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Managing all of your commitments in college can be a challenge. You’ve got the stress of class, multiple assignments, and projects, not to mention team workouts and club activities. You even have to balance family responsibilities and the realities of an internship or part-time job. How do you keep every detail straight? With a planner!
However, not all planners are created equal. It’s wise to take some time to research all your options before making a purchase. You’ll find the best planners for college students are specifically designed to break down your day into actionable steps, helping you manage your responsibilities and giving you a much-needed boost to your productivity.
Things to Consider Before Choosing a Planner
Before you buy a planner, you need to consider the way you best aquire and retain information. How does your learning style apply to planners? Your planner will soon become an extension of you, so you need one that will suit your learning style.
If you’re not already certain, determine whether you’re a visual learner who needs to sketch out what you hear lectured to understand your professor, a tactile type who prefers getting their hands dirty to comprehend a concept, or an auditory learner who can hear a topic described and learn by listening.
Next, determine which strategies can best assist you as you learn. Do you find taking detailed notes while reading from your textbooks is helpful? Or do you prefer to sketch diagrams to better understand key concepts you’re learning? Perhaps you enjoy reading your textbook aloud to yourself to fully comprehend the material.
Selecting the Best Planner for You
Now that you’ve determined your learning style and identified key strategies to assist you as you study, it’s time to choose your planner!
Digital or Paper Planner
The first choice you’ll make when selecting your planner is: do you want paper or digital? This may seem like a simple choice. “I always have my phone, so why wouldn’t I go digital?” But really, you ought to give this question some consideration.
Digital planners for college students are convenient, easy to edit, and helpful in that you can program them to set reminders. However, your phone can also cause distractions, and having your planner be tied to your phone can be counterproductive. Ultimately you want your planner to help you become more productive, not the opposite. Do note: if you’re an auditory learner, you might find the fact that you can request your phone AI to read your planner to remind you of your daily tasks to be quite an asset.
The benefits of a paper planner include the action of writing. Three academic studies have shown that the act of writing details down can benefit information processing. If you write down your assignment in a paper planner, you’re taking an extra step to engage your body and mind to remember the information you’re writing. If you’re a visual or tactile learner, you can even adapt your paper journals to fit your learning style.
Once you determine the format of your planner, you can decide which type is best for you.
Daily planners are an ideal choice for the busiest of college students. These planners give you an entire page for each day. That means you have 365 pages in your planner – the perfect space to fill up with all of your assignments, team practices, and other important life happenings.
You can even write out a schedule for each day and plan how you intend to use your time. This is a wise idea to keep you productive and on task for each and every responsibility. Some studies have shown that students who made efforts to manage their time experienced less academic stress as a result. Review your schedule at the beginning of every day and stick to it – you’ll be grateful you did!
You’re probably familiar with most planners coming in the weekly format. For Sunday through Saturday, you get a small box with lines to write out your daily tasks. Space is a bit more limited in this format, so you’ll need to adopt shorthand or write smaller. A weekly planner is helpful for those who are a little less detail-oriented and focus on the bigger picture.
For those of you who are solely big-picture planners, the monthly is for you. Monthly planners are the sparsest option available; all you get is 12 months and a couple of note pages. Write down crucial dates on each month – when term papers are due, the day of your next track meet, or your upcoming student government meeting.
You can get monthly planners that are conveniently sized to travel with you, or ones that are desk-sized and meant to stay in your dorm room.
Bullet journals are fully customizable in every way, and are a fantastic method to let your creative spirit shine. The art of bullet journaling comes down to this: break down your day into simple tasks by putting them in single bullets. The key is to keep the details minimal. You can color-coordinate and use different pens for different tasks. Feel free to even add stickers. It’s a visual learner’s dream!
This planner is a great way to schedule out every aspect of your day, from waking up to eating breakfast to going to bed. Studies have shown that students who stick to a routine wakeup time and bedtime typically have a better quality of sleep than those who don’t. When you get better sleep, you’re prepared to meet the challenges of your day.
In your bullet journal, take a page out of the other planners for college students and consider including a monthly and yearly log, to keep track of your goals and important dates for the month and school year. These added pages will help you stay extra organized and help you stay on track of big-picture tasks and future responsibilities.
What Planner Is Best for Your Style?
Manage your myriad of responsibilities with the planner that best suits your learning style! Whether it’s paper or digital, daily or monthly, you’ll be seeing a boost to your productivity in no time!