When every corner is dusted and cleaned, it finally feels like you have a house worth relaxing in. Then it hardly stays that way. Worse, it quickly deteriorates as fast as a delicious feast gets consumed after hours of work in the kitchen. Getting organized clears your mind and is needed to feel refreshed for a new start. It’s a chore though, and often becomes boring and feels like the work that if put away for a while just won’t matter. Quickly enough, what we thought was going to be dealt with ‘in a while’ soon becomes overwhelming.
Getting organized with school work is no different. It’s hard and can quickly become a downward slide for your child. However, it can become easier if there is a purpose, more like when you think there is a worthwhile culmination to cleaning the house when visitors come along.
As parents, we need to help them find that purpose. The purpose could be just about anything. What’s important is that it drives the person who has it. So it could mean joining a new school, making new friends, good grades, or acceptance from a large audience.
To stay organized a child will need three skills.
The first part includes the need to prepare for a task. This may be anything from keeping reminders, reflecting on daily lessons, packing school supplies for the next day to reading notice boards in school, checking the school website, checking the school calendar and so on.
The second part is the actual doing of the task, whether it is something at home like working in the kitchen, folding laundry or doing homework or at school doing a group project or working on a presentation.
The most important part of staying organized though is finishing it. Very often children and adults skip this part. The study table is left messy after homework with stationery and other supplies not put away. Children are sometimes not sure if a project is done or if they might rather want to tinker more on it. So they leave it all over the place even when not working on it.
What makes staying organized difficult therefore is the lack of consciousness to finish the job and keep things ready for a fresh start. Indian children like their adult counterparts work fast and keep themselves engaged with myriad activities but don’t sustain the energy till it’s all completely done. For instance, they may start attending extracurricular classes only to drop out before the course is complete. Time and again children display a lack of awareness in the aesthetics of a job well done. Based on data collected from 40 countries and shared on Priceonomics, Times of India shows how Indian workers may be ahead of developed countries in terms of the pace at which tasks are worked on, but then lag behind when it comes to the number of completed tasks.
The task type is not indicated here and neither can this be taken as a legitimate sample for everything the country does. However, it won’t be surprising even if it was. All we need to look at are some of the narrow, pot-holed roads that need to be closed down for safety reasons every time it rains. This disposition could easily be taken as permeating into families and into the psyche of our young citizens. In other words, getting organized needs, most undoubtedly, to be culturally and socially motivated.
The effort needs to begin at home and with parents. Parents need to consciously insist that projects need to be strategically identified and completed before they take up the next. Schools could encourage organization skills too. Instil in children the importance of organization by talking a lot about it. Teach them to set calendars and schedules, have pre-date and final deadlines to ensure a smooth progression of work. Teach them to prioritize and get into action, rather than going overboard by micromanaging and overprocessing.
A student speaker at a Little Banyan Tree discussion session once said that the tangled cable wires hanging low within residential compounds and streets was a reflection of how disorganized India was. Our job as parents, mentors and educators is to not let another generation be nonchalant towards their personal organization. That to begin with, which then might extend to mass consciousness.