7 Great Tips on Starting Your First Planner

No matter where you are in your academic career, high school or college, keeping track of everything you need to do and everything you’re involved in can be overwhelming. Responsibilities can easily be mixed up or forgotten if they aren’t written down. Starting your first planner can be a great way to improve your time management and stay on top of everything.

Check out these seven great tips for starting your first planner.

  1. Pick a planner style that you’ll use daily. If you’re looking for an old fashioned physical planner, there are tons of craft stores and websites that carry different planners. It’s up to you to decide how you want your planner to be set up and how you want it to look. When shopping, keep in mind that the purpose of the planner is to be functional, and it isn’t solely for decoration.
  2. Keep things simple. If this is your first planner, don’t concern yourself too much with stickers, washi tape, and other decorations. As more and more activities and assignments are added to your plate, you don’t want to be discouraged by a drop off in decorations. Focus on adding basic information such as classes, deadlines, test dates, and the like.
  3. Be proactive in adding information. As soon as you find out about a test coming up, a scholarship that’s due in a month, or an invitation to go to the movies with friends, write these things in your planner. Having this information readily available will help you manage your time accordingly, and you’re less likely to forget to finish something important.
  4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s completely okay if white out becomes your best friend. Don’t worry about writing something on the wrong day or having perfect handwriting when you add information into your planner. Since you’re likely the only one who will see it, there’s no need to stress out about mistakes and imperfections.
  5. Get back into it if you fall off. Everyone loses the habit of using their planner every day at one point or another. If you find yourself avoiding your planner because you haven’t opened it in a week, think of it this way: There’s no way to get back on track if you don’t commit to doing it. Ignore any unchecked boxes or unmarked pages and get back into the swing of things.
  6. Keep it positive. With assignments and deadlines constantly piling up in your planner, it’s important to recognize your achievements. Celebrate the small steps by checking off assignments you’ve completed and highlighting your own accomplishments each week. Don’t get too bogged down by routine.
  7. Try something new if you need to. If all else fails and you realize your planner just isn’t cutting it for you, try a new style. Give ring bound a spin, give bullet journals a chance, or ditch paper all together and make your phone your new planner. Just make sure that you go in a different direction instead of giving up on planning altogether!

If you’ve never had a planner before, these tips are an excellent way to manage your time efficiently in all areas of your life. There are more great sources for learning how to use your planner on YouTube, Pinterest, and various blogs on the Internet.

Deana Ayers is a college student from North Texas. She is pursuing a degree in Social Work, and her interests lie in promoting equity and social justice. You can find her on Twitter (twitter.com/D_Yesterdays) and read more of her writing on her professional blog (deanajayers.weebly.com).

4 Comments on “7 Great Tips on Starting Your First Planner

  1. I was going to buy a journal, but it seems unnecessarily expensive. Would google calendar work just as well for college?

    • It depends on what will work best for you. For me, I tried using my google calendar, but it just wasn’t as effective to stay on track me. So, from now on, I use a physical planner. Just like the author said, you don’t have to use one of the expensive ones that comes with a lot of stickers. I bought mine at Target for somewhere around $7.

      • I see. Calendars do not really work for me, as I often forget to write things down. I’ll probably try bullet journals this year.

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