Master Your Planner in 5 Easy Steps
Keeping track of everything you have to do in high school and college can be overwhelming. And if you don’t have a system, it’s easy to forget things, miss deadlines, or find yourself running out of time. As a student, you have multiple layers of responsibility. Developing a system to keep track of these layers is paramount to your academic success and a key contributor to keeping your stress levels low.
Schools provide you with tools to track your assignments, but those tools don’t help you see the big picture. Whether your assignments are listed on your syllabus or a website, you have to go to a separate source to know when something is due. While it’s great that those resources are available to you, how the assignments and assessments from all of your classes intersect is often unclear. In other words, without taking note of your assignments in one central location, you can’t see when you have multiple things due the same week, let alone the same day. By putting your assignments and assessments into your planner you can easily see how busy your week or month will be.
As a student you know that school work is just part of the big picture. On top of school you may have jobs, sports, debate team, drama - to name just a few - as well as time you want to spend with your friends. Adding that layer of information into your planner helps you see how it ALL works together so that you have the information you need to manage and plan your time.
This 5 Step Guide will help you maximize the potential of your ClassTracker Ultimate Student Planner to keep track of all the important facets of your life.
(Thank you Abby, a ClassTracker power user, for images from her planner!)
Let us know how you like to use your planner in the comments section below!
Step 1: Write your contact info
Write your name in your planner. Seems basic, but once you start using your planner, it becomes a crucial tool to your success. Take a moment to put your name (and maybe your contact information) on the first page of your planner just in case you leave it at the library or your favorite cafe.
Step 2: Map out your schedule
Write down your class/work/sports schedule in your planner to use as a reference tool. This will help you quickly see when you have unscheduled time. (If you want to learn more about how to manage your time, check out our blog post on How to Create a Weekly Plan where you can learn time management and planning techniques and download our free weekly time planner.)
Step 3: Write down your goals
Take time to write down your goals for your year. Studies show that people who write down their goals are way more likely to achieve them than people who don’t.
Step 4: Map out your semester
Transfer your deadlines from your paper or electronic syllabus into your monthly views. This is also a great place to record other big commitments (sports or extracurricular events) or fun activities (formals, football games, etc.). With everything laid out in your monthly view you can start to see which weeks are going to require extra work and when you will need to get started early on assignments because of multiple deadlines in the same week.
Step 5: Plan out your week
Map out your week. Use each of the different sections of the day (Remember to, Quizzes/Tests/Projects/Papers, Assignments and Activities) to organize what you have going on each day. It’s a great idea to fill this out on Sunday or the Friday before to help you get a sense of what your upcoming week looks like. Some people like to plan as far in advance as possible while others do it week to week. Whatever you decide, make a point of doing it on a regular basis. Set a reminder on your phone (such as “Plan your week!”) so that you start to make a habit of planning your weeks out.
How planning will benefit you!
When you write everything down, it actually makes you feel better. This might sound strange, but laying everything out in an organized way and spreading it out over multiple days and weeks makes assignments seem less ominous. When I work with students, I can see firsthand how relieved they feel after they write everything they’ve been carrying around in their head into their planner. Not only does it make them feel more on top of it, but it makes the work feel more doable.
Want some tips on how to manage your time? Check out our post: How to Create a Weekly Plan That Will Make you Successful in College
Make your planner unique to you!
To make your planner unique to you, use different colored pens for different classes or different types of activities. And there are always fun stickers that you can use for inspiration or decoration (one of a kind ClassTracker stickers coming soon!). ClassTracker’s clutter-free layout and simple coloring was designed specifically so you can make it your own planner.
Lesley Martin has been working in education over the last 20 years. She currently works with students privately as an Academic Success Coach and is the CEO and Founder of ClassTracker, a company that creates academic planners for schools and students. Lesley has published two books: Where’s My Stuff: The Ultimate Teen Organizing Guide and Make the Grade: Everything you need to Study Better, Stress Less, and Succeed in School.
We’d LOVE to see how you have make your planner unique to you - post images on Insta with #classtracker.