Hello, everyone! One thing I have learned to do well this year is staying organized with my assignments, being aware of when big papers and tests are coming up (which is a big, recent development) and taking better care to write down when I have meetings, work, and rehearsals to make sure that I don’t miss anything. I have figured out a pretty good system that works well for me, so I thought I would share it!
One of the biggest challenges I’ve always had with getting organized was finding a good planner that worked for me and sticking to it. Typically, each year of college, I have bought about three different planners during the first couple months of school and then still haven’t been able to find anything that works for me, so I tend to just give up and wing it, hoping that I make it to all the things I am supposed to be at. For obvious reasons, things usually slip through the cracks. I am not a Google Calendar person; it feels like too much work to me to pull out my laptop and fire up the website every time I need to take note of something. I am much more of a paper and pencil person anyway, so I try to stay true to that in whatever ways I can (like my planner!).
I love the planner I’ve had this year (the only one I bought!). I got it at Target and it is called the “Day Designer.” I’ve seen bigger and better versions online, but the Target version works perfectly for me! It’s actually a little on the pricier side of what I’ve ever bought for planners, but when you consider that I usually buy three cheaper ones before giving up, I probably actually saved money by just going for a nicer one right off the bat.
Normally I just leave the calendar pages in my planner blank and focus on the individual daily sections, but I have realized this semester how helpful and important the calendar pages are! I write out all my assignments for the semester and obligations that I know about (like worship team rehearsals, Bible studies, and work) and keep them color-coded (blue is my web design class, green is developmental psychology, etc.), and then I cross them off as I do them and I cross the whole day off when it’s over.
It makes me feel so accomplished to have things to cross off throughout the day, and it keeps me aware of when I have a lot of little assignments piling up or a big assignment due soon (things in boxes are “big assignment” due dates – you can see that there have been weeks where it has been important for me to know in advance that so much is coming up!). The sticky note helps me mark my place in my planner and has eventually become full of doodles and little notes for random things I am doing, but it’s pretty unimportant.
Here are the more specific planner pages for this week. I have an hourly schedule on these pages, so this is where I write down meetings, class, and rehearsals, and I cross them off as I go to them. If I have something really important that I’m sure I’m going to forget about, I usually write that down here as well (there is a three-spot to-do list at the top of each day!). I also cross these days off as they end, and I keep track of random things and important happenings in the side columns. This planner also has a designated spot in the side column for gratitude – what a great idea to get me to practice being thankful each day and each week!
On the right in the photo, you can see my weekly to-do list. I got this in the $1 section at Target and I’m pretty sure it was the best dollar I have ever spent. This is where I kind of combine things from my calendar and my hourly schedule and add in whatever else is going on, like if I need to list something in my Etsy shop or mail my grandparents a thank-you note. I cross off everything as I do it here too, but you can see that sometimes everything does not get done here every day. This is the page where it is okay if I don’t finish absolutely everything, because some of the things on here are more things that I would like to do than things I have to do (if I don’t run every day, the world does not end).
Neither of these pages are color-coded, and that works fine for me. Clearly I am also not super picky about the colors of pens that I use. My only color-coding is with highlighters on my calendar page so that I can be sure to keep assignments straight for my different classes. I probably could color-code these pages as well, but it does not feel necessary to me, so it does not happen.
I use the Reminders app that comes on every iPhone to set a reminder if I have something that really needs to urgently get done or if I don’t have my planner on me when I find out about something. I also try to do my best to write things out as soon as I know about them, so sometimes that means I’m furiously filling out my planner as a professor makes announcements in the middle of class or making a note in it every time I read an email. It’s been really important for me to be consistent and diligent with this so that it is actually effective! It’s worked super well for me this year, so I hope this may be helpful for you too!
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”