8 Student Tips for Using a Planner

The assignment is due when? Tomorrow? We’ve all been there at some point. Somehow, that assignment due date can slip right up on you without you noticing. That is why using a planner and building organizational skills are so important to school performance. Who wants to get an “F” because they’ve forgotten to put their completed project in their book bag the night before it was due?

Here are 8 tips for students on using a planner effectively.

1. Make the planner a part of your daily routine. Carry it with you at all times and remember to check it every morning and every night. Keep it close while you do your homework so you can mark your assignments as completed as you go.

2. Fill in your assignment due dates as soon as you learn them. Get in the habit of writing in your planner while you’re still in the classroom. Write the assignment on the page of the due date and put a reminder message a few days before the due date. Don’t put it off!

3. Learn to use backward planning. When you write a due date in your planner, go back a day or a week and give yourself a reminder that the due date is approaching. This is essential to using your planner effectively. You should always be looking days and weeks ahead, not just what’s due tomorrow.

4. Use a color- coding system. Keep some colored stickers on hand and use those for reminders that a due date or other important event is approaching. For instance, use a yellow caution sticker to serve as a warning two days before your research paper is due.

5. Put everything in your planner. You must remember that anything that takes up time, like a ball game, will keep you from working on an assignment. If you don’t put these things in your planner as time out, you may not realize how limited your homework time really is. This leads to cramming and all-nighters.

6. Use flags. You can buy sticky-note flags and use them as tabs to indicate the end of a term or the due date of a large project. This is a great visual tool that serves as a constant reminder of an imminent due date.

7. Don’t discard old pages. You will always have important information in your planner that you’ll need to see again at a later date. Old phone numbers, reading assignments—you’ll want to remember those things later on.

8. Go ahead and congratulate yourself ahead of time. On the day after a big project is due or you’ve taken a big exam, put in a reward appointment, like a trip to the mall, a meal out with friends, or buying yourself something you’ve saved up for. This can serve as positive reinforcement.

It is also important to block off anything that consumes your time in your planner so that you can avoid conflict and crisis. Don’t forget to mark off the following:

  • Regular blocks of homework time
  • Assignments (due dates)
  • Test and quiz dates
  • Extracurriculars and clubs
  • Dances, parties, celebrations
  • Family gatherings and vacations
  • School events
  • Fees for field trips (due dates)
  • Holidays

Allison Green
Boston Tutoring Services

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