Believe it or not, you need to be more than smart to do well in school. You also need to be really organized. If you aren’t organized, you’re likely to forget assignments, miss appointments, procrastinate so much you don’t study for a test—all that not so good stuff.

Obviously, it’s easy to say you have to be organized if you want to do well in school. It’s much harder to set up the systems you’ll need to actually be organized enough to do well. Here are some tips that you can use to help you with that.

1. Write Everything Down

Well, in today’s age, it’s more like “type everything in.” You know what we mean. When you write something down, says Dustin Wax on LifeHack.org, you’re using your spatial memory to help record that thing in your brain, which makes it easier to remember later on because often—like with the case of taking notes during a class—you’re forcing the different parts of your brain to communicate with each other and that tells your brain that what you’re writing down is more important than everything else you’re experiencing and subconsciously committing to memory.

Plus, if you write it down, you don’t have to work so hard to remember it: there’s a written record of its importance that you can refer back to…provided you can find that note. This brings us to our next tip.

2. One Thing is Easier to Find than Two

Keep all of your notes, schedules, and lists in one place. Seriously. This is easier to do now that there are digital storage lockers for our files and notes. For example, Meridian offers a student eplanner solution by which students can keep all of their homework assignments organized.

Yes, having one file for this and another for that is helpful and—if that makes it easier for you to track details you can set those up too—as secondary receptacles for your information.

Basically, you can set up your planner to be like the top box in a factor tree. Put everything there first. Then copy/paste details down. For example, under your catch-all box, you can have breakdowns like “daily assignments” “extracurricular stuff” “personal appointments” “when I have extra time”, whatever you need.

3. A Place for Everything and Everything In Its Place

That annoying thing your Mom told you was true: it really does make life easier if you know where everything is…and the best way to know where everything is, is to put everything away as soon as you’re done with it. Try to get into the habit of straightening up your room each night before you go to bed and taking the extra two seconds to put things where they belong over the course of the day instead of letting it all pile up. Do the same with your locker at school. If you keep things in the same space in the same order, finding what you need (and recognizing when something is missing) becomes a much simpler feat.

This is true for your time, too. Set up a schedule for yourself and stick to it. When you get into the habit of say, doing your homework at the same time (maybe right after school, just to get it over with), eventually you won’t have to force yourself to sit down. Your body will just want to sit down and work naturally.

Obviously it takes time to develop good habits like organization so it’s okay to build these skills slowly. Just work on them every day and before you know it, you’ll be the most organized kid in school!

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