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Conquer Chaos

The school year has ended, and a wave of relief washes over you and your student. But before you settle into a summer of pure relaxation, consider a strategic decluttering project. Clearing out the physical and digital clutter associated with the past school year can create a sense of calm and set the stage for a productive and organized year ahead. Here, we’ll delve into three key decluttering projects for students:

Project 1: Taming the Paper Trail

The Challenge: Schoolwork accumulates over time. Notebooks, worksheets, handouts, permission slips, and old projects can quickly create a paper mountain, overwhelming students and hindering their ability to find necessary materials.

The Strategy: We’ll utilize a two-pronged approach: sorting and archiving.

  • Sorting:
    • Gather all school materials: Papers, folders, notebooks, binders, and art projects.
    • Categorize: Divide them into three piles: recycle/discard, archive, and reuse.
  • Recycle/Discard Pile: This includes outdated notes, completed worksheets, permission slips with past dates, and any paper no longer needed.
    • Tip: For sentimental projects like artwork, choose a few favorites to keep and recycle the rest.
  • Archive Pile: This is for important papers that need to be kept for reference, such as graded essays, project rubrics, and significant notes.
    • Tip: Use labeled folders or binders to categorize archived materials by subject or year.

Executive Function Focus: This project targets organization skills and decision-making. By sorting through materials and letting go of what’s no longer relevant, you practice prioritizing and letting go – crucial executive functions for academic success.

Project 2: Digital Detox: Conquering the Email and Cloud Chaos

The Challenge: Over time, student email inboxes and cloud storage can become cluttered with old assignments, outdated files, and forgotten downloads. This digital clutter can make it difficult to locate important information quickly.

The Strategy: We’ll tackle both email and cloud storage with a focus on deletion and organization.

  • Email:
    • Focus on past school years: Delete emails from previous terms that are no longer needed.
    • Archive important emails: If specific emails contain valuable information for future reference (e.g., college application guidelines), consider creating a separate “Archived Schoolwork” folder.
  • Cloud Storage (e.g., Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft 365):
    • Organize: Create folders for each school year. Within these, create subfolders for specific subjects (e.g., Math 2023-2024).
  • Delete: Remove outdated or unnecessary files from each folder.

Executive Function Focus: This project targets organizational skills and working memory. By creating a clear system for digital files, you practice categorizing information and mentally keeping track of location – essential executive functions for managing digital resources effectively.

Project 3: Cultivating a Calm Study Space

The Challenge: A messy and cluttered study space can be distracting and hinder focus. Disorganization can make it difficult to find necessary materials and can lead to procrastination.

The Strategy: We’ll create a designated and streamlined study space.

  • Define the Space: Choose a quiet, well-lit area with a dedicated desk or table. Ensure it’s separate from areas used for leisure or entertainment to minimize distractions.
  • Declutter the Area: Remove all non-essential items such as clutter, trash, broken supplies, or clothes.
  • Restock and Organize: Replenish essential study supplies like pens, pencils, highlighters, and notebooks. Organize these materials in a way that is accessible and promotes a sense of order.

Executive Function Focus: This project focuses on task initiation and working memory. By creating a designated study space with readily available materials, you eliminate distractions and promote the ability to focus on the task at hand.

Bonus Tip: Decorate the study space with motivational quotes or visually appealing items to create a personalized environment that fosters a positive learning mindset.

By undertaking these decluttering projects together, you can create a sense of control and organization that will set you up for success in the upcoming school year. With a streamlined physical environment, a well-organized digital workspace, and a designated study haven, you can approach the new year with focus, clarity, and a head start on academic achievement.

Erin Upchurchblob 1

Erin Upchurch

As a professional executive function coach, I prioritize maintaining a positive outlook, building strong relationships with my students, and providing unwavering support to parents.