It’s Sunday night. The weekend is over and you begin to think and plan for what you have coming up in the next week.
Your son’s soccer game is on Monday night. Pages 330-350 are due in your textbook by class on Thursday. You’re bringing dinner to your parents some time this week. Your responsive essay just needs a few more tweaks. You’re attending a career development seminar with your co-workers. Your daughter has a choir concert on Wednesday. Oh, and don’t forget, it’s your wedding anniversary this weekend.
Time to take a deep breath.
Dates of meetings, events, special occasions, assignments, tests fly around constantly, filling up our schedules even before the week begins. Especially when pursuing higher education in a degree program, staying organized in your schedule is important to your success.
An easy, inexpensive way to boost your organization as a student is to complete and maintain a calendar. Whether you choose online calendars, such as Google Calendar or other apps, or a paper-and-pen notebook, calendars provide many benefits in both your academic and personal life.
Here are five reasons why you should be keeping a calendar:
1. PLAN FOR STUDY TIME
With so many things going on, you may wonder when you’ll have time to study. A calendar comes in handy when you notice your free times and mark in times in your week to devote to course work.
Knowing and planning for these study sessions will set you up for academic success rather than bringing on an all-nighter of writing papers or memorizing notecards.
Breaking up your schoolwork into manageable, 30-minute sessions will help you retain information and decrease stressful studying. In fact, small, consistent study periods lead to better results compared to long and rare sessions.
2. TRACK DUE DATES
When you get the syllabus for your first course, you may be tempted to think that you’ve got plenty of time before that quiz in two weeks. However, if you don’t plan for it, that quiz may come up on you closer than you expect.
Keeping an accurate and up-to-date calendar of due dates of important assignments, tests, projects and class discussions reminds you of what you need to complete and when. Rather than being overwhelmed at seeing coursework as a long checklist of things you need to do, a calendar provides the space to plan for each due date at the appropriate time.
Writing, or typing, out each assignment and assessment in your program course helps you be aware of what’s to come, but also to take one step at a time.
3. KEEPS FAMILY INFORMED
If you’re a parent and are returning to school, your family may want to stay in the loop of what’s going on in your life. With a calendar, your family can know what night you have class and when important events are. Maintaining open communication, through the use of a calendar, can help your family stay on the same page—literally.
When you have a time slot blocked off on your calendar for studying, that also communicates to your family that you need that time to focus and stay dedicated to this journey toward your goals.
4. EASE ANXIETY
Class nights. Assignments. Family events. Athletic games. Work functions. Volunteer sessions. Special occasions. Home improvement lists. Second jobs. There may be a variety of things going on in your life. Having to remember every detail in your head, without writing them down, can elevate your stress in balancing each area of your life.
Recording due dates, task reminders and special events on a calendar allows you to release them from cluttering up your mind. There’s less of a chance you’ll forget something, because you have it written down in a calendar you frequently visit.
5. SEE AVAILABILITY, QUICKLY
It’s an unfortunate feeling when you receive and accept an invitation to a fun event, only to realize later that you already have a commitment during that time.
A calendar allows you to see quickly when you are free and when you have prior commitments. Planning events or other special occasions also becomes easier when you know your availability.
Calendars are easy to personalize, depending on your work habits, access to technology and other preferences. Regardless of which route you choose, here are some insightful tips to get the most out of keeping your calendar:
- Color code your various schedules—work, home, school, etc.—to easily distinguish where you spend your time.
- Keep your calendar in a location that’s easily accessible and visible.
- Plan study times at consistent times to encourage the habit of studying.
- Want to use electronic and paper calendars? Keep both for different uses or in separate locations. For example, use a paper month-view calendar for special events and an electronic week or day-view calendar for more detailed assignments, meetings, etc.
Maintaining an accurate calendar can help you both in your academics and in your personal life—and can ease the overwhelming feeling of balancing a busy schedule.