Keeping up with your classes, a social life, and extracurricular activities can overwhelm anyone, especially in college. It definitely overwhelmed me freshman year, and I ended up dropping several activities that I would have otherwise enjoyed. A quick fix to this is to simply keep up with a planner or agenda. People often try and replace a planner with their phone or laptop, but there is something about physically writing things down that does wonders for remembering important events.
A huge problem with being organized isn’t starting a planner, but sticking with it. Staying organized is key when trying to keep up with the billion things you’re doing at school. One way to motivate yourself to stay organized is to make writing in your agenda fun. Use stickers and colorful pens to organize your planner; you can use a different color for extracurricular activities, tests, parties, you name it. Stickers can be used to give yourself a little treat at the end of the week—maybe an ice-cream sticker to treat yourself to a soft serve after a huge test.
Another tip: write down everything. No matter how insignificant it seems, it helps to write it down just in case you forget. You’d be surprised how often you use your planner once you start writing down grocery lists and birthday reminders. Even if you know you have a meeting every Monday at 4:00 pm, write it down anyway. Things slip in your memory when you get involved in one too many things.
You might think that keeping a planner and organizing every second of your life will stifle your spontaneity or creativity. But in reality, it will enforce it. By keeping organized and on track with your life, you’ll find that you have time to be spontaneous and go out for some Dairy Queen at 2:00 am. You’ll no longer have to choose between going out with your friends on a Saturday night or acing that physics exam you have the next week because you are so organized and prepared. It is literally the best of both worlds.
Planners are a way to take control in a world that can seem out of your control in every other way. Take charge of your busy schedule and quit blaming your procrastination methods on having too much work. If half the time and energy you spend juggling a typical week in college is spent on keeping a planner, your life will become significantly easier. Good luck and happy planning!