Planner Organization 101: The Basics

With the beginning of a new year, I know I am not alone in saying that I have every intention of making this new semester (my last!), the best one yet. I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, but this year I am going to continue working on one of my goals I seemed to struggle with last semester: staying organized. It may have been due to the fact that the semester prior, I was abroad, living the European academic lifestyle! Not to say that it was easy by any means, but let’s just say I didn’t even use a planner to keep track of my classes or assignments, which is something I had never done before. So, last semester was a rough one and my organizational skills were extremely lacking to say the least.

However, I want to put in the work and change that this time around. Just because I am graduating in May doesn’t mean I should start adopting “senioritis” now, no way. So, I had some time this weekend before classes to brush up on those organizational skills I had stored deep in my brain way long ago in hopes that it not only helps me, but you as well!

When it comes to getting organized, the best way I can do that personally is with the use of a planner. These days, planners are somewhat of an investment, as they can be quite costly. I thought about buying one of those fancy planners, but I ended up finding a functional one at Target for $10. I call that a success if you ask me. It really doesn’t matter what kind of planner you buy, but really how you use it that matters in the long run.

I found a really good deal on this planner at Target
I found a really good deal on this planner at Target!

When you finally have your planner in front of you and you have gotten the feel for the style and how it’s set up, you can start inputting dates off the top of your head you know about, even if they are tentative like: upcoming birthdays, meetings, practices, etc. If later on you have to cross some things out and change them, that’s okay. I can guarantee you no one’s planner is perfect, because chances are, things change all the time, especially with our schedules right?

An overview of the month of January

Next, plan your upcoming week. I personally like to plan week by week because it is less overwhelming. I know that when professor’s pass out their syllabus, most of the time they give you all of the dates, but are you really going to write out the homework for each day for the whole semester? That makes my head hurt just thinking about it! I suggest just putting down any major assignments like essays, research papers, group projects, final exams, etc.

When I plan my week, I like to keep things organized in my planner by using a color coded system, with 4 sections max that are relevant to me personally like: homework, sorority information, RA responsibilities, and “other” for things like working out, skyping a friend, etc. Seeing everything broken down into different sections keeps me on track and makes me feel a lot more at ease once something is checked off and completed.

My week all organized in my planner by my color coding system!

If your planner has a section for other “Notes,” that is also a place that you can really utilize by using post-it notes! I always keep a stash in my backpack in case I run out of room when writing down a homework assignment and I need to remember to do something.


Whether you are new to the “planner” or not, I hope this is useful for you in some way – thanks for reading!

Published by Marisela Meraz

Hello! My name is Marisela, but everyone knows me by Mari. I am a senior at Hope majoring in English with an emphasis on writing and minoring in French. I am also part of the Theta Gamma Pi Sorority on campus. In my free time, I enjoy baking, taking photos, watching Netflix, and making music playlists for my friends. I am so excited to share my Hope experiences with you all!

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