Organizational Skills

Organizational Skills

Author: Nikki Hansen

To discuss the importance of being organized, and offer tips on staying organized.

This packet offers a variety of tips on how to stay organized for school.

See More
Introduction to Psychology

Analyze this:
Our Intro to Psych Course is only $329.

Sophia college courses cost up to 80% less than traditional courses*. Start a free trial now.


Practicing Good Organizational Skills

Keeping organized is one of the key ingredients for academic success. Many students who struggle academically also seem to be the same students who struggle with staying organized. While keeping things neat and in order may come naturally to some, for others it's a skill that needs to be taught.

These important strategies will help you to stay organized:


Make sure you start the year with all of the supplies your teachers recommend. Making one trip to the store is a lot easier than having to run back for odds and ends later. Keep lots of extra pencils and pens handy, as they have a tendency to get lost easily. Having a notebook for each class, and label it - or buy a multisubject notebook. Just make sure you label, and keep your homework for each class separate so nothing gets lost or misplaced.


Don’t be tempted to use your backpack as a catch all or trash can. At the end of each day, take out any trash, clothing, unneeded items, or other things that are just getting in the way. Keeping your backpack clutter-free will help keep important things from getting lost.  You can even buy pencils holders and other supplies to help keep small items contained. Try to put your binders, textbooks, supplies, lunch, and jacket, and other items in the same spot each time. Knowing where things are will save you time and stress.

Binders and notebooks:

Use dividers to keep your binder organized. Make common sense divisions (notes, returned homework, homework to be handed in, returned tests...) Keeping things together helps you find them quickly. Most importantly, file each piece of paper in the proper section immediately. Don’t be tempted to shove things in randomly without clipping, or to “temporarily” put things in the pockets to organize later. These types of “to do” piles have a tendency to grow quickly, and you may be tempted to procrastinate about sorting a huge pile. It’s much easier to file each piece as you get it.   

Keep a student planner: 



Don’t plan to rely on writing assignments on random scraps of paper. They always get lost, and it’s much easier to have everything in one centralized location. You can simply use a small notebook, but a better idea is probably a structured assignment book. These are usually dated and have space devoted to each subject. Get in the habit of copying your assignments down as soon as you get into class or as soon as the assignment is given. Refer to the assignment book as you’re packing up to leave to make sure you have everything you need to complete your homework. Also refer to it while doing your homework; it’s a mistake to rely solely on your memory. Check things off as they’re complete. Most importantly, put your finished assignments back in a place you can easily find them when you’re ready to hand them in. Don’t just shove them into your backpack. A good idea is to have a section for completed work in your binder (as mentioned above), most practically, this would be the first section so it’s right there when you open your binder.

Source: carney

Additional Tips

Make sure you know what to do and when to do it. Have a reliable way to list homework, assignments, and due dates – such as a student planner.

Create a way to store and transport papers and assignments to and from school. Use a folder or a binder. Consistently store papers in your folder or binder, rather than stuffing them into your bag.

Know when your assignments are due.

Try to remain study in the same location. Keep the necessary homework supplies at that location and remove distractions from the area.

Pack everything away into its rightful slot or folder when your homework is complete.

Try to find a specific time to study and complete assigned work each day. This will help develop your time-management skills.

Make sure you plan ahead for long papers or projects.