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5 ways being a disorganized student makes school harder than it needs to be

how being a disorganized student makes school harder than it needs to be cover image with a messy desk

By Katie Azevedo, M.Ed.

Being a disorganized student makes school so much harder than it needs to be. School is hard enough, is it not? But it gets so much more difficult when you can’t find your notes to study from, you turn in your assignments late because you forget about them, and you regularly run out of time because you’re disorganized.

Important clarification: Being a disorganized student doesn’t just mean your backpack is messy. Being disorganized means so much more than that, and can impact everything from your stress levels to your grades. 

Getting organized – even just on a basic, bare-minimum level – can improve some critical areas of your school experience.

5 ways being a disorganized student makes school harder than it needs to be

The following list includes the top 5 academic areas affected by disorganization. Even slight improvements to your student organizational systems can lead to huge improvements in these areas. When you’re done reading this blog post, I highly suggest you read my 100 best organization tips for students.

1. Being a disorganized student makes you more stressed out and overwhelmed

It’s no surprise that being a disorganized student increases stress and anxiety. Two primary contributors to academic stress include a) feeling like there’s not enough time, and b) feeling like there’s too much to do. When your tasks and your time aren’t organized (using an assignment notebook and a calendar (here’s how to use a calendar for school), then you lack clarity on what needs to be done and when you need to do it. This causes so much stress.

2. Being a disorganized student causes procrastination

One of the leading reasons for procrastination is ambiguity. Ambiguity is the opposite of clarity. When you’re disorganized, it often means that you’re not effectively managing your materials and tasks. This leads to ambiguity, which leads directly to procrastination.

When you can’t find your materials, you don’t remember where the assignment directions are (are they online? Did the teacher hand it out on paper?) and you can’t find your materials to do the assignment, you’re more likely to procrastinate.

The good news: If you can improve your organization, you can procrastinate less.

When we’re disorganized, we become unclear about what we’re supposed to be doing. Lack of clarity causes us procrastinate.

3. Being a disorganized student ruins your study efforts

Another way that being disorganized makes school harder than it needs to be is that studying becomes SO much more difficult. No matter how good your study skills are, your study efforts won’t pay off if you’re not studying the right material. And if you’re disorganized, you’ll struggle to find and pull together the right materials to study from. 

If your notes are disorganized, misplaced, incomplete, or scattered between digital and analog locations, studying becomes nearly impossible. The key is to have solid organization systems in place so that you know exactly where to go when you’re looking for your materials to make study resources from.

4. Being a disorganized student causes late or missing assignments

If you’re a disorganized student, you probably have regular late or missing assignments. Remember, disorganization isn’t just a matter of having a messy backpack – it’s also about having a messy mind. Sure, you might have late or missing assignments because you literally lost them, but more often than not, it’s usually a matter of not remembering to do them in the first place. 

How do we solve the problem of having late or missing assignments because you were too disorganized to keep track of them? Use these tips Stop using your learning management system (LMS) to track homework. I will say this until I’m blue: your LMS is not an assignment notebook. It’s where you view and submit work, but it’s not intended to track your work. 

Here’s the information you need to get started with an assignment notebook:

5. Being a disorganized student leads to digital chaos

I know we live in a digital world. And yes, that’s wonderful, but school is still a hybrid world. Hybrid environments can be so challenging to navigate, especially for students. Some teachers require digital work completion and submission, others require paper completion and submission, and other teachers leave it up to you: this can lead to disorganization and chaos so fast.

If you don’t keep your digital space organized, so much is at stake, including your mental health and your grades. The strategy? Start with organizing your cloud storage space (Google Drive for most students) into folders, and using a naming convention on all the files you create or download. Hint: A good naming convention I recommend is [class name] + [assignment name].

Student disorganization can directly impact your grades.

Final notes about being a disorganized student

“I’m just not an organized person!” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard students tell me this. And while I know that students with ADHD and executive dysfunction struggle more than most with organization, I still argue that the more accurate declaration is “I haven’t learned how to be an organized person!”

Organization is not something we are born with. It’s a skill that we are taught, which means that it’s a skill we can learn. If you’ve been struggling academically in any of the above areas, I challenge you to look at your organizational practices. Where can you improve? Where can you implement some simple systems? What can you simplify? Take my free self-assessment quiz to get started figuring out what areas to focus on.

In my experience, organization isn’t the first thing people turn to when school gets tough, but so often disorganization really is at the root of so many academic hurdles.

The post 5 ways being a disorganized student makes school harder than it needs to be appeared first on SchoolHabits.

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