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How to Master Your Planner

If you’re anything like me, your schedule is really busy because you are so involved on campus, on top of going to classes and holding down a job. The only way I manage is by staying super organized. My friends even rely on me to tell them when they have to be somewhere! My secret? It’s my planner. I could not survive without writing everything down in my planner. I am going to share my secrets with you on how to master your planner and start your journey to being a responsible, organized adult.


Finding the Right Planner

Personally, I am in LOVE with my Erin Condren planner. My dad bought me their 18-month planner and now I will never go back. Erin Condren planners are taking over the work world, but I’ll admit they’re pricey at $55. The perks are that it has tons of different pages and spreads for you to use and it even comes with stickers to help with your planning. If the Erin Condren planners don’t seem like the right fit for you, there are many other planners out there that will fit your needs. The Lily Pulitzer planner is another very popular choice at only $30, but the layout is different. Which brings me to my next point.

Choosing the Right Layout

Before choosing which planner will become your whole life, make sure you buy one that fits your needs. Since I am always running around to different commitments, I like my vertical days with the times included. If you like to see more of a list of what you have to do that day, you may want to choose a planner that gives each day a block with a bunch of lines so you can write whatever you want in it. Or if you like to have separate boxes for the different things you have to do, you may want to look at the Day Designer Daily & Monthly planner, which is different from their Weekly & Monthly Planner. Both of which are around $20.


Color Code

I cannot stress this enough. You should color code everything you have to write in your planner. This will help you stay organized when you have tons of different commitments. For example, I use blue for personal things like class, work, and doctor appointments, green for my sorority, purple for Her Campus and my Ballroom club, orange for social commitments, pink for any special events like a concert or birthday, and finally black for my to-do list or other notes I have to make. This will make it so much easier for you to visualize the different things you have to do spread throughout the week. 


Pencil Things In

Whenever someone tells me anything, I automatically pencil it into my planner. But do NOT write it in pen until there is a definite date and time so that if I have to change anything, I can do so. Then, you can scribble details like the place or what to wear in the margins of your planner. Most planners also have an area on the side where you can write whatever you want, and that is the perfect place to write details of events in your week. At the same time, things change a lot, so I end up crossing and scribbling things out all the time. It just adds character to your hectic schedule!

Combine Your To-Do List With Your Calendar

I used to have papers scattered all over my room that had different to-do lists on them. Then my dad told me to write my to-do items into my planner so I make sure they get done. At first, I didn’t want to combine them, but now this is the best advice I have ever taken! I never forget to do anything because I write everything I have to do that day, including homework or cleaning my room, in a small list at the top of each day. If you would rather have one long to-do list for the week, write it in the margins that your planner gives you. 

Write Important Due Dates

It’s a great idea to write down a big test for class or when a special project is due in your planner. This makes it easy for you to visualize the amount of time you have to study or work on it. I put smaller homework assignments or readings in the to-do list section at the top of the day. I also don’t write my class schedule or weekly work schedule unless something changes. Me and my roommate both print out our core schedules and hang them above our desks so we know what we have to do each day.

Write in Both The Daily and Monthly Calendar

I must admit that I mostly rely on the day-to-day part of my calendar, but it is also a good idea to write big dates like a final exam or a day off in your monthly calendar too. It doesn’t give you as much room to write but it is an easier way for you to see what your month is going to look like; for example, which weekends you are available and when your winter break will start.

Use Stickers

Your planner will become your life so make sure it looks pretty! It can be really stressful looking at how much you have on your plate in one day, but if you make it look appealing, then you will be a lot more excited to tackle things. Stickers are a great way to mark small things like checking your mail or cleaning your dorm. You can also add some pretty ones just to make your planner look fancier. I always write in cursive in my planner because I feel like that makes everything I scribble on the page look a lot nicer. You can also use different highlighters to emphasize certain things or even doodle some cute pictures for yourself all over the page.

Sync It With Your Phone

While most people only rely on their phone calendar, I feel like it is not as reliable or easy to visualize things, as a good old fashion paper planner. BUT it is probably a good idea to sync your planner to your phone calendar so that you can see what you have going on even when you don’t have your planner on you. Personally, I do not do a good job with this one because I just rely on my planner too much. I take it with me wherever I go, especially when I go to class, work, or a club meeting. But there have been some times where someone asks me if I’m free and I don’t know because I don’t have my planner with me.



Figure out what works for you when it comes to a planner. Every person likes to do things differently so you may have a certain way of planning or writing things out that works best for your life.

Amanda is a student at Hofstra University studying public relations with minors in design and radio/tv/film. She loves to dance, paint, and experiment with vegetarian cooking. Amanda loves being involved in her sorority, Alpha Theta Beta, as well as being a volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters on campus. Additionally, she loves animals, environmental advocacy, communications, and event planning. (Please note that Her Campus nationals removed photos from articles that existed before 2019 and therefore my original photos are not included for those articles)
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