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How to Organize Your Life with Excel

There are countless ways to go about organizing your life as a student. I’ve tried many, including tried-and-true programs like Notion and Google Calendar and pen-and-paper methods like writing in a traditional planner or using a system of color-coded sticky notes. For a lot of people, consistency is key, but I find myself needing to switch it up every once in a while to keep things new and fresh. Excel is frequently used for calendars and expense trackers, but it can certainly handle much more, as study-themed YouTubers like Janice Studies showed here

Here are a few free Excel templates and what they can be used for (you can also peruse Etsy for more options).

Grade Tracking

I always have a surprisingly high number of professors who don’t like using Blackboard in any given semester. The result is that I basically have no idea what my grade looks like—I just have a bunch of random emails and returned Word documents with grades scattered over them in red. If you have your syllabus handy, you can track your grades yourself, with this Excel spreadsheet, also available as a printable pdf! 

Time Management

Time management is a big deal in college and beyond. One of the most eye-opening activities can be tracking all of your time—my screen time knows that I’m spending seven hours on my phone, but when I’m physically noting frequent 10-minute scroll breaks, it’s a bit jarring. Templates like these are great for knowing where your time is going, and for planning out your study times too. 

Meal Planning

Trying to eat out less? Or eat on a more consistent schedule? (I know I forget to eat when I have back-to-back classes and work). A meal planner, like this one, can be so helpful for all stages of the process, whether you’re trying to eat healthier, figuring out what you actually need on your Target run, or just trying to create some more routine in your life. 

Exercise & Health

Exercising is part of time management, although for me, it feels like an afterthought. After classes, work, homework, and Zoom meetings, I don’t have a lot of time to facilitate an endorphin rush, and even when I do, it feels disorganized. Use any one of the templates here if you want to focus on health specifically. 

These are just some of the ways Excel can become your planner and right hand! Microsoft Office offers a bunch of templates too, which you can search or skim through as you boot up Excel, and online shops have more aesthetic download options as well. Happy planning!

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Carina is a senior studying Economics + Psychology at Boston University. She is passionate about marketing, Sally Rooney, and caramel lattes.
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