The other day, I conducted a small scientific experiment. I asked 19 of my friends this question. “If you could describe high school in a single word, what would it be?” I got the same answer every time. “Busy.”
And it’s true. Between soccer games, piano practice, and academic work, most of us are on the brink of insanity by senior year. But as I quickly found out, organized students have countless strategies to stay organized in high school, especially when it comes to navigating a packed schedule.
Here are some of the best organization tips for students from my most-organized peers:
How To Be An Organized Student in High School
10. Virtual sticky notes
Most computers have a built-in app called “Stickies.” The app works like a regular sticky note—you can write whatever you want. Each Sticky stays on your desktop until you delete it.
9. Paper sticky notes
If you’re not an avid computer-user, paper sticky notes work just as well. Some teens fill their bedroom doors with those small, stick-on reminders—that way, they’re guaranteed to remember their plans each morning.
8. 3 x 5 index cards
A handful of organized students carry around notecards in their pockets. They’re small, simple, and easy to get ahold of.
7. Schedule Planner app
With eight categorizing tabs, two sections for notes, and an option to export, Schedule Planner is like a calendar on steroids. “It was hard to use at first,” Says one seventeen year old, “But I got the hang of it eventually, and now I can’t use anything else.” And it’s free!
6. Any.DO app
Another free app, Any.DO lets teens prioritize. There are four sections for goals: today, tomorrow, upcoming, and someday. It’s simple and stress-free.
5. Trello app
This one is pretty popular. It has all of your basic planning app features, but with one small twist: parents and teens can use it together. A parent might write, “Isabel, finish your community service hours.” Isabel can check the item off when she’s done.
4. Virtual calendars
Most teens use their built-in phone calendars to plan for long-term events. It’s nothing fancy, but perfect for basic strategizing.
3. Paper calendars
Paper calendars help teens see The Big Picture. “I love to have my calendar on my bedroom wall,” Says one fourteen year old. “It’s nice to see everything at the same time, instead of just one task.”
2. To-do lists
In the end, nothing beats good old-fashioned pen and paper. When I asked, most teens said something along these lines: “I love crossing things off, or giving myself a gold star every night.”
1. Try a few of these tips, stumble around, and try a new one
When it comes to planning your plans, there’s only one strategy: trial and error.