Life at university gets hectic fast. You already know that by now. You may feel like there are so many things to keep up with – and there are. There is no doubt about it.
We are about to go old school, with pen and paper. Hear us out before you write off what we are about to say… Have you considered using a planner?
You always got one at the beginning of the year in secondary school. Let’s be honest, you didn’t actually use it. (None of us did.) But now you are an adult, with school, social activities, extracurriculars, work, and so on. It might be time to give it a try.
Do I really need a planner for University?
Of course, you don’t have to make use of a planner. The choice is completely up to you. Let’s talk about the benefits. How does writing down every aspect of your life help you?
Well, you will:
- Be more organized
- Be more productive
- Complete tasks in order and on time
- Lower your stress levels
- Declutter mentally
- See your priorities with ease
- Improve your way of life
- Improve mental health
- Improve physical health
Yes, you can do all that by making use of your physical planner. Genius, right?
What kind of planner should I get?
Like anything, it’s up to you. There are so many sizes, features and colors to customize your planner around your needs. A first year’s needs will be different than someone about to graduate.
Consider what size would fit you best. If you need more space to jot down reminders, get a larger planner to accommodate your busy schedule. Planners that look like calendars are helpful for most students. The ability to see what your month and week look like make it easier to find things at a glance and stay organized.
Have fun with it. Find a planner with your favorite colors, affirmations, or that falls in line with your major. Get something you like so you actually stick to using it. If it’s not cute or fun, you will dismiss your planner altogether.
What should I put in my school planner?
We were not taught how to use a planner in primary school (or at any point for that matter). Teachers shared their knowledge of academics. But organization wasn’t a class that we could sign up for.
No worries. It’s simple and actually kind of… FUN. ( We can’t believe we are saying that either.)
Write down due dates.
Write down all your due dates. Many students write down what is due the next day. That’s a great start. Try writing down tests, projects, semester exams. Even if something seems like a long way off, write it down. When you get busy, those dates will pop up before you know it.
Set your own deadlines.
Scheduling your own deadlines along the way helps you to avoid procrastination. No more all nighters spent cramming information into your brain. That means fewer nights hyped up on Redbull and coffee.
When writing a paper, divide your work into smaller chunks. So you do a little bit each day. You can’t map out studying for tests like a writing assignment or a project. But write reminders for yourself like “review Bio notes” or “review chapter 10”. This prevents cramming for tests by learning a little bit every day.
Schedule calendaring time each week.
Take some each week to write down your plans. This keeps you organized so you don’t forget about assignments or due dates. Sports, clubs, girls night out, or tutoring – along with school related academics.
It can be easy to get mixed up with a busy schedule. Mixing up days or times is the worst feeling in the world. Do yourself a favor and take the time to sit and think about what you have scheduled for the upcoming week. You will be better able to deal with unexpected events.
Review your planner before starting your homework.
You know that feeling when you are trying to fall asleep but you feel like you forgot something. Then suddenly, you sit straight up, right when you were starting to doze off. You remember an assignment you forgot to complete or do altogether?
Take a look at your calendar before you start your schoolwork. If you have done your planning for the week and written everything down, you won’t miss anything. You can sleep soundly until your alarm goes off in the morning. This way you are sure to have enough time to complete all your assignments.
Include personal goals in your planner.
Learning a new skill, breaking a bad habit, or reaching a goal can fall by the wayside. It’s like an out of sight, out of mind kind of thing. When you see reminders every day of what you are working toward, you stay motivated.
Maybe you are trying to exercise 3 times a week. You could write down a gentle reminder on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of what exercise you plan to do. It’s so satisfying to check off tasks in your planner. Go ahead and try it. It’s like an addiction.
Let your fellow students help you.
It’s quite possible that your friends are already using a planner of some sort. If you are struggling with getting started with a planner. Ask for help. Fellow students know how crazy life can get. They may even have some suggestions that have helped them.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Using your planner will come easier the more you do it. Practice makes perfect or in this case, organized and stress free.
Make it fun.
Planning out your life shouldn’t feel like another assignment for Uni. So get crafty with it. Use highlighters, colored pens, post-it tabs, and stickers. Make it colorful and pretty so you stay engaged with it.
When you have a test, put on a beer sticker and go out for drinks after you finished your exam. This helps you to remember to have some fun. Although school is important, you need to let loose every now and then. Treat yourself for all of your hard work and stick to your planner.
Isn’t there an app for that?
Yep. There is an app for everything. There are some drawbacks to going digital. Often, we go to our phones to check our calendars. Then there’s a notification from Instagram and mum called 3 times during your lecture (she lost 10 pounds). Then next thing you know you’re on Snapchat and Twitter, an hour has gone by, and you haven’t accomplished anything. Yikes!
When you write down your tasks and reminders in your planner, it helps you to remember them better. You don’t get distracted by other things in the outside world. You can scroll through IG without guilt and stress about being behind on your work.
Feel free to go the digital route if that’s what works best for you. But give the old way from the dark ages a real chance. You will be productive and efficient, completing assignments without any added stress.
If you don’t like writing down everything and it really doesn’t work for you, you can say you tried and that will be the end of it.
But please give it a shot. It will improve your life in so many ways.