Here are a few tips to help students manage their time, avoid clutter, set goals and stay on an organized path to success.
Set realistic goals during the school year, and break those large goals into mini-goals. Write these goals down on index cards and keep them in a highly visible place where you can see them every day. Writing down your goals makes them more concrete, and motivates you to keep working toward them.
Wake up early enough for school to arrive well ahead of time. If you need 30 minutes to get up, shower and dress, pad that time by waking up at least 45 minutes prior to your departure. To ensure you don’t turn off your alarm clock and go back to sleep, place your clock at the far end of your room. This way, you actually have to get out of bed to turn it off, and you’re most likely to stay up.
Prepare your wardrobe
Before you go to bed each night, choose, iron and lay out your clothes for the next day. This way, you’ll be all set to dress and go in the morning.
Be careful not to build clutter as the year progresses. Create separate folders for school announcements, tests that have been graded, papers you must give to your parents and so on. As papers become outdated, such as an event that has passed, toss them immediately.
Make to-do lists
Always spend a minimum of 15 minutes per day, preparing your To-Do list for tomorrow. In doing so, you will know exactly what tasks you have to accomplish the next day.
Effective study area
Designate a quiet, well-lit area for studying. Don’t study in front of the television, or in an area of your home where you’re bound to be distracted. Hang a Do Not Disturb sign on your door. If you can’t find a quiet spot at home, go to the library. In addition, you should study while sitting at a table or desk. Avoid studying in a very comfortable chair or a bed, which may cause you to feel drowsy.
Get a good night’s rest
This will ensure you are alert and ready to learn the following day.
An apple a day
Eat three healthy meals each day, along with fruit for snacks. Don’t overload on sweets, which cause many people to feel tired.
While you may sign up for extra school activities, such as basketball or cheerleading, don’t take on too much. First determine how much study time you need. Then, choose one or two recreational activities that you enjoy.
Use a student planner
Use a good student planner or organizer. The ones that have pocket folders, dividers and planning calendars are ideal.
Use one calendar
Use one calendar to plan all of your school and personal activities, rather than two or more. When you use more than one, you run the risk of scheduling conflicts and missed appointments. This is very important. Heed the old proverb, “a man who wears two watches, never knows the correct time.”
You may consider color-coding similar activities on your calendar. For example, highlight all upcoming tests in yellow, study time in green and recreational activities in pink.
Write it down
When you learn of an upcoming test, event or anything you must prepare for or attend, immediately jot it in your planner. Don’t wait for later, or you may forget about it.
Break up your study time
Determine how many study hours you need, and schedule study time in your planner. For example, if you need six hours of time to study for a test, you may break that time up into six sessions, of one hour each. Choose the six days, and make a Study Time notation in your calendar.
Schedule consistent study times
Set aside time every day for study, and make it consistent. For example, set your study time for each afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m. Whatever you do, avoid last-minute studying and cramming.
Break it up
Break up big tasks into smaller, bite-sized jobs. For instance, if you have to study three chapters in your history book, study one chapter at a time each day. If you have to work on a project, break it down into three or four stages.