25 February 2012

Tip #2 - Organisation

... or organization. Whichever you prefer.

So, we've all been there. Starting a new year or semester, or even at a random point in time: You decide that you have been far too disorganised and need to get it together. You go out and buy a new diary, pens, plans out an excellent study timetable that will put you way ahead of everyone else. And you're lucky if it lasts a week.

Some of you won't even get that far. You feel like disorganisation is just unavoidable - possibly like a cage you missed the chance to get out of. Whatever your situation, I'm pretty sure that most of us, one way or another, wish we were more organised.

How can you get organised... and more importantly - make it last!? I don't profess to have all the answers, and my suggestions won't benefit everyone, but hopefully they will help you.

1. Baby steps - I firmly believe that breaking a habit takes time; often, more than we are willing to commit. If you want to change your ways and become more organised, you will need to have the focus to work on it over a period of a few weeks. Work on it a bit at a time. Start off by getting in the habit of writing down everything you need to do in a diary. Don't have all your notes in different places - record your homework for all your subjects in the one place. That way, if you are ever unsure of what you need to do, you need only open up your diary. The next week, focus on how you use your time - sit down in chunks of half an hour (no Facebook etc!) and do work. Then stop, take a break. Then, start again for another half hour. Build up your ability to focus on working by doing it in short sessions. You will be more productive this way, than if you try to sit down and work for three hours straight. The week after, focus on class organisation. Make sure that when you leave for school in the morning, you have everyting you need for class (completed homework tasks, pens, books, textbooks). If you aren't ready for class, you won't be able to learn properly, and by the time you get home to start homework, you will already be behind.

2. External Factors - Your organisation isn't just about study. It's also about the other personal factors that will affect your ability to study. Are you sleeping properly, or do you wake up late (and have no time to get yourself ready). Do you eat properly, or are you over/under eating? Both extremes will have a negative effect on your ability to concentrate, just like sleep. Are you doing regular exercise? Obviously as an IB student, it is easy to find yourself swamped and have no time to go and play sport for the recommended 30min per day. Just aim to get up and move a bit each day - skip rope outside for 15min in the afternoon. Go for a short walk. I can assure you that exercise will help you to work more effectively, so it is well worth sparing a bit of time each afternoon or morning to do something. Organise regular meals, appropriate amount of sleep and regular exercise into your day.

3. Notes etc - There is nothing worse than having good notes, but never being able to find them. You can get little drawers for your books and papers, sort them by subject to keep track of them. You don't need to be a neat freak - just keep everything in a place where you know where to find it. Label all your books, folder, computer files etc so that they can easily be identified.

That's just a few ideas to get you on the right track. :)


  1. I appreciate your efforts...well done and thank you.