I’m known among my friends and family to be a control freak, and my extreme thoroughness has often been met with annoyance, even from the casual onlooker. Most people shake their heads in disbelief after taking one look at my weekly planner. However, if there’s a reason why I stick to my method in spite of the countless incredulous looks thrown my way, it would be its effective performance.
As college students, we are no longer required to adhere to a strict schedule or set of rules, but that newfound freedom comes with a slew of responsibilities. In high school we were basically spoon-fed all the information we ever needed or wanted to hear. We received our textbooks at no cost, printed worksheets were given to us in class, and work missed during absences could easily be made up once we returned. However, we must understand high school and college are on completely different pages, and in order to adapt to a foreign arena, we need a good plan.
A great way in becoming a well-organized student is to invest in a nice planner. And I mean a physical, spiral-bound planner with lined paper inside. Although we’re living in the age of vast technological advancements, this old-school item proves to be best when it comes to organizing daily to-dos, homework assignments, article deadlines, essays, chores, and basically everything life requires us to accomplish.
Of course, I’m not in any way trying to say you shouldn’t use digital planners or that they’re ineffective. In fact, digital planners come in handy when you can’t find your planner for some reason, or you just don’t want to physically write down every single detail you want to remember. In Google calendar, or essentially any other third-party option, you are given an almost infinite amount of space to work with. There is really no possible way you can forget the specific tasks you must complete for the day—all the miniscule details you can possible think of you can jot down in an instant. Reminders will come in the form of a soft ping via your phone, desktop computer, laptop or any other device synced with the app you’re using. A huge advantage of using a digital planner is that you have it on you at all times, given that you carry your phone with you everywhere (which is a no-brainer). But digital planners and its huge selection of apps you can choose from entail a torrent of notifications, messages and alerts, which never comes with keeping a conventional paper planner.
Keeping a paper planner only requires two things—the pen and your hand. Pen and paper creates so much room for you to create a plan well-catered to your personality and tastes. Plus, it takes much less time and energy to write “best friend’s birthday party @ 5:00 p.m.” than opening up Google calendar and going through the mantra of creating and saving an event. Paper planners never inundate you with annoying noises or require a stable battery life to view event details and deadlines.
My paper planner keeps me sane and essentially glues my life together. I’ve tried the digital method, and it never really worked—I hated having to power up my laptop or mobile device just to check the details of a banquet I had to attend on a Saturday. Additionally, the act of physically writing down bits of information helps me remember better. In this way, my planner also serves as a sort of journal. As a student journalist, I’m always in need of paper and pen to record interview questions and answers, or random thoughts that just pop into my head at random hours. I love how I can always go back to catch my train of thought just by flipping a few pages. I can see everything at once and crossing items as I go gives me a sense of accomplishment and a warm, fuzzy feeling in my heart. Simply put, I can’t live without my trusty planner.
As much as I love my paper planner, I must concede everyone is different, and a physical planner might not be your cup of tea. Since I have given you the pros and cons of both paper and digital planners, you must now make an educated, “college student” decision to keep your priorities in check.