You remember planners right? That little book that we’re told is a must-have for school but usually just ends up wasting space? Well, believe it or not, this little book is indeed a must-have for anyone who needs organization in their life, be it for planning out schoolwork or just the day to day bustle. If you think your planner wasn’t helpful in school, you may have just not been using it to its full potential. Don’t worry though – I’ll show you how to use a planner the right way. With any hope, this will get you on the path to utilizing that planner instead of getting ADD about it and losing interest in using it halfway through the semester!
Write Everything Down
Step one to use a planner the right way: write down EVERYTHING. Sure, maybe you’ll remember most of it, but odds are you won’t remember all of it all of the time, so write down everything. If you’re concerned about important tasks getting lost amidst the rubble of the day to day, just organize, label, and color-code, or just highlight everything important.
Confine Everything To One Planner
Even if you have school, three jobs, an internship, and a perpetual list of errands you need to do, the best advice I can give on how to use a planner is to try keeping everything in a single planner. If things are going to get crazy, maybe consider getting a planner with lots of space to write and schedule properly. Having multiple planners can complicate organization as well as the general ability of the planner to help you conceptualize your entire schedule for the week, which ultimately defeats the purpose of having a planner in the first place. So unless you have a couple of clones that are taking over parts of your schedule, just keep everything confined to one planner.
Plan Out Every Important Date
If you’re using your planner for school, assuming your classes are like any other, you ought to receive a syllabus at the beginning of the semester. Utilize this to the fullest of it’s potential! Write assignment start dates, due dates, test days, quiz days, so on and so forth. Also, schedule EVERYTHING, from minuscule weekly assignments to midterm and final projects and exams. For the day to day, schedule everything you can, regardless of how repetitive it might seem. Things will inevitably come up, in which case you’ll need to use your planner for incorporating said things into your already existing schedule.
Labels, Tags, and Color-Coding (oh my!)
When it comes to the best ways to use a planner, labels and tags are muy importante for organization. Really you should be using these on everything – from planners to textbooks. They make navigating everything oh so much more easily, allowing the user to organize sections based on the subject matter, date, or whatever else, without having to do all that pesky and time-consuming page-flipping! It might seem a little silly putting those tags in on the first day, but if you continue to use your planner, the content within will stack up soon enough, in which case you’ll be happy you labeled everything. Label by month, add extra labels for important dates and assignments, and don’t forget to color-code!
Sometimes, it’s going to seem like you’re suffocating under the number of things you have to do in the span of a day (or however long). Even with a planner, your tasks are so numerous that they’re starting to clutter up that poor little book. For times like this, it might help to add time assignments to each task. It will help you better conceptualize your whole day, or otherwise help you organize your tasks in such a manner that they’ll seem less chaotic – figuring out what you do or don’t have time for, what tasks can be let go, shifted to another day or another time, whatever you gotta do. Also if you have alerts that you can put in your phone, Just don’t forget to set aside time for the scheduling and planning itself! Which brings us to our next point…
Set Aside Time To Schedule
It’s not exactly time-efficient to plan everything out day by day, which is why it pays to set aside one day that’s designated for planning. Take a day in the beginning or the end of the week, or whatever day you have off if you so choose, and plan out your week as much as you are able. Trust me when I say that putting together a well-thought-out schedule can take a bit of time, so don’t forget to account for it.
Keep Your Schedule Up To Date
On your scheduling day, don’t forget to keep your schedule updated if you plan well in advance! New plans come up, dates change, and the world is chaos, so be aware and stay on top of any changes or potential changes to your schedule. Double-check with people to ensure that none of the dates have changed if you need reassurance, and constantly check your email for updates. All this checking for updates can be a bit time consuming, but that’s why you set aside time for scheduling right?
Break Up Larger Tasks
When it comes to large tasks and projects that last over the span of numerous days, it helps to break it up on your schedule. Plan out the start date and end date of course, as well as what days and times you’re going to work on your task, differentiating what parts of the task you’ll be working on. Try your best to stick to your schedule as best you can, but if you can’t don’t panic, just reschedule accordingly!