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It’s back to school again and you know what that means, back to the grind. As a college senior entering my last semester I am determined to make it the best. Okay, realistically speaking I want to be able to make it out of this semester alive and not overwhelmed. Luckily, I’ve been a student for the majority of my life, and I have picked up a couple of tricks here and there. Along with these tricks, I have learned the art of scheduling and the necessity of owning a planner.

Planners, one of my personal favorite life hacks of all time! Ever since I was introduced to keeping a planner back in the good old days of third grade, they have become part of my student and personal life. I just can’t stress enough how much investing in a planner could help stay on top of things. Not to mention the endless options you will have from choosing a planner. Cute planners, professional planners, simple planners, inexpensive planners, you name it. For starters choose the planner that fits your needs the best. My best advice is to choose a planner that as silly as it may sound, will get you excited about using it! This will motivate you to actually use your planner rather than put it off or forget about it later on. 

After you have chosen a planner you should assign a time that will be dedicated entirely to planning and scheduling. Personally, I like to set a time at the beginning of the week and before bed to map out my days for the week. When I plan out at the beginning of the week I like to think about it as my weekly overview of the upcoming week and plan long term. Write down special events, appointments, due dates, and class times that you will have during that week to plan accordingly and meet deadlines. For my short term planning, I dedicate time before I go to bed to plan my next day. I write down a to-do list, things I want to accomplish, and deadlines that I have for the following day. This has really helped me stay organized and know what needs to be done and what I want to accomplish. If you’re a procrastinator (like me) this will help you keep yourself accountable and avoid leaving things to the last minute. Remember, the time you set aside depends entirely on you. You can choose any other time either in the mornings, afternoon, or evenings for short-term planning or even biweekly for your long-term planning. All that matters is that you will be able to stick to it. 

While your planner will be your instrument, the schedule will require you to actually practice it. Scheduling doesn’t mean you have to religiously follow it. Instead, it should help you divide and conquer your day more efficiently! One of the most popular scheduling strategies is time blocking. This strategy basically consists of four main steps, 

  • plan all your tasks
  • define your time blocks (when, start to finish and for how long)
  • act on your schedule (practice it)
  • test and revise 

For those of you that are more tech-savvy and prefer to use an app rather than a physical planner, there are plenty of apps that can serve the purpose of a planner and scheduling. Here are some recommended apps that can help you stay organized

  • My Study Life
  • Google Calendar
  • Any.do
  • Things 
  • TimeBlocks
  • Todoist
  • Edo Agenda 
  • Fantastical

Now take out the colorful pens, stickers, and planners you are ready to start the semester ready and more organized! 

NMSU Senior majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications with an emphasis in Strategic Communications. An awkward individual that just happens to like human interaction. Lover of music, fur babies, and photo shoot sessions with friends. Easily mistaken for twin sister. I write as if I’m writing to my friend.
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