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Get (Digitally) Organized for the School Year

Whether your school eases students into the new school year or hits the ground running, chances are good that classes, sports, and clubs are in full swing by now.

Hopefully you have a system—paper or digital—that adds some structure to the chaos. Whatever tool you’re currently using, level up your digital planning with the tips below.

Google and Apple Calendars sync with your school calendar

Did you know you can sync your personal calendar with your school calendar? Most school Learning Management Systems (LMS) run off the same underlying software, which means your school likely has a ‘sharing link’ that will push your class schedule and even your homework assignments, test days, and sports practice schedules (if your teachers and coaches add them) to a Google or Apple Calendar. Click here to see a tutorial for a widely-used school portal system. No more logging into a separate school portal to find out if you’re on A or B block next Thursday.

Block off increments of time by task or project

Let’s suppose you have a Calculus test coming up on a Friday. You know you need to review chapters 4.1 to 4.5 of the unit, and 4.4 was particularly shaky. Rather than add ‘study for Calculus test’ to a checklist, block off 30-45 minutes each day leading up to the test, with a review unit assigned to each day.  Build in a longer study session when it comes time to review 4.4, or plan ahead to get some help!

Having set times to study can give you a reality check when it comes to taking on other commitments.

For big projects, organize by task and break those into sub-tasks

For multi-week projects like end-of-term essays, turn your calendar into a to-do list with reminders.

You can make these as sophisticated or simple as you like. If a simple reminder will do, by all means set that and forget it. But if projects are routinely getting away from you, a strong structure like the one below can make an enormous difference. The goal is simple: when it’s time to sit down and do the actual work, you know exactly what to do and can confidently dive right in. Take a look at how you might manage an end-of-term paper and calculus test with overlapping deadlines with Google calendar.

Creating tasks and sub-tasks (click on the blue check mark on the right of the calendar to open up the ‘Tasks’ sidebar) automatically creates reminders that populate just below the day of the month.

As time goes on, you’ll develop your own system that strikes a balance between the time it takes to maintain your digital planner and its usefulness, so don’t worry about finding the ‘perfect’ system the first time around. Happy planning!