Establish a Routine
Routine is a sure way to establish consistency, which is key to enjoying a smooth(er) semester. Take an evening to sit down and create a routine that includes everything from classes to homework, studying to extracurricular activities. Set up a daily and weekly routine that ensures you’re filing notes and assignments, as well as regularly decluttering your binders, bags, and notebooks.
Routine will be broken sometimes, but it will ensure that 80% of the time you are getting things done and staying on track, and it will be easier to get back on track when you fall off during the holidays or during exams and big projects.
Get a Planner &/or Master Calendar
Writing things down is the easiest way to remember them. It also makes is simpler to organize everyone’s schedule and to see at a glance who needs to be where, when. Fill in the non-negotiables – class times, extra curricular activities, holidays, meetings, events, birthdays, etc. – and then add in the more flexible activities like doctor appointments, exercise, dates, vacations, etc.
Use the tool that works best for you, whether that is a traditional notebook, large wall calendar, Google Keep, Asana, or some other online tool that will sync across your devices. Keep that planner on-hand as much as possible, to write down everything that you need to remember. And, be as detailed as you need, even if that means scheduling each hour from wake-up time to bedtime.
The surest way to lose assignments, fall behind on homework, and achieve “going crazy” status is to surround yourself with clutter and visual distractions. Go through and clear out anything that is old, falling apart, past its expiry date, empty, etc. Declutter everything from your homework area to the kitchen fridge, empty out bags and purses, and discard or donate any clothes that don’t fit or you no longer wear. Aim to start with a clean slate; this step will also set you up for the next tip below…
Give Everything Its Place
Before the busyness of the new school year hits, anticipate the various activities and daily tasks that will be taking place and designate spaces and tools to meet those needs. Set up a dedicated study and homework area; take stock of the scissors, pencil crayons, pencils, pens, etc. that you have and organize them in a specific drawer and pencil holders; make sure your printer isn’t running out of ink and stock extra cartridges nearby; stock up on paper. Think of everything that you may need throughout the year and make sure it has a dedicated space so you know exactly where it is – and where to return it.
Do in Advance
Figure out what can be done in advance and get it done the night or week before. For instance, make lunches the night before rather than waiting until the morning of. Make meals and prep food in batches on the weekend so it’s a simple matter of grab and go/heat/plate during the week. Lay out all your outfits for the week, iron your clothes, and make sure you have the appropriate accessories, socks, jewelry, and other finishing touches ready for a streamlined morning. Make sure your bag or backpack is packed with your books, binders, and even your water bottle and lunch (if it doesn’t need ot be refrigerated).
Once school is underway, get a head start on any assignments, projects, or essays that will be due later in the semester and try to work ahead if allowed when you have some extra time or finish homework early.
Wake up Earlier
Prevent the last-minute rushing around by waking up earlier than you usually would (or used to, last school year). It might only be 5-10 minutes, but you’ll notice the difference in your stress levels with a bit of a time buffer. Waking up earlier is easier when you also go to bed earlier.
Preparation is key to acing the school year. With a bit of forethought and anticipation of what it will bring, you can start the new season with confidence and less stress – and maintain that throughout the year!