How to Stay Organized During Online School


Photo by Abby Creedon

An illustration by Abby detailing the struggles of juggling multiple responsibilities.

Abby Creedon, Staff Writer

Waking up on the right side of the bed with a full night’s sleep, an organized mind, and a positive outlook on the school day is every student’s ideal way to begin their day. Of course, at the beginning of the year, I kept these goals in clear focus due to my first-day excitement and strong motivation, but now that the first days of the school year have faded, even making it to my first block Zoom on time is proving difficult. The ear-piercing sound of my alarm clock automatically reminds me of my missing assignments sitting in Google classroom, the classes in which I’ve fallen behind, and the new assignments piling on top of my already full and busy schedule. It’s challenging to maintain a positive attitude with the stresses caused by these unusual and uncertain times. Recently, I began to discover new strategies to cope with this stress and to refocus my attention on my school work.  With the help of suggestions from my fellow students who also are struggling to cope with the same unusual challenges, I was able to revive my first-day focus and motivation and restore an organized and motivated mindset even while engaged in an online school setting.

Juggling seven classes has always been a challenge.  I talked to multiple students about what keeps them organized, and I noticed that certain shared common themes emerged from their responses. Many students report that the key to staying on top of their school assignments is to maintain close attention to their due dates.  One tool used to achieve this is as simple as writing the due dates down.

“Using your agenda book can make a huge difference as it helps me to remember all of my upcoming assignments and when they are due,” said sophomore Cece Brisbois.

In my personal experience, this simple tool for maintaining organization is easier said than done.  I usually begin my school year with a full agenda but as the first weeks have passed, I found more and more ways to forget that it exists. Following Cece’s lead, I tried adding a new strategy of blocking out the same specific designated time every day to record my assignments and their due dates. I found this simple strategy proved to be quite effective.

I contacted a recent BHS graduate to see how she was staying motivated and organized in her online learning experience as a college student. Caroline Floren, a freshman at Bridgewater State University, currently is engaged in a fully remote online class schedule. She has many strategies that have helped her maintain a positive mindset as a remote college student. “Making myself a schedule where I give myself self-care breaks”, and “making sure to give myself time to connect with friends so I’m not constantly worried about school” were two strategies that she cited as assisting her most in maintaining her motivation and organization. “Rewarding myself for accomplishments with things that I enjoy” is another key motivator that she has been using to successfully incentivize a sustained effort.

As a high school student engaged in a partially remote learning experience during a global public health crisis, losing sight of yourself can occur quite easily. Strategies such as recording assignments, scheduling prescribed self-care breaks, giving yourself rewards for completing assignments on time, and maintaining a well-balanced schedule, are some of the tools that students employ successfully to stay on track during these extraordinary and challenging times. In addition to specific organizational skills, maintaining a healthy balance between schoolwork and the rest of your life leads to the most successful learning experience in an online school setting.