How to get organized with a planner as you head back to school

As summer winds down it’s time for college students to think about how to get organized and head back to school. My best piece of advice is investing in a planner to keep yourself organized!

Keep yourself organized with a planner. (Credit: The College Girl Daily)

Keep yourself organized with a planner. (Credit: The College Girl Daily)

Assuming you’re going to be living in the dorm, you might appreciate a few organizing tips and college hacks that I came up with.

Keep track with a planner or app

Between school-work deadlines, classes, work and social engagements you’ll have a pretty full plate. How are you going to keep track of all that? I have found that a calendar planner of some sort works best. Here are a few ideas for planners to use:

  • Erin Condren LifePlanner: lots of cover designs to choose from, a bit pricey at about $55 each but you can customize the design of the cover and the interior layout.
  • Plum Paper: less expensive at about $16; you can customize the cover and interior. Add-ons include: budget, meal and fitness planning
  • Bloom Planners Academic Planner: several covers to choose from, two-page monthly spreads followed by weekly views. Add-ons include: class scheduling pages, notes pages, address book.

If you’d rather keep everything on your phone then check out these planner apps.

  • iHomework 2: organize your to-do lists; works on iOS.
  • Studious: track your daily class schedule, assignments and exams. Works on Android.
  • AnyDo: Sync your personal tasks, work project and shared lists across all your devices for web, Android, iPhone, Mac and Chrome.
  • iStudentPro: Combines your tracking schedule, homework and grades. Syncs data with iOS, Mac and Windows 7 through 10.

Just like exercise equipment, these won’t work for you unless you use them regularly. So make sure that you get an organizer that you will use every day.

What to put in your planner

Once you settle on a planner to use each day, here are a few ideas on what to put into your schedule:

  • Classes, labs, study group meetings, rehearsals, club meetings
  • Medical/dental/therapy appointments
  • Mark due dates a couple of days before they are actually due
  • Daily chores like laundry and cleaning
  • Time to work out
  • Time to just relax and recharge your batteries

Some people (like me) tend to take on too many obligations and then end up scrambling and stressing to get everything done. It helps to lay out an entire week’s schedule ahead of time so that you get a good idea of what’s due and when.

Better yet, read your syllabus and put all of the important dates into your planner so that things don’t creep up on you last minute. Dates to look for in your syllabus include:

  • Exam dates, midterms, finals
  • Due dates on assignments, term papers and projects
  • Reminders on reading assignments for the week
  • Professors’ office hours

Once you’ve got all of the important dates in your planner, work backwards and jot down reminders to help you plan, research and complete each item on time and with a lot less stress.

Consider, also, sharing your calendar with roommates and study partners so you can schedule study sessions and get-togethers.

What’s your best tip for staying organized in college? Tell us in the comments.

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