This article is dedicated to those of you who have an extraordinary ability to forget tasks way too quickly, and favour having your day concretely planned down on paper. With the impending start of school term again, how can students with incredibly busy schedules remember every single piece of to-do, and lay it out evenly to prevent work from piling up in a gigantic heap? In this article, we shall break this complex topic of school work management into simple steps and take a look at how we can improve this important skill of personal organisation.
Step 1: List Down Your Work
The first necessary step of cultivating the habit of work organisation is to list down all the work somewhere convenient.
One good way to do so is to invest in a compact diary that you can carry along wherever you go. Preferably, the diary should also serve as a calendar, so that we can list down test dates with ease, and also offer ourselves a brief outlook of the weeks ahead.
In school, be sure to listen attentively and catch all the homework that the teacher requires done, in brief bullet points. Ensure that your diary is on or below the desk all the time, so that when needed, you can quickly draw it out and make a quick note of an assignment.
When recording an item down, use a meticulous system of organisation so that you can very quickly record down an item, be it a simple piece of take home assignment, or a super-important test that borderlines life-and-death. We can assign different bullet-points to denote the type of work.
Additionally, most of our school work has a deadline, so remember to jot down each task’s deadline (perhaps in brackets like this). If you have not a single clue about the deadline, we can use a question mark (?) to show that the date has not been confirmed yet, for easier future reference. Just like this, we have achieved the first step of improving work organisation, which is to have a list of assignments confidently written down. That way, there is absolutely no way of forgetting about assignments!
Step 2: Break It All Down!
Moving on to the next step, what happens once you return home, only to find a tall heap of to-dos? Never panic, let’s break it down chunk-by-chunk! After successfully establishing a method to record down all work, take the diary out, and start thinking about which work should take priority first, forming a to-do list in this session.
The to-do list can be written down on your diary, or any scrap paper. This is the to-do list that you will be following for the whole of today. Homework that is due the next day must be started immediately after this planning session, followed by projects that are due later.
Do consider the following three factors while sorting out your work: importance, urgency, and time needed to complete the task. For example, the math assignment that can be done under around half an hour that us due the next day should be finished quickly and immediately, while starting on that large geography project must take place by today, but does not take priority as it is not immediately due the next day.
By taking off less than 20 minutes every day to plan the order of tasks, you will never be confused and unsure of starting on things (which in turn, can also motivate people who tend to procrastinate!)
Step 3: Start Small
Finally, one last strategy students can employ to pick up momentum steadily is to start with small tasks. It will not seem like a huge mountain to start off with, and there will hence be less reason to put it off. Finishing a small task is also a small victory, and small victories have always helped keep myself motivated to carry on, towards bigger and bigger projects that will seem humongous if tackled head-on.
All in all, having an organised work-style keeps students confident and happy in doing work, so use this golden opportunity of the next term, and keep improving yourself! Here’s to a great start for the remaining school year!