Why use an agenda?
- An agenda can help you visualize your week, which really helps with time management. If you can see that you have to work Wednesday and Friday night, have soccer practice Saturday morning and a friend's birthday party Saturday night, you can easily see that you must plan to work on your science project on Thursday and Sunday or you won't have enough time to finish it by its due date on Monday.
- If you write it down, you are less likely to forget it. An agenda can help you keep track of everything important in your life from homework to dentist appointments.
- It can help you be more productive because an agenda helps you stay organized, prioritize tasks and get more done. Use it to create a plan for meeting your goals. Writing something in your agenda--like a study plan or a commitment to go to the gym after school--will help to keep you accountable.
- You won't feel so stressed once you start using your agenda regularly because you will worry less about forgetting important tasks and will have more control over your time and your life.
How to maximize the benefits of using your agenda:
- Fill it out ahead of time: Make your planner easier to use by taking the time to write out the classes you have each day, so there is a clear place to record your homework. Be sure to leave enough room for important appointments, due dates, etc.
- Keep it accessible: You won't use something that is not close at hand. Your agenda should travel with you to every class. When you are at home working on school work, it should be sitting open nearby so you can refer to it.
- Make it part of your daily routine: Your agenda will only help you stay organized if you actually use it regularly. Important times when you may want to check your planner and add important information include: the beginning of a class, the end of a class, packing up to go home, packing up to go to school, when you sit down to do your homework, the beginning of the week, the end of the week, etc.
- Mark your place: Use a sticky note, binder clip, folded page or other method to ensure you can open it to the right page with ease.
- Record EVERYTHING: To properly manage your time, you need to write more than just homework in your planner. Record regular blocks of study time, social events, work shifts, due dates, test/quiz dates, deadlines for college/scholarship applications, team practices, family events, vacations, etc. If it takes up time, make note of it and plan your study time around it to avoid all-nighters and cram sessions (because they're bad).
- Never trust your memory: You are bound to forget things even if you normally have a great memory. Always write important things in your agenda right away to avoid forgetting them.
- Use backward planning: When you write a due date or test date in your planner, go back a few days or even a few weeks and write in reminders so you don't forget. Take it to the next level of student organization awesomeness by outlining your study plan in your agenda.
- Try colour-coding: Colour-coding is a great way to stay organized and a great note-taking tool, and it can help you get the most out of your agenda too. Keep some coloured stickers, Post-It notes or tape flags on hand, and use them to remind you about an important event or due date that is coming up. They can also be used to mark some tasks as higher priority than others. For example, a yellow sticky note might indicate that the project is due next week while a red reminder note could indicate it is due the next day. You can also use sticky notes as tabs to highlight the end of a term or the due date for an important project or application.
- Build in rewards: If your goal is to stay organized and to get more work done, keep yourself motivated with little rewards to act as a positive reinforcement. Schedule a movie night with friends, for example, right after the deadline for a big project to reward yourself for your hard work.