Classes, study groups, assignment due dates -- college fills your day with time-sensitive commitments and deadlines that you can't miss. Keeping yourself organized with a daily planner helps you manage your time, focus your efforts, meet deadlines and maybe even have time left for socializing. Make your planner work for you by customizing how you use it.

Electronic Planners

Man looking at tablet calendar.
Man looking at tablet calendar.

With smartphones, laptops and cloud storage, it's easier than ever to access and share your planner details if you choose to go high-tech. If you're like most college students, you keep your phone with you at all times. This allows you to access your calendar entries, to-do lists, online class resources and contact information for professors and classmates. You can also share events in the calendar. For example, if you're working on a group project, you can invite other group members to accept the calendar event you created for a meeting time.

Traditional Paper Planners

Person writing in planner.
Person writing in planner.

If you like the idea of physically writing in the details and crossing items off as you finish, a paper planner may be your preferred option. Since you only have one copy, you'll need to keep close track of your planner and carry it with you to and from classes and study sessions. Flip through the pages of traditional planner options to find one that has the space and breakdown that work for you. Many have a monthly calendar plus a weekly breakdown with a section for each day. Other desirable features are spots for goals and to-do lists.

Planner Organization

Daily planner with colorful tabs.
Daily planner with colorful tabs.

An organizational system within your planner allows you to use it effectively so you improve your overall time management. Create a color-coding system to easily identify data for different courses. You can also color-code different types of entries, such as red for tests and blue for assignment due dates. Enter all set dates, including the midterms and the end of the semester. The college calendar and specific class syllabi help you find those important dates. This sets your planner up so you're ready to enter other assignments and tasks as they come up.

Planner Use

Man looking through planner.
Man looking through planner.

If you don't normally use planners, it may take time to get in the habit of doing it. Have your planner easily accessible during class so you can enter dates and assignments as the professor announces them. Get detailed in your planner. Block off class periods, study groups, labs and other commitments so you know those times are taken. Include enough detail in planner entries so you understand what you meant. In an electronic planner, you might include a link to project requirements from your professor's website, for example. If the assignment is from a textbook, include specific pages or chapters. Refer to your planner during study sessions to ensure you don't miss any deadlines.