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The ABCs to Helping Students Stay Organized

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Staying organized can be a difficult issue for students with their busy schedules!  I’m very excited to introduce to you today’s guest blogger, Leslie Josel of Order Out of Chaos She’s sharing some tips on how we can help our students get organized and stay that way! 


Winter break is over! Now is the perfect time to get your student organized for the New Year. Here are some sure fire tips for staying organized during the school year.

Use an academic planner to stay organized. Whether you use a paper planner or electronic calendar, make sure your planner is set up as a grid system so you can see your week at a glance.  Record all your after school activities, weekend commitments, class assignments and projects.  Include a row in the planner for “Organizing” so that you can plan your locker, knapsack and binder clean outs.

Make a to-do list every day. Put the most important task at the top and do that one first. You will feel a sense of accomplishment when you have tackled the hardest “to-do” first.

Set achievable goals. You are more likely to be complete your tasks if they are broken down into manageable parts. It is much easier to write one paragraph for your essay in an afternoon than it is to complete the entire term paper. Check your planner for available pockets of time and schedule accordingly.  Setting unrealistic goals sets you up for failure.

Free Gifts.  Free periods and study halls are gifts! Use them! Focus on your assignments and to do list in your planner.

Keep your work with you. You can always get an assignment done whether you are on the bus after an away game or at a doctor’s appointment. Be mindful of your time robbers!

Organize your environment. It is just as important to have your bedroom, study area or back pack organized. Organizing these zones will help you stay on schedule and focused. By keeping your areas organized you will avoid the dreaded “I am looking for that science lab to hand in and I have no idea where it is!”

School holidays:  Use your down time during school breaks or conference days to get a jump on your long term assignments and projects.  Better to work on these important assignments when you don’t have the extra pressure of homework, activities, etc.

Set up a special organizing system that works for you. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of papers, homework sheets, handouts, etc. that take over your school life.  Use a master binder, accordion file or individual notes books to corral papers. Make sure the system is easy to use and maintained.


lesliejosel_avatar_80x80Leslie Josel is the Principal of Order Out of Chaos, an organizing consulting firm specializing in student organizing and chronic disorganization. She is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and holds her ADHD and Hoarding Specialist certifications from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization.  Leslie is known as a respected resource on ADHD and Executive Functioning in students and has been featured in national broadcast and print media on these subjects. Leslie is also the creator of the award winning “Academic Planner: A Tool for Time Management”. Connect with Leslie at


Thursday 29th of August 2013

I love this list. Especially the tips about "free gifts." I always have something with me to read in case I get some free time. Students take note!!


Thursday 29th of August 2013

this is desk/work station at school is always a mess midyear...the one area I suck at...I need to get better organized...thanks for the tips...always such great ideas Michelle.