Planners. Agendas. Schedules. Organizers.
They’re all synonymous for that little notebook I tote around in my bag all day every day – the one with crazy scribbles, arrows, and dog-eared pages. My terminology of choice is planner.
Agenda sounds a bit too formal, and too British.
Schedule sounds too pristine and organized – so does Organizer (obviously).
Nope, my planner is certainly not formal. It’s not pretty and pristine. It’s only organized because the makers of my little planner were kind enough to label the days of the week for me.
My planner is messy, and full of lists, things to do, assignments, multicolored pen ink, highlighted lines, and sometimes will randomly be left blank for days at a time – but I wouldn’t have it any other way! Without my planner, I’d be lost in an ocean of due dates and work schedules and post-it note reminders everywhere.
Planners are one of the most essential pieces of equipment in the successful college girl’s toolkit, and everyone should have one. There’s also endless choices of styles – affordable and simple from somewhere like Target or Walmart, clean and sophisticated from a designer like Kate Spade, or something with a little more personality like Lily Pulitzer or A Beautiful Mess planners. For those of you who are super into documenting all the minute details of your hectic life, there is even the customizable Erin Condren Life planner. There is literally a style for everyone!
No matter how nice your planner is though, it’ll be pointless if you don’t use it well! So here are some of my best tips for getting the most out of your planner.
- Fill out major due dates ASAP!
I personally hate this part, being a procrastinator by nature, but it’s easily the most essential. This way nothing can sneak up on you, and you can always flip forward to the next week to get an idea of your upcoming workload. Think of how terrible it would feel if you knew you had an assignment coming up, but you forgot to write the due date in your planner, so when you referred to your planner it wasn’t there so you never did it? The worst!
- Color code your different classes
This, of course, makes it easy to know exactly what needs to be done for a class without having to think too hard about what class it’s actually for. You can use colored pens or highlighters, or whatever else tickles your fancy. If you’re like me, and have a job outside of school, or you’re part of clubs and organizations on campus, this can also apply to differentiating between school responsibilities, work schedules, and other duties.
- Cross-off things you have accomplished
This is more so a mental thing – having that visual proof that you’re getting things done is motivation to keep going! It reminds you that yes, even though you feel like you’ve been living in the library all week and should probably be paying rent at this point, you’re actually getting stuff done. It’s even more satisfying if you use a red pen, and dramatically strike through every task you’ve conquered.
And there you have it! My essential planner tips. Now, go out, buy a planner and some funky pens, and get organized!