Planners are key to keeping organized

Time management is always a challenge for teens, and even more so in a pandemic

Jillian Cook and Samuel Chen

Due to our new online world, many students are stressed and struggling to keep up with all of their work. Time management is extremely difficult, especially when a student is juggling a job in addition to family and school responsibilities.

“The best thing you can do for organization and time management is keeping a planner,” said AVID teacher Jessica Green. “It doesn’t have to be a paper one–use a medium that you already interact with every day. This will encourage you to use it because you are already in the habit! If you like to be on your phone, find an app that works for you, or a calendar or alarms; you need to get into the habit of using it every day in order for it to be helpful.”

Once a choice about the planner type has been made, some basic details will make the planner more effective.

“Write down your assignments, when they’re due, and how to turn them in,” said AVID teacher Marcella Murphy.

As for what type of planner to use, there are numerous options, both electronic and physical.

Every smartphone has a huge variety of apps to download for time management and organization, so picking out one or two that fit your requirements can help you get things done. Something that may work for you with no extra looking needed is the pre-installed apps that come with a new phone. These can include calendars, alarms and reminders, or note-taking apps. For iOS, there’s the Calendar and Reminders apps, which let you schedule events and set up reminder messages. Android also has a Calendar app, with the same functions.

Google has a collection of apps that sync with your account, such as their own Calendar and Tasks apps, which can be connected to Gmail to keep track of events. Microsoft’s Outlook email client has an event calendar.

AVID teacher Anna Bellersen-Lee recommends Google Keep, their note-taking and reminder app, for saving lists, notes, and information.

In addition to apps, physical planners can be helpful. Whether a wall or desk calendar, a fancy spiral planner or even a simple to-do list, physically writing down events can be more appealing to some students than electronic versions.

It’s not the actual format of the planner that matters most, say AVID teachers, as long as students find one that works for them.

“You can use the Schoology calendar, the calendar on your phone, a fancy planner you purchase, or make one yourself,” Murphy said.  “Whatever you use, make sure to update it daily and cross off assignments when you turn them in.”