Back-to-school means you need to get organized

Tips to Get Families, Students Organized for Back-to-School…and Beyond

AT-A-GLANCE helps productivity prevail during the 2013-14 school year

The back-to-school season is underway, and the preparations taken for getting back to the classroom are plentiful. To help with this transition, the planning and organizing experts from AT-A-GLANCE® have compiled tips for families and students of all ages.

“All the talk about back-to-school typically revolves around shopping for supplies and new clothes—and the costs associated with them,” says Lissa Cupp, vice president, e-Commerce and Consumer Marketing, ACCO Brands. “However, the true cost of this annual endeavor is time and how it’s lost due to lack of proper planning and organization.”

To help families and students get through this process in a productive and efficient manner, AT-A-GLANCE suggests taking the following steps:

Families

  • Create a master schedule. Multiple schedules need to be regularly consolidated onto a centrally-located calendar. We recommend a dry erase surface or wall calendar; paper calendars are also an option—we suggest writing events in pencil so that updates can be made easily and cleanly. Make sure there’s plenty of room for notes.
  • Organize using color coding. Choose a color for each member of the family and use that color for all organization tools, including written events and sticky notes on the master schedule, binders or dividers for paperwork, and even book bags and other school supplies.
  • Make a shopping list. Each child in the family needs different supplies and clothes. Compile all supply and shopping information onto a single list. Arrange by order of the stores you need to visit, and use your color coding system to keep track of who needs what.

Students

  • Use a student planner. Designed specifically to meet the needs of students, make sure to find a style of planner that works best for the individual. Incorporate it into their school routine and make sure to utilize all of its features, including monthly/weekly calendars, to-do lists and note-taking pages.
  • Get rid of the clutter: It’s no surprise that clutter leads to lack of productivity and time lost due to looking for lost or misplaced papers, lack of sufficient work space and the general distraction it causes. Areas of focus for decluttering include lockers, book bags and study/work areas.
  • Create a study routine: Use your planner wisely and set a routine that, when followed, allows plenty of time for study, special projects and, yes, even fun! Make sure to coordinate it around the master schedule and always stick to the plan.

Campus Residents

  • Use a white board. Probably every college dorm room checklist includes a white board—and for very good reason. It’s the ultimate tool for communicating the student’s whereabouts, leaving notes to roommates and visitors, and doodling to relieve stress. A repositionable dry erase surface is perfect for nearly any space—and it doesn’t leave any lasting damage.
  • Prioritize your time. All of the tips above for students apply here, but the added responsibilities of college and post-graduate life make time management critical for success. Make sure to prioritize all of your school work, employment times and study sessions in order to maximize what time you have.

“Developing a plan, getting organized and using the right tools are essential to making back-to-school season—and the rest of the academic year—a welcome event,” adds Cupp. “And don’t forget to schedule some relaxation or family time. All of you and your family’s hard work deserves and needs to be celebrated, so have a little fun!”

For more tips on planning, organizing and productivity for every facet of your life, visit the AT-A-GLANCE Success Center.

[photo by Avolore]

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