Or, what I used to do to try to keep myself on track.
I’ve been regularly using planners and calendars and various physical and virtual productivity tools since like elementary school, so it feels like I’ve tried just about everything. I’m still searching for a system that works best for me (especially since I’m no longer in school), but I thought I’d share today what I used to do up until now.
Basically, before I got to college, I’d just use the homework planners that the school gave. I’d just list out all the assignments I was assigned that day, and also write the assignments or exams down on the day they were due. In high school, when I started having more assignments (that I didn’t finished during the school day), I also started using a to-do list where I’d write down all the work I was going to do that day. It worked fine, since public school is pretty structured.
In college, I was using a normal notebook as a planner. Each page would be a day, and I’d create a time schedule where I’d list all the classes I had that day and when I was going to do each task (like assignments, readings, social events, etc). Just using a plain notebook wasn’t really cutting it for keeping track of assignments, especially since some of those assignments didn’t have specific due dates. I tried a couple of apps, but I didn’t use my phone enough for them to be all that useful. I started using evernote to track what was due and what I had to get done for each day. Each new note was for one day, and I’d also have a masterlist of the more important deadlines. It worked well for a couple of semesters, but I was getting tired to constantly creating new notes.
Next I switched over to google calendar. I was still keeping a paper-and-pencil planner (again, just a plain notebook) so I could bring it around with me and write new things down. But I had also started working in a research lab at that time, and scheduling for that lab was done using a shared google calendar, so I thought it would be useful for me to implement this too. The nice thing about google calendar is that you can quickly color code everything. For example, I used yellow to block out studying/homework times, orange for meal times, and teal for errands (groceries, laundry, etc). I was also able to set reminders and do more efficient planning for the immediate future. And the best thing- there is also a task list feature where you can list out to-dos at the top of each day and it crosses them out when you click it. So I could list out all the things that were do for each day, and as I did them, it was like checking things off a physical to-do list. Plus, I usually used the calendar in weekly view, so I could see upcoming stuff as well. Google calendar was really great and worked well for me up until graduation. Since I had classes and other events that were a specific times, it was a great tool to visualize what kinds of free time I had to devote to everything else.
Now that I’ve graduated, I don’t have that kind of set schedules anymore, and there aren’t any more strict deadlines for class assignments or anything. So, I had to find a way to keep track of my productivity. I had heard about bullet journaling in college, but since I already had a functional system in place, I didn’t look into it much. I did notice, though, that a lot of the people using bullet journaling were working adults, so I thought that now might be a good chance to try it out. So I did, and that’s what I’ll be posting about in a couple of days.