Staying Organized: A Key to Success

By Sarah Waters, Staff Writer & Copy Editor

For many students, especially those enrolled in honors or AP classes, staying organized is a key element of success. However, it’s often something many of us struggle with; with the constant barrage of papers, emails, tests, quizzes, and projects getting overwhelming, keeping your schedule and materials organized is often difficult. It’s pressing to identify what helps with organization the most — each person has different requirements and organizational needs.

However, there are some aspects of organization that can universally help, regardless of specific needs. For example, keeping a planner is one of my most prized organizational tactics. Planners enable students to take note of all assignments, plan out necessary obligations before and after school, and ensure that nothing gets left by the wayside.

Furthermore, something that personally helps me is keeping a whiteboard on my wall next to where I study. Before I begin my homework, I write out all my assignments and check them off as they get completed. This gives me a sense of how much work I need to do per day, and also helps me to structure each night according to my workload. This ensures that each assignment gets the time necessary and also that no assignments get left carelessly uncompleted.

Another tactic that can be helpful is color-coding each subject. For example, making one’s English notebook and folder red, math notebook and folder blue, et cetera can help ensure that work stays where it’s supposed to be. This helps keep papers, packets and assignments separated and readily accessible whenever they are needed. Organization like this is especially helpful during class when there’s not a lot of time to hunt through a massive 500-page backpack pile full of assorted paper.

In terms of digital organization, making a folder per class on Google Drive helps to keep essays and assignments organized. It’s far easier to start with an organized and sorted Drive than to search for the 9th essay you’ve titled “Untitled Document.” Saving each completed assignment to a separate folder helps to declutter your digital space, which can often get disorganized more quickly than paper.

It’s important to determine what personally works for you in order to keep yourself organized. I know I’ve tried many tactics, only to devolve back into cluttered paper and folders serving more than one class. Identifying a few tactics that are easy to maintain and effective are important to any successful and less stressful experience in high school.