If you are new around here you may not be aware that I am obsessed with planners and that obsession started in college. Using a planner is how I honestly balanced everything in college and stayed sane. But it can be difficult to figure out how to make your planner work for you. Which is why I compiled my most helpful 7 tips for using a college planner!
If you don’t have a planner yet then check out my top 6 favorite college planners and read about them on this post to determine which is best for you: 6 Awesome Planners for College Students.
My college planner is honestly what got me successfully through college so I hope these tips help you out a lot!
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7 Tips For Using A College Planner:
Tip 1) Experiment with the best organizing system for you.
The first thing you need to do in order to use your college planner correctly is to figure out the best way to organize it that works for you!
Everyone has different preferences and styles for what works best for them.
For my college planner it worked best to break my days into 3 categories: school, work, personal. Then make prioritized lists within each category.
A lot of people prefer using time blocking! Try some different organization systems until you find the one that works for you.
Tip 2) Always keep the planner on you.
This seems very obvious but keeping your planner on you at all times is totally essential for successfully using a planner.
Make it a habit to always put your planner in your backpack or work bag so that you always have it on you.
This is important so that when you learn new deadlines, projects, events, etc you can immediately add them to your college planner.
Tip 3) Schedule personal and social things as well.
A common misconception is that the best way to use your college planner is for just college coursework. But that is not effective!
If your planner is truly going to help you stay organized in college then you need to stay on top of all aspects of your life. Including work, clubs/organizations, and social events.
It may seem weird to jot down a movie night with your roommates but when you are planning out your school work you will be glad that you know you can’t study during those hours!
Tip 4) Find the best planner for you.
As I mentioned above, I compiled what I think are the 6 best planners for college students here: 6 Awesome Planners for College Students.
But if I had to recommend 2 that will work for almost any college student I recommend going with the MAMBI Happy Planner Classic Edition or the Erin Condren Vertical Layout. My college planner was the MAMBI but now I use Erin Condren planners as well and love both brands!
While figuring out your organizational system you should be able to help find the right planner for you!
Tip 5) Use a monthly spread to plan for projects and studying timelines.
The monthly spread that is in most planners is very helpful for longer term projects and studying for midterms and finals.
It allows you to start to create a plan for a project or studying so you can map out more than a weeks worth of planning.
We’re going to talk more about color coding in a second but the monthly view is one of the most important places to color code!
Tip 6) Use a color coding system.
Color coding is super important for efficiently using a planner!
It helps you visualize and break down different tasks and responsibilities.
I broke down my college planner with 3 colors: classes, work, social, and miscellaneous (like doctor appointments!).
Tip 7) Keep it fun to keep you using it.
My final tip for using your planner is to make it fun!
Yes, the point of planners is organization but if you make it fun along the way then it will help you actually WANT to use your planner.
The easiest way to do this is to get some fun stickers for your planner.
There are cute ones for students and productivity on Amazon or you can go to my favorite place to get stickers- Etsy!
Staying organized in college can be difficult but by using a planner correctly in college it can really help you stay organized!
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