School Organization Tips for Students

Adults are fond of saying, “Use your time wisely.” They say this because it's actually an important skill to learn while young. Many adults in the workforce still don't know how to use time wisely; those people generally are not successful. Organization is the key to using time wisely. Without organization, it's hard to remember which assignments are due when and what is supposed to be done that day. With a few easy steps, organization can be self-taught. If practiced every day, it will become a habit.

1 Find a Place for Homework

Success at school starts at home. First, decide where a good place to do homework is, whether it’s the kitchen table or a desk in the bedroom. Wherever it is, make sure it’s in a quiet space where the television can be turned off. To start fresh, clean away clutter from the desk area. An easy way to clean up is to get three boxes, marked "Keep," "Throw Away" or "Give Away." Put each item from the desk area into one of these boxes, continuing until the desk area is completely cleared away. Add only items necessary for studying back into the space, such as a cup for pencils and pens, paper and a reading light. If the homework area is in a multi-purpose or shared space, like a dining table, it is a bit trickier to keep it organized. Decide where to keep all the homework materials. A bookshelf, drawer or even a backpack for papers, notebooks and supplies will do. Put everything away when finished.

2 Keep Schoolwork Organized

Doing homework is only the first step. Sometimes students do the work, and then forget to hand it in. Don’t be one of those students. Have a binder for all your school work. Young elementary school students can use a plastic envelope for their papers. Older elementary school students do fine with one binder, divided into compartments for different subjects. Middle and high school students will need one binder for every class. After homework is finished, put it into the binder or folder. Put this immediately into the school backpack. Next, put the backpack next to the door, so no time will be lost in the morning searching for it. Do this every night so it will become as automatic as brushing your teeth. During class, turn in the homework as directed by the teacher. Some teachers have students put it in a box at the start; others ask for it at the end of class. If the teacher forgets to ask for homework, offer it to the teacher.

3 Write Everything Down

Calendars and to-do lists are two tools that help organization, too. Calendars are useful for keeping track of assignments, especially long-term assignments like term papers. Writing down due dates, including when research should be done, when the first draft should be complete, and all other assignment components will cut down on procrastination. A big master to-do list is important as well. Every evening, make a list for the next day. Look at all your classroom notes and your calendar, then make a to-do list of things that need to be done the following day. During the day, check off the list items as they are completed.

Margaret Dilloway's debut novel, "How to be an American Housewife," is out now and her second, "The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns," will be published in August 2012. She has been a writer for more than 10 years and has written for publications such as "San Diego Family Magazine" and the Huffington Post. Dilloway holds a B.A. from Scripps College.