You’ve seen planners, agendas, and notebooks being sold in the school supply section at retailers. You might have even seen them being given away for free at your school or University. Based on personal experience, I didn’t start using a planner until I got to college. I didn’t want to carry an extra notebook around and I didn’t even know where to begin by organizing one so it would be easy for me to use and stay on top of things.
It’s been proven that having a planner can keep you more organized, on track, and help you prepare better not only for school but for your day-to-day life. There’s a reason it’s called a planner; it helps you plan. Duh.
There are some simple and easy ways to organize your planner and make it work the best for you. I’ll break it down for you!
Decide which way you want to organize
There are a few ways people organizer your planner. Some ways work better than others, depending on the person and how they best receive and retain information. Remember you are welcome to pick one, two, all, or even come up with your own unique way to organize.
Names/titles – simpling writing your class schedule by name throughout each day of the week can help you visually see what you have to read for the week. You can underline and bold them when you write them to make it a distinction from the rest of your tasks or to create emphasis for things like due dates and such.
Color coding – Using colors to highlight each of your classes or tasks can help you not only visually see the important things but also help you to distinguish between classes. For example, you can assign a specific color to a certain class to help your brain focus on what tasks are for what. I’ve also seen people use a bright yellow to be the universal color to highlight important things like reminders and things that are due. You can use highlighters, colored-pens or makers, and so on.
Symbols/stickers – I’ve seen some people simply use stickers to mark special days or even draw designs like circles or stars to indicate changes or important information.
Write out your week
You will be adding to your planner daily, but you can make it easier for yourself by planning your week ahead of time. This is usually done on Sunday before the week begins or Monday morning. It doesn’t require much, so don’t feel like you have to sacrifice your free time.
Writing out your week simply looks like writing all your classes, tasks, due dates, additional activities like work or practice to help you plan better. Even if you know what classes you have it can be a nice visual to see what you have going for you for the week. It is also nice to have an area all set up to write down any future homework assignments.
Here is an example of what setting up your planner may look like for the first two days:
Workout @ 6:30am
Work @ 5:00pm
Yoga class @ 7:00am
Public Speaking –
Sign Language –
Practice @ 6:30am
Keep in mind this can all be color-coded and written in a way that makes sense to you. You can create abbreviations for your tasks or classes too. Having the classes and schedule written leaves room to add any reminders or homework for you to fill in later if need be.
Write down everything
It can be extremely helpful in writing down everything. Even if you don’t think it’s that important, it can be nice to know the little things. You can’t expect yourself to remember everything throughout your day, plus new information or changes can come up at any time, so you’ll want to write it down to remind yourself later on.
Sometimes you simply can’t remember if there was no homework or tasks for a class. You can pretty sure or you can be 100% sure if you write it down. For example, if you don’t have homework for a class write that down, or simply write “none” or “no h.w.” for no homework.
Use the weekly AND monthly part of the planner
Most planners come with weekly and monthly pages for the year. You can obviously choose between which one you want to be your main source but it can be more beneficial to use both. I like to use the weekly pages for more in-depth, detailed notes about your classes and other tasks. However, I like to use the monthly portion of the planner as well. This can be used to mark big dates for projects, school holidays and breaks, and even personal things like birthdays or interviews.
Think of the monthly portion of your planner as the big picture and the weekly portion as all the details and steps that are to help you reach your goals.
Keep a “today” tab
It can be a little annoying always trying to find where you’re at in your planner, especially if you need to jot something down quickly. It is a simple but very effective tool to have a marker or tab to help you keep your exact place in your planner.
This can be your chance to be creative and make something pretty and unique like a bookmark, a sticker, or someplace marker to spice up your planner. Or, if you just want something simple and easy, a paperclip will do as well.
Write down your goals
Planners are great for school. While you’re constantly organizing for your classes, tasks, and other activities, be sure to keep your goals and dreams in mind. This can be done by including dates, reminders, or even uplifting quotes throughout your planner to keep you going. It is important to not forget these things that have us getting organized in the first place.