Watchdog Wellness: Setting up a Planner

Online learning can be hard for everyone, but it can be even harder if someone isn’t organized. A planner can help with organization, but it’s often overwhelming to start one. The Watchdog has you covered though, and this article will discuss why using a planner is important, how to start one, and tips for continual use.

Three reasons why keeping a planner is important:

1. Using a planner saves time

Bellevue College Faculty Counselor, Beth Luzzi, explains that using a planner does actually save you time:

“If you can spend five or so minutes planning out your day, just think about how much time you can save in wasted effort. In the end, it’s all about being proactive vs. reactive. Because most of us spend a lot of time in crisis mode, where we’re just reacting to things that come our way, this often means it takes longer to finish tasks or even know what we’re supposed to do. Spending five or so minutes a day planning for what’s to come can help with prioritizing the things that you need to do, rather than just reacting to what comes your way.”

2. Using a planner reduces anxiety

When a person has a lot to get done, these things tend to be all over their brain. This can oftentimes cause anxiety and also can reduce the amount of work you complete. When you write your thoughts down in a planner and journal when appropriate, you are taking those thoughts from your brain and putting them onto paper allowing you to become less anxious.

3. Using a planner reduces stress

Luzzi says that planners can actually reduce someone’s stress because they are able to prioritize what needs to get done:

Planning allows for an individual to prioritize what needs to be done and tackle the most important items first. Weekly planning is one step towards a more productive life and can help you beat procrastination. This leads to less stress and more happiness. Let’s think of a metaphor. If you were going on a road trip, would you just get in the car and drive, hoping you get to your destination? Probably not. Most people plan ahead and look at a map for the journey ahead of them. It’s a visual way of seeing where they’re going and you can conceptualize what’s to come. Where are the rest stops? Hotels? Travel attractions? All of this is the same for students. If our quarter is a road trip of academics, where are you going and how will you get there? Using a planner can help prioritize what needs to be done so that important items are finished first (like putting gas in the car) and then there is less stress while on the journey. You’ll find that there’s time for those fun pit stops to enjoy things this way!

Four Steps to Getting Started with a Planner:

1.     Pick your planner type

You may not be aware, but there are many planner options out there. Luzzi wants everyone to know “that it might take a little bit of experimentation! Some students want to use an app they can download on their phone while others might like a paper planner.  It’s all about experimentation. Don’t forget that Bellevue College also offers free counseling services. Counselors can help you discover the planning strategy that works best for you.” With that said, the most popular planning options are apps (such as for iOS and android), bullet journaling, and using a planner.

2.     Put all meetings and appointments in monthly layout

3.     Put all assignments in monthly layout

*If you are using an app, you are now completed with the steps

4.     Put everything from monthly layout into weekly layout

Tips for Continuously Using the Planner:

1.    Put more than just appointments and places you need to be

With a planner, you can plan out everything you would ever need to plan. Some other things you could plan include what food you will eat for that day, what workout you will do, what tasks you will get accomplished, and even include a mood tracker.

2.    Have the planner in a place where you see it every day

It can be so easy to create a system to keep yourself organized, but then just never use it. Try putting the planner in a place that you’ll see it every day such as your desk or nightstand.

3.    Use colors to make the planner appealing to use

Color coding your planner can make it appealing to the eye, but can also assist with organization. You may enjoy color coding your classes, meetings, and appointments.

Staying organized can be extremely hard, but having a planner can make it just that much easier. Although it may seem like something simple, it can make all the difference.