Planning in College

Macmillan Employee
Macmillan Employee
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Plan Ahead!


College students are expected to seamlessly juggle classes, coursework, jobs, clubs, volunteering, bills, debts, AND keeping up with an active social life. Students can fall into the pattern of instant meals, binge drinking, and procrastination as a way to put off their responsibilities. However, there is an easier way to deal with the stress of a chaotic college schedule: planning. There is a little bit more work upfront, but implementing a planner, an online calendar, and a to-do list can lead to less stress, more free time, and a better grip on all facets of college.

A physical planner with a place to note monthly, weekly, and daily obligations and due dates, is the key to knowing how much time you have to truly complete tasks with your best effort. I use a planner from Target however, a bullet journal can also be equally as effective. Ryder Carroll’s “The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future” is a great resource to get started with bullet journaling.

For the monthly pages, I note blocks of time I work, have interviews or important meetings that I need to prepare for when large projects or due, and (very important) vacations and fun events.

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For the weekly page, I will rewrite the big due dates from the monthly page in order to break it down to just the week at hand (to avoid being overwhelmed). This is where smaller due dates and errands can be added to the list as well.

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To-do lists: To make the most out of your study time, be it a block between classes or a whole evening, a to-do list can provide clarity and increase productivity. Making a short list for each day of the week will decrease the overwhelming nature of an all-encompassing to-do list. Color coding your to-dos based on class or importance is an easy (and cute) way to sort a lengthy to-do list. Making sure to note the priority of the task is important because it can be easy to accomplish the more fun or easy tasks before the more challenging ones that may be due sooner.

Finally, I use Google Calendar as an online calendar to set up my semester. This tool is free, user-friendly, and links up to any Google account. During enrollment season, I will enter in my upcoming classes using the recurring event function. This way I can easily know my availability for work and social things.

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Planning can be overwhelming but there are infinite benefits to even implementing some of these tactics. Productivity has been linked to increased happiness, higher quality of work, and less stress. Check out Matt D’Avella or Nathaniel Drew on YouTube for more productivity inspiration. Happy Planning!

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Katherine McGaughey
University of Kansas

Katie is a senior who is double-majoring in exercise science and psychology at the University of Kansas. Originally from Wichita, she loves exploring new cities and has traveled to eight of the top twenty most influential cities in the world so far. She loves cooking and finding the best vegan eats. You can usually find her in planning her next adventure, enjoying a concert with friends, or late-night studying at the library.