With 15 credit hours, two clubs, and a social life to juggle, things have been getting real this semester — suddenly my trusty notebook planner that I’ve been using since seventh grade just isn’t cutting it anymore. I realized at the beginning of the semester that I needed to get my life together, and I discovered digital planning software that has saved my grades (and my sanity) this year. I’m going to dive into the methods I use to organize literally my entire life, and offer guidance for those dipping their toe into digital planning for the first time.
The first software that I decided to take advantage of was Google Calendar. This software is essential for me to block out my time. Google Calendar has task and reminder functions, but I primarily use the event feature. I input all of my classes and club meetings at the beginning of the semester, including exams from my class syllabi. This may seem redundant, but it ensures that I never double book myself. I also make sure to color code each class and club. Additionally, whenever my friends and I plan a non-spontaneous outing, I make sure to input it into my calendar as well. If you thrive off of an even deeper level of structure, you could even use Google Calendar to block out how long you might study for each class or to set aside a time to work on a project. You can choose to get notifications before each events start if you want an extra cushion in case something slips your mind. With Google Calendar, all of my events are covered — but for my tasks, assignments, and projects, I use a different software.
Once upon a time, I kept a bullet journal and used it to plan my days out, but eventually I realized that drawing out spreads for my journal was costing me more time than it was saving me. I gave it up, but I always missed the creativity and personalized adaptability that bullet journaling allows. Enter: Notion. Notion is essentially a digital version of bullet journaling in which you start with a completely blank slate that you can customize as creatively as you want. Now, this blank slate can be daunting as well, especially when you don’t know how to use the software. However, Youtube to the rescue! There’s an abundance of productivity influencers with tutorials on how to use Notion, and better yet — many of them have made templates for their setups! The one I use (and love) is from Janice Studies on Youtube. The link to her template is here. It includes a fun homepage, complete with a quote, photos, embedded playlists, and an assignment overview. There are pages for work and expenses, along with a page for school where you can put your class schedule and to-do lists. Each class has its own page, where you can take notes on lectures or readings. My favorite part about it, however, is the Assignment/Exam Schedule. You can enter every assignment of the semester, and sort by class, due date, or task type. It’s just so satisfying to put in all of my tasks once I get my syllabi, then to watch as I check off every task throughout the semester. Even better, as you update this assignment schedule, it updates on your homepage as well, showing assignments due within a week and within a month. The more I’ve planned on Notion, the more I’ve picked up how to use it, and I continue to customize my Notion to best suit my needs, adding pages for my clubs along with a chore tracker.
I couldn’t be happier with my digital planning system. It covers all my bases and eases any anxiety I have about assignments or my busy schedule. If you, like me, are struggling to plan your life in a tiny little notebook, consider giving these softwares a try!