How to Use Your Planner to Stay Organized

By Lily Cooper
Professional Writing major, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Midsection of businesswoman writing in diary at a table in a cafe

Did you ever get those school planners in high school? You would receive it, write in it maybe once and then put it in your backpack, only to never see it again? Me too. However, I realized, keeping a planner in college, is actually very useful and a good investment to make.


Not only does it help me stay organized, but it keeps me on track for my day and allows me to plan my time wisely. Unlike in high school, I actively use my planner to help me get through the week and remind me of certain events. It’s usually the number one thing I keep in my bag throughout the day.

Planners though can be a bit overwhelming and you may not know where to start to stay organized. Here are some things you can do with your planner to utilize the best of it. Check them out below:

Choose the Right Size

I am a fan of smaller planners that can fit in my purse. However, if you tend to need more writing room, then I suggest getting a bigger planner that can hold more. It’s important to choose the right size for you that will be easy for your needs and fit your plans.

Write Down Due Dates in Advance

When it comes to classes and due dates, the minute I get the syllabus, I write down the due dates in my planner. Some are always subject to change, but just having a visible reminder of it keeps me accountable. I haven’t missed an assignment since.

Write Down Your Commitments

I know it can seem weird to pencil in a coffee date with your best friend in your planner, but with college life being so full of plans and due dates, you will forget. It also helps you not overbook yourself as well as double-booking yourself. The last thing you want to do is plan to hang out with one friend on one day and then accidentally have another obligation at the same time.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Boring

Most people think of planners as boring and dull, but it doesn’t have to be! Buy fun stickers, get some paints and sparkly pens to decorate your planner. You can watercolor the mood for the month and throw some stickers on the days for birthdays and vacations. Take it another step further and add some calligraphy.

Write Your Goals

Some planners have a page for this and some do not. If yours doesn’t, you can just take a sticky note and paste it in. It’s important to write down your goals for the month and the things you want to achieve. Putting it on paper makes it more real and you are more apt to achieve them.

Put Inspirational Quotes Inside

In my planner, there is a notes column and most of the time, at the beginning of the month, I write down a Bible verse or quote to help me through the month. This is where you can use your creative skills and watercolor something in or paste a mini collage inside. Sometimes we can get so overwhelmed with what we have to do and when you open up your planner, seeing a cute photo or quote inside can help calm you down.

To-Do List

Another opportunity to list things you need to get done. You can make one for each week or every day. Do you have a study guide for a test you need to finish before Friday? Write it down. Do you need to finish reading for a class? Put it in your to-do list. Do you need to answer a million emails building up in your inbox? Jot it down.

There is nothing more satisfying than checking off a box on your to-do list and it drives you to get everything finished.

If you are interested in learning more about all GCU’s campus has to offer or want to read more about GCU, check out our website.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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