Freshman Year: Let’s Get Organized

Embarking on your freshman year is like stepping into a maze of academic challenges and extracurricular activities. The key to mastering this maze lies in the art of organization. If you feel yourself saying, “I’m just not an organized person,” don’t worry.  Organization isn’t some intangible, mysterious trait you’re either born with or not. It’s a set of behaviors that can be learned and refined.  And it makes life SO MUCH EASIER when it becomes part of your routine.  

So, here’s your guide to navigating the intricate elements of organization: Time, Tasks, Stuff, and Energy.


  1. TIME: Mastering the Clock


Time management is the cornerstone of success. Efficient students understand their non-negotiables and use tools like calendars and agenda books to stay on track. Experiment with these tools, find what suits you, and start managing your own time. Remember, applying these principles even partially will make a significant difference.


Essential Tools:

  • Calendar (digital or physical)
  • Agenda Book


Rhythms and Routines:

  1. Add items to your calendar promptly.
  2. Review your daily agenda regularly.
  3. Weekly calendar clean-up and review.


  1. TASKS: Breaking Down the Workload


Tasks are the building blocks of success, from school assignments to personal goals. Successful students consciously identify and organize their tasks. A well-maintained task list, whether on paper or digitally, is crucial for effective task management. Break down large projects into smaller, manageable steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed.


Essential Tools:

  • Task List


Rhythms and Routines:

  1. Enter tasks into your system promptly.
  2. Regular planning sessions for task organization.
  3. Break down larger projects immediately.


  1. STUFF: Taming the Chaos


Stuff comes in both physical and digital forms, and managing it is vital. Establish a system for physical materials, whether a single binder or multiple folders. Organize digital files with subfolders for each class. Regular reviews of your physical and digital materials prevent misplacement and save time.


Essential Tools:

  • Binder/folder system for papers
  • Digital file organization


Rhythms and Routines:

  • Nightly or weekly reviews of binders and digital files.
  • Ensure papers are in order and tasks are added to your system.


  1. ENERGY: Aligning Focus and Flow


Understanding your energy levels is the key to optimal productivity. Map your energy onto your tasks by considering factors like personal motivation, task difficulty, and optimal working conditions. Manage distractions and incorporate mindfulness, meditation, and exercise wisely. Taking breaks is not only acceptable but crucial for maintaining focus and avoiding burnout.


Essential Tools:

  • Self-understanding through tracking and reflection
  • Focus tools: exercise, mindfulness, meditation, breaks


Rhythms and Routines:

  1. Establish rituals or routines to transition into work mode.
  2. Consistency in sleep, exercise, and eating contributes to effective energy management.

Getting the hang of organization is like unlocking a secret power for your high school adventure. It means less stress, more focus, and surprisingly, more free time! So, gear up and embrace the art of organization for a smoother, more epic ride through high school!


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