Are you organized?
Is there a place for everything in your office?
Is your kitchen perfectly labeled?
Or do you tend to fly by the seat of your pants?
Being organized is a life skill that can prove helpful for each of us. For a teen, being organized can help them with their schoolwork, their college prep, and help to set them up for success in the future.
Whether you are organized or there is room for improvement, you will find that there are benefits for helping your teen learn effective organization skills.
The importance of organizational skills
There are several reasons why it is important that teens learn organizational skills. Studies have demonstrated that teens who have ADHD can improve many aspects of their lives by integrating several learned organizational skills.
When even those of us without ADHD are faced with a disorganized space, there are often increased levels of stress, frustration, and distraction. Students who do not have good organization in their life could find that they face more challenges at school. Whether this means struggling to learn new concepts, dropping grades, or bad interactions with teachers and coaches.
Even small organizational improvements can help teens see a boost in academic performance and their interactions with teachers, coaches, peers, and parents.
Ways to help your teen learn organizational skills
Do you live by the organization that your paper planner and your email calendar give you?
This approach may work well for you, but it may not necessarily be the most effective tool to help get and keep your teen organized. The most effective tool for your teen will be the one that he finds easy to keep up with and stick to.
Using whiteboards around the home
Setting up whiteboards can offer a great visual reminder of upcoming appointments, homework and project schedules, and other important dates. Use one as a central family board and get one for your teen to use in his bedroom so that he can track those important moments and dates.
He could also back this information on the calendar on his phone so that he never has an excuse to miss a deadline or his sister’s birthday.
Make the most of technology
If your teen has a smartphone, there is no reason that he can’t use it as the foundation for his organization for school and other responsibilities. There are plenty of apps that can also help to keep him organized. To keep him up to date on family appointments and events, you could find one that the whole family can share and contribute to.
Your teen is going to be found with his phone in his hand more often than not. Put his schedule and reminders right at his fingertips.
Does your teen struggle to keep up with his schoolwork and assignments?
Anyone who has worked to organize an office or keep a project flowing smoothly can tell you how beneficial a color-coding system can be. What that looks like will depend on his organizational needs.
Perhaps all his math classwork and homework folders are red, whereas each of his folders for history is green. Add in the use of a label maker, and he has the tools to keep his schoolwork ultra-organized. This same color-coding system can be used for marking things on his whiteboard or his calendar.
The importance of a checklist
Reminders are a great tool to help keep your teen organized, but you also can’t overstate how important a checklist is. The checklist can be used to ensure each important step related to a process or event is taken care of.
Perhaps he needs to get ready for a big assignment or project at school, or he needs to make sure he’s ready for a big game with his team. A checklist will help him to keep track of everything so that nothing is forgotten. Checklists are something that he can use through high school, college, and into his adult life.
Cluttered space, cluttered mind
Does your teen know what a tidy and organized space should look like?
Humans tend to perform much more effectively in clean, tidy, and organized spaces. Some may claim that they thrive in a cluttered and chaotic environment, but that is not the norm. Work with your teen to ensure he knows how to tidy up his desk, keep his bedroom picked up, and help to keep the house as a whole tidy. Help him to take pride in his bedroom and other spaces in your home. Assign each member of the family chores so that everyone is actively working to keep the home in tiptop shape.
When it comes to his workspace, ensure that he has his essential materials close at hand and has minimal distractions. A clean and organized space for him to focus on his homework and other projects can be motivational.
Preparing ahead of time
No one likes to feel rushed and pressured into completing things. Teaching your teen to prepare for his week ahead or for the following day can prove to be a huge time saver.
Does he have a presentation coming up this week? Ensure that he knows what is needed to be ready to step up in front of the class and present his work.
In an ideal world, he should be prepared at least several days in advance so that there is no stress or anxiety about it. Certainly, you don’t want to step in and take over, but it could be beneficial for a few months to work with your teen and guide him in the right direction.
He will soon establish organizational habits along with self-management and time management skills.
Preparing ahead of time can also ensure he has clean clothes for the next morning and the week ahead. It’s also never too soon to learn how to do your laundry, so this skill can be integrated into teaching him how to be prepared.
He can help the family as a whole to prepare the grocery list by working on a meal plan for the week ahead. This is a valuable organizational tool that is also an important life skill.
Organizational skills are so much more than keeping a tidy space and making sure you don’t forget grandma’s birthday. They can help your teen learn how to manage and budget his time while also helping to reduce the levels of stress that can often accompany disorganization and chaos.
It can take a few weeks or months to reinforce the skills that your teen is learning, but they will soon be automatic healthy habits that will last his lifetime.