Sometimes answering the question “what’s your guilty pleasure?” can be difficult for people depending on the truthful answer…do you claim the safe, but boring, ‘binging Netflix’ like every typical college student does, even though truthfully, we all have our own hobbies and knacks for life that we may feel weird admitting? Not going to lie to you, my guilty pleasure happens to be planning. This is not just typically weekly planning done in my head, I must write it all down, set it in stone, lay it out in pretty colors and write it all in an ascetically pleasing manner. With the start of the new year, my pretty pink 2018 planner was coming to its end, and when I got back to school on the 8th, already having anxiety about the first day of drop/add, I went to my safe place. I was only disappointed and almost shocked that I forgot over break that it was time for a new start, and I quickly started my mission to find my new haven where my life is physically bound.
It sounds trivial to find comfort in a series of organized, numbered squares, but something about the craziness of college life and the responsibilities that come with growing up, everything can feel a little less scary when I write them down exactly when they need to happen and cross them off when they are effectively over and accomplished. I never used a planner in high school, or if I did, it was a simple, cheap notebook where I would jot major tests and quizzes. Things came to me easier then, or maybe my routine was so down pat for so long, it was just easier to remember everything. These days I find myself writing down when to do laundry and take the trash cans to the street. College schedules change so frequently, and it is a challenge for my brain to keep as organized as it once did on an 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. schedule for 12 years.
This past week, as school work has started to set in and the overwhelming nature of the beginning of the semester is ensuing, I would claim to have maybe, just maybe, changed my roommate’s life for the better. Even though it’s a small change in habit, I got her the same planner as myself and encouraged her it would make her feel better having it be a part of our Sunday ritual, when we sit down on the couch and try to get our lives together. I saw her appreciation, but also the skepticism she felt about what this new planner could do for her. It has only been one week and I have noticed her bringing it everywhere with her, along with a new pack of colored pens and highlighters. I could say she’s a new woman, maybe not in every aspect, but this small change helped her feel better in a significant way. She wrote down every assignment she is aware of, every event and meeting scheduled for her organizations, every application due date and so much more. She says, “It’s not that I didn’t know I needed to do these things, but the fact that I can visually see them and note the days when they are actually due, makes every assignment and task feel less intimidating and more attainable.”
MY OFFICIAL ADVICE:
Now, you may already have a planner, but if not, I would suggest ordering one off Amazon with both weekly and monthly planning. I use the monthly calendar the most and find it helps me stay the most organized because of how I visually process things. I suggest browsing on Amazon, because it will be about 3x cheaper than Office Max or even Target. As far as what goes inside your planner, that is up to you, but for me, I found that laying out all my syllabus’s and color coding my school schedule is most important, and then if you have a job, that work schedule comes next. Extracurricular club meetings and job application deadlines go after that. Finally, don’t forget to add miscellaneous “to do’s” like dry cleaning, exercising, and of course, the exciting things going on in your life. Spring break plans and the concerts you plan to attend this semester should all be in there. These exciting things can make your tough weeks easier to get through.
My last word of advice is to remember to write down everything, if you are anything like me and get addicted to using this small book, you will end up relying on it so much that if you forget to write down an assignment or meeting, you will forget to do it or attend. So, Sundays and Mondays are vital days to sit down and tend to your little book and make sure you are on schedule for everything you have going on. This way of life has truly transformed my time management skills, as well as alleviating a lot of stress for me, and I hope it can for you too. I linked the Amazon page with a few, inexpensive options for your new 2019 life changer. Good luck!