- Use A Planner – Pick a system that works for you and then get really familiar with it. When you get your syllabi, input every single deadline into your planner right then. If you use a paper planner- get in the habit of looking at it at least twice a day. If you use your phone, input reminders.
- Map Out Your Homework – Get in the habit of doing assignments in steps. Start as early as you can so you don’t find yourself writing an entire essay the night before it’s due. I even schedule in times when I plan to simply read over the assignment and familiarize myself with the requirements. That’s my first step- before I even do any work. Make a list of the steps you’ll need to go through to complete the assignment, how much time you think you’ll need for each step (overestimate), and then plug each step into your planner.
- Try The Due Date Trick – If something is due on the 20th, I’ll put it on my calendar as due on the 18th. I shoot for that early due date as if it were the real thing. Sometimes something will go wrong and I’ll need more time to complete the assignment- thankfully my self imposed due date is giving me a grace period of two days. It also serves to trick my mind into thinking that I need to work faster on things.
- Look/Plan/Work Ahead – Once you’ve put everything into your calendar, see if there’s anything you can do ahead of time. For example, I know a paper is due in November- can I brainstorm topics now? Can I write an outline now or start some early research now? Most likely you can. Also- take note of any periods of time on your calendar that you can see are going to be busy/overwhelming and figure out what you can do now to lessen the load when that time comes.
- Schedule Your Homework Time – My biggest tip when it comes to staying organized is to figure out a homework schedule. I know that I will always be studying Tue, Thur, and Sun evenings. My friends know this and my family knows this so no one tempts me to go to dinner on those nights. It’s homework time pretty much never fail. I do make an exception for big events like weddings, birthdays, etc. But I always make sure to change my homework night to a different night rather than just cancel it. I never just do homework whenever I can fit it in. I make time for it.
How do you stay on top of school work?