Skip to content

Second Semester Reset for Students

Get organized for the rest of your school year

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • January 12, 2023

The post-holiday return to school can be a tough adjustment. High school and college students, in particular, may be feeling weary as they settle back into their academic routines. Here are some books and guides that can help them get organized, focused, and energized.

Get organized

Some of us struggle with the belief that we're just not inherently organized people, but organization can be learned. Here are some helpful guides.

The Power of Habit

Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives, Charles Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, this book contains an exhilarating argument: The key to achieving success is understanding how habits work. Readers call it life changing!

How to Win at College

How can you graduate with honors, choose exciting activities, build a head-turning resume, gain access to the best post-college opportunities, and still have a life? In this guide, Cal Newport presents seventy-five simple (and surprising!) rules that will rocket you to the top of your class.

Eat That Frog!

There's an old saying: Eat a frog first thing in the morning and you'll be done with the worst thing you'll have to do all day. For Brian Tracy, this is a metaphor for tackling challenging tasks. This book shows you how to organize each day so you can zero in on those critical tasks and accomplish them effectively and efficiently.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Essentialism is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution toward the things that really matter. Greg McKeown proposes doing less, but better, in every area of our lives.

Stay focused

There are myriad reasons that attention difficulties seem to be on the rise. The world we live in is filled with distractions. Here are some books on renewing your focus.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

The ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task is like a superpower in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. In this indispensable guide, Cal Newport presents a series of four "rules" for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.

The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

Some of the most successful people in history have had to overcome difficult or even impossible situations to reach greatness. If you're feeling frustrated, demoralized, or stuck in a rut, this book by Ryan Holiday can help you turn your problems into your biggest advantages.

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School

How do we learn? What are the effects of sleep, stress, and exercise on our brains? Why is multitasking a myth? What are the keys to remembering things? Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we work and learn.

18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done

In a series of short bite-sized chapters, Peter Bregman asserts that the best way to combat distraction is to create productive distractions of one's own. This approach allows us to navigate the constant chatter of emails, text messages, phone calls, and endless meetings that prevents us from achieving focus.

Be productive

Procrastinate much? We've all been guilty of saying, "I'll do it later" and gradually realizing that we never actually get to that thing we're putting off. Here are some guides to taking action on those tough jobs.

The Productivity Project

After getting his business degree, Chris Bailey set out on a yearlong deep dive on how to achieve optimal productivity. Among his findings: slow down; eliminate the unimportant; strive for imperfection; schedule less time for important tasks; and embrace the concept of productive procrastination.

Time Warrior: How to Defeat Procrastination, People-Pleasing, Self-Doubt, Over-Commitment, Broken Promises and Chaos

In a series of short, easy-to-digest chapters, Steve Chandler offers a revolutionary, nonlinear approach for dealing with time. He invites readers to identify their cognitive style and learn the art of priority management, liberating themselves from the tyranny and chaos of clock-subservience.

The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play

Author Dr. Neil Fiore explains the psychology behind procrastination and presents a set of strategies to help busy people start tasks sooner and accomplish them more quickly, without the anxiety brought on by the negative habits of procrastination and perfectionism.

52-Week Motivational Journal

Manifest the change you want to see in your life with help from this yearlong journal. Through a combination of fun writing activities, introspective prompts, thought-provoking quotes, and positive affirmations, you'll find the space to reflect on your intentions and focus on your success.

Support happiness

Without emotional health, we won't get far in life. It's important that we find ways to infuse joy and self-care into our daily lives. Here are some books about how to foster happiness.

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

Don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, this book offers a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

Did you know you can beat stress, lift your mood, fight memory loss, and sharpen your intellect simply by elevating your heart rate and breaking a sweat? Psychiatrist John J. Ratey shares startling research showing that exercise combats everything from depression to ADHD to addiction, and so much more.

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Flow describes a state of consciousness in which people experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life. In this book, legendary psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi demonstrates how to access this positive state and greatly improve the quality of our lives.

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before

Your mental well-being is just as important as your physical well-being. Packed with proven strategies, this guide by clinical psychologist Julie Smith offers a deeper understanding of how your mind works and gives you the insights and help you need to nurture your mental health every day.

For tweens and up

Here are some motivational, organizational guides designed for younger students. If you know a tween or young teen who could use a little help finding their footing, consider one of these great books. Try reading them together for extra support and reinforcement!

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

As in the original edition aimed at adults, this version by Sean Covey offers a simple approach to help teens improve self confidence, foster strong relationships, and achieve their goals. This book is stuffed with cartoons, clever ideas, great quotes, and incredible real-world anecdotes.

The Teens' Growth Mindset Workbook

When students have a growth mindset, they take on challenges and learn from them, increasing their resilience and drive. This workbook strengthens these qualities with interactive exercises and bite-size advice aimed at teens. They'll gain confidence and the ability to bounce back from tough breaks.

Organizing from the Inside Out for Teens: The Foolproof System for Organizing Your Room, Your Time, and Your Life

This version of Julie Morgenstern's bestselling Organizing from the Inside Out was cowritten with her daughter, Jessi Morgenstern-Colón. Jessi's perspective: My organized room allows me to maximize my space and time and keeps my life on track. My room boosts my confidence.

The Organized Student: Teaching Children The Skills for Success in School and Beyond

This practical book is full of hands-on strategies for teaching your child how to get organized for middle school and high school. Educational consultant Donna Goldberg has developed these methods by working with hundreds of students. The guide includes handy assessments and clear guidelines for all sorts of kids.

As always, we love hearing from you. So let us know if you have any recommendations for books or ideas that have helped you (or your kids) get organized and motivated. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for daily book recommendations, literary tidbits, and more.

Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

Leave a Comment

Copyright © 2023 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell/Share My Personal Information | Cookie Policy | Cookie Preferences | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured