My Planner and I… ‘Til Death Do Us Part!

Early in my career, I heard the phrase “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and I’ve clung to those words for dear life over the years. As a student, entrepreneur, full-time employee, and columnist- I wouldn’t accomplish much if I didn’t have a calendar. While I enjoy using my smart phone to make a note of quick thoughts, things to do, appointments, etc., I have found that I still rely on a physical, paper planner! My reason for this is simple. As much as I love technology, I fear losing my phone or experiencing a “glitch” that would cause me to no longer have access to important dates and information. On the other hand, my tried and true paper planner for example, stays in the same place and is always there when I need him. (Yes, my planner has a gender and a name, but that’s another story and a different article!)

My latest planner is a lightweight, spiral Day-Timer that I will be married to for the next year. I can use various parts of my planner for the different hats that I wear. This weekly/monthly planner has the dimensions of a picture frame (8×10) and can actually fit inside my purse! As a student, I have a 2-page monthly calendar, which lists the previous month, current month, and subsequent months in a column on the left side of the page. How easy it for me to make a note of an upcoming assignment or important date that corresponds to my course?

Oh, I am so in love with this planner! It also includes:

  • 8 study tips to that put you in control
  • An A-Z educational reference resource list
  • Pages for degree requirements, course schedule, grades and projects
  • An expense tracker

As an entrepreneur and columnist, I have an open 2-page weekly format with a shaded action list, space for notes and appointments, and library tabbed pages for quick look-up! The reference section with commonly misspelled words, common editorial marks, and the pages in the back of the planner for notes has already come in handy.

Here’s an example of how I’ve used my planner for this upcoming week:

Sunday – article writing (noted in the September weekly/monthly date for the 11th)

Monday – work from 8am-5pm (noted in the weekly format pages); fitness class at 5:30 is listed in the appointment column for Monday’s date

Tuesday – work from 8am-5pm (noted in the weekly format pages); article writing (noted in the September weekly/monthly date for the 13th)

Wednesday – work from 8am-5pm (noted in the weekly format pages); fitness class at 5:30 is listed in the appointment column for Wednesday’s date

Thursday – networking event from 8am-1pm; work from 2pm-6pm; Bible Study from 7pm-8:30pm (all noted in the weekly format pages)

Friday – work from 8am-12pm (noted in the weekly format pages)

Just glancing over my schedule confirms why my planner and I are a match made in heaven.  If your current organizational system doesn’t allow you to accomplish the items on your agenda for any given day, a planner could be the remedy to your challenges.

For some tips on time management, check out this video from Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek.

Want to win this awesome planner from Day-Timer? Post a time management tip in the comments section and then be sure you’re following us on Twitter! We’ll choose a winner and make an announcement via Twitter on Friday, September 23rd using the hashtag #TalkNerdy2Me.

Ericka Spradley is the President and Founder of My Next Level. She has many years of leadership experience and her understanding of the multi-faceted leadership realm has provided a level of expertise in human resource management and career growth. Among her significant accomplishments, Ericka has served as Vice President of Professional Development with The National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Strayer University Chapter, she was a columnist for Classroom to Cubicle, an online magazine for college students, and she is currently a Yahoo! Contributor columnist. In addition, her works have been found in Today’s Charlotte Woman and she has also been quoted by The Charlotte Observer.

15 comments
NicoleMaher
NicoleMaher

I completely agree that I am much more trustworthy of and comfortable with a physical planner, rather than just using my phone or other technology. I prefer writing things down, too because it helps me to remember them. It is nice to go through and cross things off as they happen in my planner, and you can't do that with technology!

AllisonEcker
AllisonEcker

"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" summarizes perfectly how I became addicted to my planner. There were some rough patches I had when I forgot homework and other necessary events because I never wrote them down. Now I write everything in my planner- and I do mean everything!

b.nijhoff
b.nijhoff

I really like the phrase "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail" but also "my-planner-and-i-‘til-death-do-us-part". I also totally agree with those 2 phrases. Keep on the good work with your articles.

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars
The National Society of Collegiate Scholars

Weekly Monthly Planner commented on TalkNerdy2Me:

[...] My Planner and I… 'Til Death Do Us Part! | TalkNerdy2Me My latest planner is a lightweight, spiral Day-Timer that I will be married to for the next year. I can use various parts of my planner for the different hats that I wear. This weekly/monthly planner has the dimensions of a picture [...]

MsMarshall7
MsMarshall7

Make a to-do list starting then work your way through the list starting with your priorities first. Concentrate on one task at a time and get it done. Once you have completed the full list, reward yourself by either doing something that is not on the list and that you like to do like a hobby or sit down and relax your mind. @MsMarshall7

Pyrenessa
Pyrenessa

I use a I three ring prong folder with folders in side that are colored to coincide with priority. red is urgent, green is needs to be done within the week, orange is future work and black is completed projects. I write down what is needed on the paper along with references for that paticular project or assignment and put it in the corresponding folder. This way I know what I need done and also have room under it if I have any additional thoughts. I keep a gray folder for any references used, information etc..... this also has been helpful in future classes.

ruthiehl
ruthiehl

By using a traditional paper planner, as well as smartphone apps such as rememberthemilk.com, you can manage time easily! Also, a paper planner is great for time management because you can write down what you need to do right away! No need to worry about angry professors or bosses due to you busting out a smartphone while their talking ;)

The National Society of Collegiate Scholars
The National Society of Collegiate Scholars

Be a Better College Student: Plan for Success! « The Day-Timer Blog commented on TalkNerdy2Me:

[...] your one essential tip for success in college? Here’s a great student-written feature that discusses ways to plan your week at school, and includes a review of one of our new student [...]

Glam Edwards
Glam Edwards

How else can we achieve success with time management. Success reqiure sticking to devised plans. It's how we maintain balance in our lives.

Ronen
Ronen

Long live the paper planner! While I do love my smart phone as well, the physical planner will always be my true love. I am a very visual person, so unless I can see when deadlines, appointments, meetings, etc. are, I am very liable to forget about them. I pride myself on having a good memory, but that memory relies on being able to study something physically and visually first. (I actually used to memorize my notes for tests by capturing images in brain of where information was on each page).

Jeff @ Day-Timer
Jeff @ Day-Timer

Great review Ericka! Please note: we have lots of student-related posts on using a planner, student time management, and having time to study and have fun at the Day-Timer blog: http://daytimer.wordpress.com.

Thanks!

Jeff Doubek

Day-Timer Spokesperson

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