Guest Author - Michelle Anne Cope
It's a new school year with new clothes, shoes, friends, classes, clubs and things to do. How are you going to keep on top of all of your assignments, extracurricular activities and still have a social life? One word — organize.
It may sound like more homework, but in the long run, organizing will save you time and help keep your stress level down. Finding more time and attempting to stay calm are two things both teens and adults hope to achieve. Don't worry — more than likely you already have everything you need to create a system to keep yourself on-track for the school year. Let's start with a piece of paper and a pen, pencil, marker or crayon.
You’re going to make a list of exactly what you have to do that relates to your school life. You don't need to necessarily add items like bathing, dressing, eating, sleeping, or chores. These are given activities that you don't need to list to remember.
Start your list with a category for your classes and write down each class you're taking. Classes can often change throughout the year, but for now, concentrate on your current schedule. Next, make a new list of any clubs you are involved in at school, and make another new list for any sports-related activities.
Remember to keep focused on your current school schedule even if you will be changing clubs or sports in the next few months. You can also make a list for your other structured activities like music, dance, karate or other lessons that you’re involved in outside of school. When you finish with the lists, go back to each one and make note of the days and times for each class, club meeting, sport and other activities.
You now have a master plan. There are many ways to keep calendars and schedules these days. You can use your computer, phone, tablet, notebooks, school planners or a whiteboard. Use any type of schedule and calendar method you choose to record this information. You want to be able to review it easily. However, I strongly advise you keep a hard copy and revise it as new classes and activities are changed or added. It can sometimes be easier to get to a virtual list faster than a cyber list.
From your master plan, you can now make a folder or binder for each category. Example: For each class, make a folder or binder with notes, assignments, due dates and other projects. For each club, you can create a folder or binder for meeting dates, agendas and meeting minutes, as well as a list of any particular duties you are responsible to perform. You can continue to do this for each list. For sports-related and outside activities, your best resource is the coaching staff and activity leaders. Don’t be shy about asking for schedule information you do not have. Teachers, coaches, and leaders will appreciate that you are working hard to schedule your time and energy.
This exercise can keep you from missing assignments, deadlines, or being late for meetings, practices, and lessons. It is also a great way to keep track of your time, responsibilities, and commitments to make it easier when you want to schedule, oh, let's say — some fun stuff. We can’t forget about things like parties, movies, concerts or dates. They are also a very important part of school and your teenage life!
Now that you have your plan, I strongly suggest that you be aware of overloading yourself. While it's a good idea to be organized and efficient, it's not wise to be overwhelmed and take on more than what you can actually accomplish. If you see this as a possibility, you need to talk to your parents, teachers, counselors or coaches for advice and direction.
I would also love to hear your ideas about organizing and schedules! Please contact me with any comments or feedback you may have.