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How to Effectively Use a Planner in College

Student sitting at a desk filling out her planner for her classes.

Trying to balance schoolwork, hobbies, study time, your social life, and all your other day to day responsibilities can be extremely overwhelming and stressful, especially when it comes to remembering and meeting deadlines. Finding a way to keep yourself organized and giving yourself the free time you deserve is important to giving yourself the balance you need to remain stress-free, and the ability to get things done ahead of time. One of the best ways to keep your schedule organized is to invest in a planner. Having a planner will allow you to remember deadlines, times, things to do, and schedule breaks.

Although using a planner may seem easy, there are a few tips and tricks that you can use to keep everything in line and use it to your full advantage.

1. Write Out Tests, Assignments, and Due Dates

The first thing you should do when getting a planner is putting in all the important tests, assignments, and due dates that you have for the month from your instructor’s course syllabus. Ensuring that you have all of these written down will allow you to plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to get them done to the best of your ability. Knowing in advance when your tests are will allow you to fit in the appropriate amount of study time into your busy schedule. There is a lot that goes into being a successful student, but giving yourself the visualization of everything you have to do will help you to be successful.

2. Write Out Your Class Schedule Each Week

Writing out all of your classes and times each week can give you a better perspective of how your week will look. Your plans for each week may change, so writing down each of your classes will help you to plan accordingly. You should always remember that it is important to have a school-life balance, so you should include your school schedule along with personal things such as tasks you need to get done, your work schedule, and anything else that you may need to remember are included. You should create set times for yourself to make sure you don’t put off any work until last minute. Set aside time and build out a block schedule for yourself so you can hop on your computer and get all of your work done.

3. Plan Out Your Free Time & Hobbies

Giving yourself time to do the things that you enjoy outside of school and work is important to maintaining the perfect balance. Doing so will help you to avoid burn out and can make you more successful in the long run. Give yourself time to do whatever you want and ensure that you are giving yourself breaks and not dedicating all of your time to schoolwork. Make sure that you are not overloading yourself to help eliminate unnecessary stress and build your schedule to allow yourself to work on things a little bit at a time.

4. Make a To-Do List

Making a to-do list in your planner can be anything from day-to-day lists to goals for the rest of the month. Writing everything down that you need to do will free your mind instead of trying to remember everything at the same time. When trying to remember too much at once you are bound to forget things and it can be easy to become unorganized. To-do lists are a great way to prioritize your day and give you a visual of all the things that you need to remember. You can also make a list of the top 3 things that you need to get done in a given day or week. Doing this will allow you to manage your time better to get things done or run out of time by your deadlines.

5. Organizing Your College Planner

Use a Color-Coding System- When filling up your planner with everything you need to do, remember it can be easy for it to become extremely unorganized. Everything written in can become crunched together and difficult to read. Using a color-coding system will allow you to be able to look at your planner and know exactly where everything is. Making your classes one color and your free time another is just one way that you can easily see where you can fill in the gaps.

Use Stickers- Stickers are a fun way to remember everything that you have to do and make the most important things stand out. Being able to open your planner for the day and seeing what you need to get done first can help not only prioritize your week but your day. There are even stickers made specifically for planner organization!

6. Benefits of Using a Planner

Using a planner comes with a lot of benefits but using it correctly can create even more. Some benefits of using a planner include increased organization, increased productivity, decreased stress, increased motivation, get more done, add more fun, and never missing a deadline. Trying to keep everything in your head does nothing but add more stress to your life. Being able to look at what you need to do for the day and what time it needs to be done will provide you with the ability to know that you did not forget something and that you can find time to add in more free-time for yourself.

Start Your College Journey Today

Being a student comes with a lot of work and responsibility. Being able to prioritize your time and have it organized in a way that works for you is crucial to staying successful. Rationing your time and creating lists can help to keep your schedule custom to your lifestyle. Always remember that you can connect with student services, your advisor, and your instructors to help you stay on top of assignments and responsibilities. At Bryant & Stratton College, we are committed to ensuring that you are as successful as possible. Check out this mock planner we have created for you to inspire you to organize your time the best you can!

Sample planner image for a student

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