I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am terrible about procrastination. I have a tendency to make a huge list in my head at nighttime of what I want to do the next day, then the next day I hit snooze 247 times, turn on YouTube, and basically get nothing done on my list. Then, I get in bed and the cycle repeats itself. Sigh
Today, we are gonna talk about the remedy for that; organization and a planner! Many of us probably have owned a planner at some point in our lives that we were gung-ho about using for the first week, then e immediately forgot we had it for months and it was useless.
But what if we had a good system for using planners that really helped us get our lives in order? What if we were actually able to check off everything on our to-do list? What if we were able to actually get ahead on schoolwork for once in our college careers?!?
We’re gonna look at a couple of different types of planners, as well as the organizational system that works for me. I won’t waste anymore of your time (which will soon be scheduled into your planner!) so let’s get to it!
Not gonna lie, I personally don’t like digital planners, BUT I know they work really well for some people, so I’m definitely gonna bring them up here. Some people love the convenience of having their planner or to-do list in their pocket. Personally, I’m a paper and pen kind-of-gal, but do what works for you!
Of the digital planners I know of that people swear by, there are two that come to mind. The first is a Google Calendar. If you have a Google account (which virtually everyone does by now,) all you need to do is find your calendar app and then you can get plannin’! The upsides of a Google Calendar is how color-coded you can make your schedule, which is really handy if you’re color-minded like myself. Additionally, if you have a Fitbit or similar smartwatch, you will get reminders about your events (if your watch is compatible with Google apps.) Additionally, it’s pretty easy to use, and there’s not much of a learning curve, so if you’re looking for a new and digital planner, this is a great one to try out.
The other one is To-doist. This one was shared with me by graduating senior, Nick Davis, who is the master of organization, so if he says it’s good, you know it works. To-Doist is an app that lets you organize your tasks into daily lists, or lets you organize by project. This gives you a great lay-out of what all you need to do in a day or to finish out a project. You can also set deadlines if you need the extra boost of motivation. The app will also send you daily reminders of what is left on your list, nearly as persistently as Duolingo does!
This is more of my expertise. I love having a physical planner because I remember tasks better if I write them down versus type them. I typically toss my planner in my backpack if I’m going to work or school, and being at home right now means it basically never leaves my line of sight.
I like physical planners because I can add a lot of tasks to each day and can still see all of them without having to hit “see more” or scrolling forever. Color-coding is easy with a physical planner, and I can add notes next to tasks if needed (for example, I can denote AM tasks and PM tasks or write the amount of time I think each item will take.) I can also add some of the ‘minor’ tasks without feeling overly cluttered like I might with a digital calendar.
When using my physical calendar, I typically color-code by category (guide is below!) and arrange items by necessity of completion. Deadlines and classes are at the top, then work projects, exercise, household tasks, and fun!
Whichever of the two above options you choose, I highly recommend color-coding your planner, as it can make it easy to tell which tasks fall into what category. Here is my personal guide for how I arrange my planner. Feel free to adapt based on personal needs or what pens you have on hand!
My color-coding system:
-Deadlines are in BRIGHT RED! Draws my eyes to it and makes me know it must be done
-Classes are typically in another shade of red, as they are still ‘must-dos’, but I’m in a routine now that doesn’t involve me needing the daily reminder.
-Work stuff is in orange. This is still a bright color that draws my eyes to it and tells me it should get done ASAP.
-I do exercise and activity goals in light blue. If it’s a habit I’ve formed, I don’t always add it in, but if it’s something I really want to do before the day is over (like a yoga lesson,) I put it in my planner.
-Daily tasks are in lime green – cleaning, taking a shower, a load of laundry, etc.
-Social Activities are in Pink (and right now those are scarce and by Zoom call, haha!)
-Volunteer activities are also fairly scarce right now, but I put them in purple when I have them.
-Lastly, my ‘rewards’ are in turquoise. If I get everything else on the list done, this is what I get to do. Cup of ice cream, spending time reading for fun, watching YouTube (my weaknesssssss,) etc.
I hope this look at organization has helped you to tackle your to-do list. Building your plan for each day should be part of your nighttime routine (which we covered last week) and can help you to stay focused on the various tasks you must complete each day.
Do you have any tips for keeping tasks organized? Leave them in the comments below!