How To Get Yourself Ready For The New ‘School Year’

…even if school was a looooong time ago.

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A picture of Anna sitting at her kitchen table writing notes on her laptop.

I might be almost 31 years of age, but I *still* get that back to school buzz. OF COURSE I was a nerd who loved school, but I loved the fresh start-ness of it all and the last chance to press reset before the physical reset of the new year. Now I know that going back to school might be a little different this year, but it’s still a good time for us all to sort our s**t out. It’s been months since lockdown began and I’m ready for a shake up of my routine. A fresh start. A clear out. And a moment to sit down, reflect and adapt to the new normal, because sometimes we all need a breather. Here’s how to get yourself ready for the 20/21 academic year, even if school was a loooooong time ago…

A close up image of Anna looking at her laptop in the kitchen.
A close-up image of Anna's hands typing on her laptop.


Whether you have a dedicated desk, and at-home office or are making do on your kitchen table, having a quick clear out of your workspace – wherever and whatever it is – is the best place to start. For me that means having a declutter of my office. I found that going through every single drawer is my best practice and though doing that I found approximately 18979 pens – remind me to never buy a pen ever again – diaries and planners from years back – I kept the one that I planned my book in, but ditched all the others – and found photography equipment that was gathering dust and was ripe for selling on. You never know what you’ll find, hey?! But having a streamlining moment is the single best step to prepping for the new school year. Period.


Sometimes you just need to have a desktop clear out. TODAY IS THAT DAY! Here’s my step-by-step guide:

1) I like to get myself into the mood by downloading a new background – something simple and clear so I can see what’s going on. This is a great selection to pick from. I currently have ‘Orange Dunes’. Then I get to work on my home screen, clearing up my desktop – keeping folders on the left hand side (and making sure that I organise each one), and then documents that I need frequently on the right hand side. Making sure I have shortcuts in my dock for all the apps that I use often.

2) I have a quick clear up of Safari, ensuring that I need all my bookmarks and if I don’t, I remove them. The same with my reading list. Then I make sure that websites I visit often have shortcuts, again removing those I no longer need.

3) Emails. GROAN. I’m never going to go through every single email I’ve ever been sent, but just to have a tidy-up of my current folders and make sure that I’m on top of stuff in there and nothing needs immediate action. For a more detailed sort out, check out this post.

4) Finally I go through my documents, pictures and videos to make sure there’s nothing large that’s taking up storage that can be removed. Now I have over 40,000+ photos on various different devices so when I say documents, pictures and videos, I really mean documents and videos because ain’t no one got time for that.

An image of Anna looking happy doing her work at her kitchen table.
An image of Anna writing notes on her laptop.


The best part of going back to school was the end of summer Woolworths and WHSmith haul. COME ON! A chance to convince my Mum that I actually needed a set of scented gel pens and those white markers that erased ink. A new pencil case! Plastic wrap to cover my textbooks! Ink cartridges that would no doubt end up popping in the bottom of my one-strap Nike rucksack! Those were the days. These days I don’t go as ham on stationery as I once did, but there are two things (ok, really it’s three), that I have to have to work. The Appointed Year Task Planner (they will soon release the 2021 year, but they currently have 2020/2021 academic year planners in stock if you can’t wait until then). It’s the best darn planner I’ve found and is perfect if like me you like a week to a page (it allows me to plan around 5 items a day), and like to use the right-hand side for sorting out priorities, errands and additional notes. It just works. The other thing I have to have are my Paper Tigre Pens. What can I say? I have a favourite pen. I’m *that* kind of person. I also just love to have a notepad for general bits and bobs that I need to do/remember – Stickies is a great app to have on your laptop and once again I love the Appointed ones for a physical pad.


You know those goals you made at the beginning of 2020?! HA! In fact it’s a new genre of YouTube that I’ve found – ‘Reading Back My New Year’s Resolutions & Laughing At Them‘. Have a search for some guaranteed chuckles, there are some good’uns. Some things might not have not turned out exactly as planned, but there’s still a chance to tick things off the list, right? They might need some tweaking, or you might need to go back to the drawing board completely, but there is still some time left in 2020 to achieve something. If making them career focused feels like stressful option right now, then why not base them around wellbeing, fitness, relationships, friendships or hobbies? Vow to make a new cake from a baking book once a month, or get in a weekly socially distanced date with a mate. Just something to bring some ‘oomph‘ and motivation back to the end of your year.


Back at the beginning of lockdown I was in a R.O.U.T.I.N.E. Having some sense of structure is key to me feeling motivated and on top of things, which ultimately leaves me feeling happy and calm. I was doing my Barre classes everyday in the lounge, I was Gua Sha-ing every evening, heck I was practically doing a face mask once a morning. I was ON IT. Currently none of those things are happening on anywhere near a daily basis. So I’m going to use September as a rituals and routines reset. With lockdown lifting a little perhaps the things I was doing on a daily basis in April don’t slot as well into my life currently, but a weekly workout schedule feels like something that I could incorporate, as well as a weekly self care moment – you know the type, a proper shave, tan and moisture and ‘wow my cuticles look GRIM‘ moment. Maybe it’s a new morning routine, adding meal planning into your life, a weekly scheduled workout with friends? Whatever you fancy adding that will bring a calm and collected vibe into your week.


Photos by Mark Newton