Tips for Keeping an Academic Planner

Planners are one of those things that are just essential to life! Whether you choose to go digital with an app, use the Cloud with your computer, or you like the old fashioned paper planner… effective studying comes from effective time management and planning. Personally, I am all about paper planners! I have tried and tried but I just can’t get into typing the important events of my life into a phone calendar. I write faster than I type (crazy auto correct). Plus, I never have to worry about my planner dying or having a professor (or boss) think I’m texting while I’m trying to enter a note about a due date. 
Plus… you know… planners are pretty!

23 Tips for Keeping an Academic Planner

Be realistic about time management. Just because a space is empty doesn’t mean it has to be filled!

Break big goals down into small tasks and schedule them (aim for a bunch of 20-minute tasks).

Consider using a “Bullet Journal” if you feel overwhelmed by detailed planners or tasks. 

Draw attention to important dates and deadlines. Make it cute if it’s something you’re dreading! 

Every morning, write 3 things to do for the day in your planner or on a Post-It where you’ll see it.

Fill it with things that motivate you. Drawings, lyrics, quotes, thoughts: Make it happy to see!

Find a planner that you love. Maybe an app. Maybe a paper one. Whatever works best for you!

It’s OK to trick yourself into thinking things are due earlier than they actually are. (my fave advice!)

Keep different to-do lists in your planner for different things to make your life feel more balanced.

Keep your planner open as often as possible so that its contents are visible reminders!

Keep your planner with you at all times. We always need to add things to our lists or check dates!

Prioritize assignments and projects by deadline or the amount of points they’re worth.

Say “no” to things you don’t have time for. Too much of a “good” thing can still become stressful!

Schedule tentative plans… tentatively by using a pencil, Post-It’s, or Washi Tape.

Set a “planning time”. I like Sunday nights because they give me a plan for the upcoming week.

Transfer old tasks to new days as “high priority” so they don’t keep getting put on the back burner!

Use a color-coding system for the different responsibilities in your life or for high to low priority tasks.

Use arrows to cross through undone tasks to move them from day to day until they are complete. 

Use “downtime” to update your planner or write down things you want to accomplish/remember!

Use large Post-It’s or paperclips to keep lists of things in your planner. Toss them when you finish.

Use Post-It Tabs to find important dates more quickly or to split your planner into categories.

Use your planner daily by making it a part of your morning routine. 

Write down daily, weekly, and monthly goals and remind yourself why you do what you do!

Clearly, my planner tendencies are a leee-ttle obsessive! 🙂

Do you use a “phone” planner or a physical one? What do you like/dislike about it? Do you use any of these now? Do you have any tips to add? 

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