Color code your life: How to make planners more efficient

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Vivianna Loza
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“Having a planner is great!” – you tell yourself every semester. You can write everything down and never forget what’s coming up! Except for when you forget to write things down, check the planner or even write in it at all. As students, we want to be able to stay on top of our busy schedules and use as many tools as possible, including planners. However, students often don’t know how to properly use them. Here are a few tips and tricks that have helped me use and check my planner more efficiently.

Color Code Your Planner

I know what you’re thinking, color coding is a lot of work; yet, it only takes a few extra minutes out of your week. The easiest way to color code your planner is by assigning a color to each class you take. How do you choose the color? Match the pen color for each class to the color of the notebook/binder for each class! Using the same color for each individual class creates a link in your brain, which makes looking at your planner take up less of your time. Last minute assignment? Keep the colored pens in your pencil bag so you’re always prepared. Don’t forget to set a specific color for your personal life events, such as black or dark blue.

When to Color Code

The best time to color code your planner is at the end of your first week each semester. At this point you have your syllabi, all your notebooks or folders – meaning your class colors are already chosen – and you know what assignments lie ahead. It’s easiest to fill in your planner while following your class order. For example, fill in Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes first and then Tuesday/Thursday classes. Do one class at a time and make sure to double check the syllabus’ assignment calendar.

How to Check Your Planner

The hardest part of having a planner is remembering to check it. An easy way to remember to check your planner is by decorating it! Setting aside five minutes Saturday or Sunday night to add a sticker or stamp to the upcoming week’s page can save you from forgetting important events or assignments. Decorating also allows you to make your planner feel more personal and fun. If you’re looking for a more efficient way to check your planner, try highlighting exams, quizzes, and important personal events. This makes truly important things pop-out and not get lost in the jumble of your everyday life. You can also add a separator to quickly find the current week.

These tips and tricks have helped me better use and check my planner. Taking a few extra minutes out of your week to color code, decorate, or check your planner allows you to better control your life. Hopefully this can help you use your planner more efficiently and maybe you can add some of your own tips to this list.


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