I use my agenda religiously while at school. I honestly think it helps me stay sane. When I was in elementary school, we were required to use the school’s provided planner to copy down our homework from the board. WE would usually get our planner about one or two weeks into school and I would get SO excited to see what they looked like every year. I know, I was nerdy from the beginning. 13 years later, I like to think I have mastered the art of using a planner. So I’m here to share my insight with you!
1. Use your planner! You can’t expect to stay on top of all your classes, assignments, meetings, holidays, application due dates and everything else happening in your little world if you don’t have one place to look. A planner will make it 10X easier to stay on top of these tasks!
2. Color code, color code, color code- I like to color code by class. In the beginning of the semester, I decide which color is going to represent each class (ex. French-pink, Environmental Science- green, Public Speaking- blue…). I make a little key on a sticky note and stick in on the inside of my planner so I can refer back to it in the beginning of the semester until I have it memorized! I assign a different color to each class and then I usually use black for extracurricular/ meetings so that way they pop out.
3. Use a paper clip to mark the week- I always use a paper clip or a binder clip to mark where I am in my planner so I can quickly turn to the page. I clip the paper clip so I can quickly flip to the exact page I’m on as well as the monthly overview.
4. Use the monthly overview- Here, I write down events far in advance, vacations, days off of school/ class, midterm/ exam dates, application due dates, as well as monthly goals which I write in the corner or somewhere on the page so I’m reminded daily what I need to be focusing on that month.
5. Spilt your day into two- I literally draw a line down the center of my day, however if you don’t want to do that you can draw a little box on that day. On one half of the day I write down all the homework I find out that day that needs to be done, on the other side I have written down what’s DUE that day. So when I find out the date something is due I immediately go to the day it’s due and write it on half of the page. This allows you to glance ahead at the next few days and look and see what due date’s are coming up while looking at the homework you got assigned that day. The second I get the syllabus I go through and write down all the important due dates of all the assignments, that way it will be in my planner weeks before it’s due.
6. Use the notes section- In the notes section I have a small section for each class. When I get the syllabus I make sure that I write down all of the professors emails/ contact info as well as their office hours so I always have that essential information available. At the beginning of the semester, you get assigned so many user names and passwords. While I wouldn’t necessarily write down my passwords in my notes section, just in case you were to ever lose your planner, but I would write down all your usernames if they change from website to website.
7. Post-it notes are your best friends- Everyday after classes and when I sit down and to start my homework or even throughout the day, I form a to-do list of things I hope to get done that day. I try to make it realistic, and list the things that need to be done at the top. I am someone who lives to cross things off of my to-do lists so this really helps me. After the day end,s I can either throw away the note or leave it there to finish the things I didn't get to the next day!
8. Make it habit- Sometimes it takes effort to pull out your planner during class and write something down that you “know” you’ll remember. But ALWAYS write it down even if you think you’ll remember because mistakes happen, and we’re all human and you might forget!
9. Bring it with you- It does absolutely no good if you buy a planner and it sits in your dorm room in a drawer in your desk! I made sure I constantly had my planner in my backpack that way when anything came up I could quickly pull it out. This was also super helpful when it came to meeting with professors. Often times I would get emails from them asking what time I could meet with them and I was able to quickly look at my schedule because I had my planner with me.
10. Write in encouragement- Before I started school last year I went through my planner and jotted down some of my favorite inspirational quotes on random days. They always seemed to land on the perfect day and just added a just another way I could incorporate all the quotes that I love! Another tip I would suggest is writing in goals. The more you see your goals written down serves as encouragement to achieve them.