While nobody likes to be disorganized, for students with learning disabilities, disorganization can spell certain disaster. Searching for lost assignments or course handouts can take up valuable time, and it's almost impossible to study and meet deadlines when notes from different subjects are all jumbled together.
There's no "right" way to get organized. You'll need to be creative and flexible until you discover what works best for you. Here are some tips and suggestions from successful students and adults:
Tips for Organizing
- If you work well with technology, use organizer software on a computer, a PDA (personal digital assistant, e.g., Palm Pilot), or organizer-wrist watch.
- Retype your class notes and save them (with dates and course titles) on your computer. You might also want to save a copy on a CD or portable memory device.
- Write reminders on self-stick notepads or keep list pads around your room, by your desk, in your notebooks, and even by your bedside to write down things as your think of them. Be sure to collect these notes and consolidate all of the reminders on a single "to-do" list every day.
- Divide your notebooks into sections for each subject. Hole punch and insert handouts or assignments in the appropriate notebook sections. Be sure to use dividers, and consider using different colored tabs for each subject.
- Create a system for tracking papers. A file cabinet might work well, or you can find a cardboard box large enough to fit file folders, label a folder for each subject, and insert papers in the appropriate file folders in the box.
- Be sure to save and catalog your notes and tapes, and file them with other materials from each of your courses. Date all of your notes and tapes immediately.
- Keep keys on a big ring so that you can find them easily, or use a brightly-colored key chain.
- Keep extra coins handy for laundry machines, parking meters, buses, and vending machines.
- Make a daily list of everything you need for classes, labs or meetings. Include reminders for money, transportation and food. Check the list every morning before leaving your room so that you know what you have to do.