your homework and other assignments. When that time arrives, make sure you’re entirely focused. Don’t go on Instagram when you’re supposed to be studying for the SAT. 

One thing I’ve found particularly useful (and even used while writing this blog!) is setting a timer on your phone to block out chunks of time - 40 minutes perhaps - when you will only focus on your work and not check your phone or switch to another tab. Once the time is up, you can take a short break before returning to what you were doing. This helps keep your concentration on the task at hand. They’ll get done quicker than you had originally anticipated this way!

Practice Self Care

This entry might seem out of place when compared with the others, but it’s important that you get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, and make sure to eat three meals a day so that you can stay awake and focused. Maintaining a fixed time for bed is also essential, as staying up late will tire you out for the rest of the day. You should also try to wake up early, so you don’t have to rush and can still find time to eat breakfast. Take breaks between activities on your agenda and schedule time for exercise. High school students’ schedules are often completely packed so it’s essential that you give your body and mind time to re-energize and stay organized in your assignments.  

Now that you’ve gone over the high school organization tips, hopefully you can get started on implementing some of them into your daily routine. Maintaining a schedule and developing good study habits can help you go a long way in managing anxiety and finding ways to stay on top of your work and succeed in high school. Happy organizing! 

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