If you’ve been following my blog for the past few months, you know I love my planner. It’s in tons of pictures, and understandably so. It goes almost everywhere with me. I honestly attribute it with a lot of my success because it keeps me organized and motivated. People always ask me questions, so I figured I would share some of my best tips for getting the most out of your agenda!
Find your Layout
While shopping, I knew exactly how I wanted to organize my life this year. A senior schedule means countless deadlines, and with that I wanted a way to best organize myself to meet those deadlines. I was on the search for a planner organized into blocks. For each day, I wanted an area for things that were due, a block for tasks I had to do that night, and a space for miscellaneous items. My poor mom scoured every Target near us in search of my Holy Grail Planner. It was important to me to find this layout because I knew it was what I needed. If I needed it, I would use it. There was no sense in spending money on a format that wasn’t functional for me. I wound up with a cute one from Blue Sky. I can’t find my exact planner, but Erin Condren has something similar. She makes beautiful and functional agendas.
I’m not crazy, I promise. No, I don’t color coordinate my entire life or use labels to mark everything, but I do color coordinate my planner. Each year, I use the same colored binders for each subject (History is always red, English is always light blue, etc), yet each day I would write out “AP US History Reading #5 due tomorrow”. This took up way too much space, and left my planner looking cramped and overwhelming. I opted to buy a pack of colored Pilot G2 pens in the colors of my binders this year. Now, I simply write “Reading #5” with red pen in the “due” space of my planner. With a quick glance, I can see what binders and books I have to bring home, and how much work I’ll have for each class. It seems time consuming and dumb at first, but when you have weeks like mine, you’ll be loving your colored pens! Just glancing at my agenda, I can see what I’ll be spending the most time doing this week, and when I’ll have time to work ahead.
It seems counterintuitive to get crazy in a space that’s supposed to organize you, but bear with me. I am a perfectionist. There. I said it. It’s not easy, and it’s not neat handwriting and beautifully spaced work. I hold myself to an unreasonable standard in most aspects of my life, but my planner is not one of them. It’s for me, and not for others. Heck, that’s why my room is a mess all the time too! You’ll see below that I cross things out, spill water, and misspell words. All of which are perfectly ok. I’m a human, and visually crossing assignments off when due dates are moved lets me know that something has changed. It draws attention and keeps me from forgetting. The water stains show me that I was at least staying hydrated. Your planner is a space for your sanity and organization. It doesn’t have to be beautiful, it just has to be functional.
I’ve learned a lot by keeping an agenda my past four years of high school. Yes, I forget to write down assignments and still miss deadlines, but it happens a lot less frequently since I’ve chosen this format and begun color coordinating. When your life is as hectic as mine, you really do need a place to write it all down. I encourage you to get your life in shape with a planner!