If you’re a nerd like me, you’ll buy a new agenda every chance you get. Since the semester just started…this is your chance. There are tons of agendas to choose from and “To-Do List Planners” are the new phenomenon (yes, I bought one). When in doubt, you can always stick with the classic “Weekly/Monthly Planner” layout. But don’t just go writing in it all willy-nilly. If you want it to be of any use to you, you have to develop a system. That’s the best way to keep up with everything. There are a lot of ways you could set up your agenda and every person is different when it comes to these things, but here are some universal tips that should work for everyone.
1. Color Coding
Write down everything in different colors, according to what they pertain to. For example, make all of your classes a different color. Give your job its own color. Personal stuff, like appointments and friend dates, gets a different color. This is the best way to differentiate the things you have to do without having to think about it. Once you get used to looking at it enough, your brain will automatically associate a certain class with it’s designated color.
2. Due Dates vs. Do Dates
If you have an agenda with a weekly AND monthly view, put your due dates on the monthly view so you’ll know when assignments need to be turned in. The weekly view is reserved for when you actually plan to do those assignments. Hopefully, those dates aren’t the same. Separating your do dates from your due dates is imperative. If you put a due date on your weekly calendar, chances are you’ll be doing an assignment on the date that it’s due. Then, you run the risk of not submitting your best work or possibly not submitting the assignment on time. Keep those dates separate, if you can.
3. Crossing Out and Highlighting
Cross out stuff on your checklist once you complete them. This is helpful because the satisfaction of completing an assignment is amplified when you have a tangible way to acknowledge that you’ve finished it. Don’t cross it out if you didn’t finish it. Try highlighting it instead. Then, you’re drawing more attention to it so you don’t forget to do it. It also helps to rewrite the task on another day’s checklist.
4. Plan out your day the night before
Planning out your day ahead of time makes getting through the day a little easier. Sure, things come up and you may have to adjust, but at least have an outline. Having that list of tasks and assignments to complete early on guides you through the day. It’s also really helpful when you forget what needs to be done. You can just refer to your checklist to help you remember.
5. Write down EVERYTHING
…and I do mean everything. Going through your day strictly based on your to-do list can be detrimental if you don’t write in things like “Eat lunch” and “Take a break.” If you’re dead-set on following your schedule to a tee, make sure you include those simple everyday tasks that need to be done in order for you to stay healthy. Having an agenda doesn’t mean you have to be a machine. It’s just supposed to help you stay on track.
6. Get stickers
This is my favorite part of the system. Stickers are what can make everything seem more fun. If you have one of those plain black and white agendas that looks super boring, spice it up a little bit. If you don’t like what your agenda looks like, you’re way less likely to use it. I’d advise buying a cute agenda, to begin with, but those can be a little pricey. Stickers are cheap…
Like I said, everyone is different, so these tips might not be perfect for you. It doesn’t hurt to try them, though. Give them a shot and let us know how they worked for you in the comments!