One of the most important things you can do as a student is to use a planner to organize your time and tasks. A planner lets you see the big picture of what is coming up, so you can prepare ahead of time. Here is how to use a planner to help you get everything done on time and reach your goals!
In these photos I demonstrate how to use your planner in an academic year Septanote weekly planner which has timed daily columns and a weekly dashboard for your lists. You can use these tips in any planner.
First, you need to set up your planner. This means: write in everything you know about so far (like birthdays, holidays, travel, bills due dates, etc). If you haven’t already, see this post on how to set up your new planner.
Gather up all your class syllabi for the upcoming semester and go through your planner blocking out the times for your classes, labs, and other set scheduled items. This will let you see what time is already taken up, and when you have open time.
Make sure to highlight exam dates, projects due, and deadlines. Write in tasks that absolutely must happen during a particular week, like studying for exams or paying bills. By writing in the most important things ahead of time, you will know what else you will be able to fit into your week (or not).
After the most important and non-negotiable items have been written into your weekly pages, fill in everything else you have going on in your week. Make sure to block out time for scheduled events, and schedule time with yourself to study and work on your projects so you know you’ll have time to get everything done.
Use your weekly dashboard to write your categorized tasks so you can see what you need to do. Then look for white space in your schedule so you can see when you have time to do those tasks.
Make sure you carry your planner everywhere with you, especially to class! You’ll need to update your planner on the go, and be ready to write information in class like what to study for the next session, and when new exams are scheduled.
Look at your planner several times a day, especially first thing in the morning, in the middle of the day, and later in the evening so you know what is coming up each day. Look ahead in your planner to next week and the upcoming weeks so you can prepare ahead of time.
Write everything into your planner as it comes to you. Write tentative plans in pencil so you can erase them if they change, but you’ll still have that time blocked out if those plans do happen.
Break down deadlines into steps so you don’t end up doing everything at the last minute. For example if you have 4 weeks to complete a project, break the project down into steps and write what you need to do each week to stay on track: research, outline, rough draft, proofread, final draft, etc. This avoids last-minute panic, and allows you to do your best work.
Wishing you a very successful school year!
To see all the Quo Vadis academic year weekly planners (which come in a variety of weekly layouts and sizes), click here.