Plan your life! A guide to using calendars

Staying organized is a critical skill to develop and maintain during high school. As your workload increases and your responsibilities begin to add up, it’s important that you keep track of all your commitments. This isn’t always an easy task. As you near senior year, you’ll have to balance school assignments, exams,  standardized tests, scholarship and college application deadlines, and extracurricular commitments. This can sometimes turn into a real juggling act, especially towards the end of the school year with finals and the penultimate board exams. 

If you want to ensure that you’re prepared for the work ahead and that you don’t drop any of the important balls you’ve got in the air, you’ll need to come up with a foolproof organization system. This means using your time wisely, developing stress management techniques, and, of course, staying organized.

One critical key to your organization should be the use of a planner or calendar. Using a planner or calendar will help you to visualize the many commitments you have made and will also aid you in keeping track of them. Having a visual reminder of what is happening when can also deter you from biting off more than you can chew.

There are many different systems for using these important tools, but ultimately how you maximize your use of them will be up to your personal preferences. In this post, we’ll outline the benefits of using various calendar systems, the various methods you might employ in using them, and the types of things you should include on your calendar. To learn more about how using a calendar or planner can help you to stay organized and on track even during the busiest of times, read on.

Benefits of Online Calendars

One type of calendar to consider using is an online calendar. This type of calendar can generally be accessed as an app or through a website, and it is generally a very popular choice for high school students and professionals alike.

Major benefits are: 

  1. It can be shared across devices: Once you add something to the calendar on your phone, it will automatically sync so that the event shows up on your computer, tablet, or any other device you might access it from
  2. Multiple calendars: Online calendars also allow you to overlay different calendars onto the same template. This way, you can add events for an extracurricular calendar, school assignments calendar, college applications calendar, and more
  3. Easily shareable: You can add other users to your calendar and choose what type of access each has, including whether they can edit the calendar themselves or just view what you have added to it. This way, you can add your parents or mentors to your calendar
  4. Active notifications: You can set a notification to alert you at a set time before a scheduled event takes place, or you can set a daily alert to update you with that day’s agenda. These alerts can be synced directly to your phone so that you’re sure not to miss them, even on a busy day.

Online calendars are a very popular choice due to the ease with which you can access and coordinate with others through them. Being able to filter your view and access all events from all your devices is certainly a major advantage.

Benefits of Physical Planners or Calendars

Of course, online calendars and planners aren’t the only option available. Sometimes, you might find that a physical planner or calendar is a better choice for you.

Major benefits are: 

  1. Multiple kinds of formats: Physical planners or calendars exist in nearly every format imaginable. You might have one that shows one day per page, or you might have one that shows an entire month. If you can’t find the template you prefer at an office supply store or for purchase online, it is fairly easy to make your own using a slim three-ring binder and a hole punch. Simply create your own template exactly how you want it using Microsoft Excel and run off enough copies to last for the year, or find a blank template online that you can print yourself.
  2. Can be accessed anywhere: physical planner can be accessed anywhere, including during classes when phones or other devices are not allowed. You can use your planner as an assignment book, bringing it along with you to every class and adding assignments or other important commitments immediately as they arise. Generally, phones or other devices are often not allowed to be used in the classroom, so if you are using a virtual calendar, you’ll need to wait until after class to add important assignments. A physical planner allows you to enter these important deadlines immediately 
  3. Helps you remember better: a physical planner requires that you handwrite each commitment. While this might not seem like a big deal, studies show that that students who write their notes by hand are more likely to commit them to memory than students who type notes during a lecture. If the same theory is carried over to a calendar, then it would stand to reason that students who hand-write their commitments into a physical planner may be more likely to remember them independently than students who type them into an online calendar.   

Best Calendar Programs

Google Calendar. Google Calendar is one way to keep track of important dates, deadlines, and events. It syncs across devices and is easily shareable with others, so you can keep your family and friends informed as well. It also allows you to set alerts or notifications to make sure you don’t forget important deadlines.

Microsoft Outlook. Microsoft Outlook Calendar is another popular choice. It includes many of the same options as Google Calendar, and also allows you to set recurring events, for example on the first weekday or first weekend of the month. One drawback of MS Outlook is that it only allows you to schedule reminders two weeks in advance of events.

iCal. iCal is another solid option, not particularly dissimilar to Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar. If you are already an iOS user, though, you might find iCal more convenient since it is the default calendar app included with your Apple devices. Additionally, when you are signed into your iCloud account, it will automatically sync across all devices associated with that account.

We hope this helps. If you use a calendar, comment below of what you use and if you don’t, then tell us what you might use!