According to Atlassian, the average employee spends 2 hours recovering from distractions in a day. Whether you also find it difficult or not, it is quite clear from the results that self-organization and focus are not the easiest things in the world.

As we all know, it is quite easy to mess up once you cannot keep track of your life; from the “subtle” mistake of forgetting your worksheet to ones with more serious consequences, such as missing the deadline for projects and forgetting to prepare for the upcoming test properly.

Maybe you are having trouble preparing for the exams next week. Maybe you just want to keep your life in order. Nevertheless, the following list of solutions below may be the way to improve your quality of life for good, from planning and tidying to anything else in life.


1. Create a to-do list

The brain cannot be fully trusted to store all the information you learn every day or the end-of-the-year material for your exams. You inevitably forget little things all the time. So, if you don’t want to forget what you need to do, why not make a list?

Pick a notebook or a laptop.  Make sure to write down everything to be remembered that can be easily forgotten: your homework for each class, after-school events, appointments, and upcoming dates. Keep in mind that there are free apps like Evernote that were designed to aid people with organization (Gunel A. talks about some of these apps here).

When asked about the importance of recording the information, Mr. John O’ Brien, a DP Math teacher, responded that it’s important “to write things down as you will forget quite quickly.” He says, “I instantly scribble down the things that I have to do before they can disappear from my memories.”


2. Find a place for everything

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Benjamin Franklin once stated that “For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” Considering that the McKinsey Global Institute study (2017) revealed that 61% of an employee’s workday is consisted of looking for missing files or item, Franklin’s quote seems leads us to realize how much we earn (not a lot). Although Franklin hasn’t left a quote about organizing your items, the task itself is not too challenging.

To do this, dedicate one folder for each subject (offline and online documents). Assign a certain place in the room to organize all of your school stuff according to their subjects and make a good use of the school locker. In the end, the possibility of losing certain items will be greatly reduced if you know where they are at all times.


3. Do it bit-by-bit… Not all at once

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Do you always end up burning the midnight oil right before the deadline for your projects? If you believe that this method is efficient by any means, then it’s the time to change.

Logically speaking, one long overnight working session can never equal multiple shorter sessions as our genes do not allow us to concentrate easily over a long time. Believe it or not, the average human attention span is only 12 seconds according to a Microsoft Corp. study done on 2200 Canadians.  Secondly, working over a long period of time will diminish the physical energy to a point where caffeinated beverages can’t help anymore.

If this is the case, then learn to do less more frequently. Dedicate specific durations of time for a certain task on your To-Do list and make sure to stick to it.


4. Declutter your workspace

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There are few people in the world who manage to thrive on chaos, but most do not. Some folks leave everything on the desk and don’t bother cleaning up. Unfortunately, having too many things on the desk may cause multiple negative effects, and these may include the difficulty of keeping track of your valuables or getting distracted by the clutter that fills your eyes.

Begin by moving everything that doesn’t belong there to their place unless they do belong somewhere on the desk. Furthermore, don’t be hesitant to discard useless objects into the garbage. To state a few, these may include sticky notes written long in the past, broken pens, or the countless mugs that just seem to keep adding up.


5. Prioritize

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Time flies fast. If it is not possible to get everything done in time, then that signifies two things – that you have too many tasks to be done compared to the time, or that you have managed your time without considering the importance of each task first (prioritizing).

Once you are in this situation, simply admit that you are not capable of processing loads of work like a machine. Try to organize your tasks from the most important to the least level of importance. Think about the time left until the deadline and the level of difficulty (this is will help when deciding the task’s level of importance).

During an interview with Dr. John Kurtenbach, AISB’s Secondary Head Librarian and a veteran in the teaching field, he advises that “You should strike the iron while it is still hot. When there are easy tasks and hard tasks, just get the easy ones done at once and then move on to the harder ones. Do not push them behind as they will just accumulate.” However, some people believe that it’s better to get the more difficult tasks out of the way, spend a lot of effort and time on it, then quickly finish off the easier ones, but it’s a matter of personal preference and either way is effective in their respective situations.


By organizing your life, it is possible to save so much of your time and be able to concentrate better by not having to perform otherwise unnecessary tasks. Hopefully, these tips will be able to provide you with more flexibility in terms of how you spend your time and may even boost your academic performance.