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Author: Darlene Lawrence, Academic Coachby Academic Coach Darlene Lawrence

With a bit of preparation, organization and a “can do” attitude, you can have the best school year ever! Here are some tips to help you prepare for the busy days ahead.

1. Organize your study area: Create the right environment. Clutter can be distracting and it can also add to feelings of being overwhelmed. Temperature (keeping it around 70-75) and lighting (using natural light) can also affect your productivity and sense of well-being.

2. Manage your time efficiently and effectively: Keep a time journal for the week. This can help you figure out the best time for schoolwork and “time bandits” like social media that can suck away the hours.

3. Schedule time each day for schoolwork: Set aside time each day to study. Many people find that it works better for them to set aside time in blocks than by task; for instance, instead of saying, “I am going to read this chapter,” say “I am going to study for two hours.”

4. Eliminate distractions: Hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door or chair. Figure out what works for you—does music help you concentrate or make it harder?

5. Plan ahead: Prepare in advance to use your time wisely. Set up a planner* or calendar to help you stay on top of things. Include semester due dates and the number of assignments that you should finish per day/week. You can buy a planner and/or use templates in Microsoft Word or Excel. Here is how:

  • Open Word or Excel on your computer.
  • Click File > “New from Template.”
  • Type “Calendar” in the search field.
  • You’ll see a variety of options; click any year or one-month calendar. Then click “Create.”

6. Include your home and work tasks: When you put together a planner, don’t just include your school tasks. Including things you need to get done at home and at work can help you see the bigger picture. Color-coding by school, work, and home can also help.

7. Keep track of due dates: Most phones these days have alerts systems. Enter your assignments and other due dates and set your phone to remind you about them. Email providers like Google or Outlook also have calendar alert options.

8. Make school work a priority: Prioritize all of your tasks and be flexible with your “normal” routines. Postpone tasks or routines that can be delayed until you complete your High School Diploma!

9. Take mini breaks: Every hour, take a 10-minute break to rest your body (which holds tension/stress) and mind (our brains need a break).

10. Call your coach: Getting drained? Need a little motivation? Remember, we are here for you. Call your coach and talk through any issues you are having. You can do it!

These tips will keep you from feeling overwhelmed and help you stay on pace!


*Additional Video Resources:

Website resources for organizing your planner/agenda: