How many times have we told ourselves ‘this is the year I’m going to keep on top of everything!’ At this time of year, students everywhere are filled with a new sense of productivity we struggle to keep up throughout the year.
Timekeeping and organisation are skill that will never go out of date. Balancing lectures, tutorials, seminars, assignment deadlines, and presentations with a social life and part-time employment while at university can be a daunting task. It is for this reason that you should (if you aren’t already) be keeping a student planner.
The most important thing when organising your student planner is to find a system that works for you. Here are some of our tips on how best to keep organised:
1. Find a system and stick to it!
Which ever system you decide to use – whether it be on your phone, laptop, notepad or in an academic diary – pick one and stick to it! Keeping all your appointments in one place makes them easier to keep on top of and you’ll be less likely to miss something or forget that revision lecture you scribbled on the inside cover of your notepad.
2. Find a good student planner
These are easy to find in most supermarkets and stationary stores. The difference between an an academic planner and a regular one is that it runs, rather from January to December, from July to June to accommodate the academic year.
You should look for a planner that has a section to enter your timetable for each semester; pages for notes and contacts; and a page by page overview of each month; as well as pages for each day or week. Some planners even have sections for finances, information about writing essays, and tips on how to deal with university stress.
3. Use different coloured pens
This may seem a little O.D.C. but hear me out. Creating a colour-coded system means you will be able to get a full picture of your day/week at a glance and will be able to easily flick through your planner to find what you are looking for.
Use red for important deadlines (whether it be for a mid-term assignment or job application) and exams; blue for everything else related to university e.g. classes, meetings, and extra-curricular activities; and black for personal information such as birthdays, social events and employment.
Do you have an appointment which has not yet been confirmed? post-it. Need to write a note to yourself but there isn’t enough space allocated to the particular date? post-it. Want to divide your planner by month or semester but your planner didn’t come with tabs? post-it. Need to write a reminder to return that book to the library; buy your mum a birthday card; or replace the milk you took from your flatmate’s shelf in the fridge without asking? Post-it.
Sticky notes are an essential item in any student arsenal and have virtually limitless applications. If you are like me and like to keep your planner neat and organised then sticky notes are definitely the way to go.
5. Keep at it
Using an academic planner can feel like a chore, and at certain times of the year it may feel insignificant or unnecessary. Like anything else, it takes time to get into the habit of using one and you might not feel the effect straight away. It’s important that you keep at it before you will feel the benefit.