Getting Your Sh*t Together: Using a Planner

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Thursday, January 05, 2017

For the past few years I have been obsessed with organization. Even though I am obsessed with it doesn't mean I'm expert but over the years I have learned a thing or two from buying overly priced planners and never using them to finding what works best for me. The biggest tip I can give anyone struggling in organizing their life is to get a planner. As human beings our mind has the extraordinary ability to store information however this takes a lot of cognitive energy and effort. That being said the likelihood of remembering that meeting your have two months from now is quite slim. So instead of constantly trying to remember information and wasting energy on that...using a planner or simply writing a to-do list can free up space in your mind to focus on other important things like memorizing organic reagents.

It wasn't until my first year of undergrad when I began using a planner. And to be quite frank I barely utilized it and the fact that I didn't write down things really hindered my ability to reach my full potential that year.  I don't think I was just too lazy to use my planner (or maybe I was) rather not knowing how to use it. It may seem obvious but I believe it takes some thinking and time to organize you thoughts onto a planner so it could actually be useful.

After countless trials and errors with other planners I can say I found the one (well this year). I am currently using the Day Designer by Kate Spade from Target. First I would like to take a moment to say that Target has so many gorgeous planners to choose from (seriously tho) and they satisfy all my stationary needs. Likewise, this planner has been working great for me for the past 6 months. This planner's layout is quite spacious which is perfect to make to-do list as I check them off as I go. Another neat thing this planner has is a monthly overview as well as weekly calendar. This comes in handy because I can lay out my monthly schedule like the important meetings, events, or work. And then in the weekly sections I can get into the details on what I need to get done each day like my study schedule and check them off as I go.

If you are new to this idea of using a planner to get organized here are some tips:

1.) Know what works for you.
- Some people are blessed with fine memory and don't need to write things down while people like me need to write everything down.

2.) Put it on Paper.
- Having information running through your mind is not healthy nor is it reliable so writing it down will give your mind some space and can even reduce your stress level.

3.) Make it colorful.
- Adding a pop of color or having an appealing planner motivates you to open it every day to keep it up to date. (Trust me this works!)

4.) Schedule a time.
- For me I tried doing the whole "plan my week on Sunday" thing but that was not effective for me because my daily schedule fluctuates often. So I tend to plan my day either the day before or the morning of. I also go through my planner and check off things as the day progresses. The thing about using a planner well is that you need to individualize it because this is your schedule that you need to layout not someone else's.

5.) Don't beat yourself up.
- When I began using a planner a few years ago, I was really bad at it... like I barely used it. However as the years went on and my responsibilities grew I gradually began utilizing it because I kinda had to. So, if you don't always keep up with your's okay, you will get the hang of it sooner or later.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know if you like these types of blog post.
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