I couldn’t function without my planner. I’m so forgetful and overbooked that I really could be one of those people who would lose their own head if it wasn’t attached. The days that I forget to use my planner and figure I’ll remember after repeating it in my head a few times are the days I forget to do everything I needed to get done. Even when I try to switch over to digital planners, I still end up forgetting to even write down what I can’t forget or input the information wrong. Really, nothing helps me stay more organized than a traditional paper planner does.
I’ve been using the same planner for a couple of years now. If you’re looking to buy a planner, you can check out a great article covering the best planners of 2015 by one of TP’s founders Lily Herman over at the Muse. Mine’s actually number six!
Organization and Visualization
Traditional planners let students map out their activities, due dates, appointments, tests, and whatever else they have to do on a day-by-day basis with the entire week (or even month) in mind. As an SAT tutor, I’ve watched so many students type their assignments quickly in the notes of their phones or a text to themselves and then completely forget until I ask for their work in class; worse so, some of them write the assignments on their hands or a scrap piece of paper. A planner is a place dedicated solely to assignments and organization, so there’s never any distractions involved!
One of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to work on as a student is managing my time. I underestimate how long some things will take or how much work I actually have to get done in a day. Using a planner lets me map out my time down to the minutes some days, and I really need that type of discipline when I have classes, labs, an internship, a part-time job, and volunteer work to fit in. That’s what we, as students, do. We have to juggle our time between so many different things in our lives, and planners act as manageable guides and reminders.
This goes hand in hand with time management. The better organized a student is, the less stress they have. How many times have you had to jump out of bed minutes after laying down to sleep because you remember an assignment due the next day? I’m completely guilty of that too. It happens, but traditional planners let students take a step back and evaluate everything they have to do. It gives students control, so they can break down what needs to be done in manageable doses.
Sense of Accomplishment
That sounds really cheesy (I know), but getting to cross of things I’ve finished is really fantastic and gives me a small boost to keep dredging through lab reports and history discussions. It’s even better to reflect on a week full of finished items and look forward to a weekend of sleep and fun!
In addition to writing down what I have to get done for the day, I also take a few moments at the end of my day to write down what I’ve done—got a compliment card at work, filed my taxes, went to a birthday party, and other things like that. This helps me remember events that happened throughout the year or find things that happened on a particular day when I need to!
All in all, traditional planners are a great tool—both professionally and personally—for students. In a time where technology is so easily at our fingertips, it’s nice to have something a little more old-fashioned to keep us on track.