I hear comments like this regularly:
I hate planners.
I don’t need a planner.
I just don’t like to use a planner.
I know, I know. You really don’t want to use a planner.
But you do need to figure out some way to manage the details.
Seriously, I’ll break it down and help make it simple and straight forward. I know because I do this with students all the time and it works. The nuances I will describe will make a BIG difference.
Look, students who aren’t naturally organized tend to get overwhelmed with details, and planners are all about details. Therefore it’s important to have a simple and clean system. Unfortunately, the systems we are often taught are too complicated.
Anyhow, forgive me because this is a long video, and trust me, it’s boring. In fact, I almost put myself to sleep. Just kidding, but it is in-depth and should prove extremely valuable.
Plan on pressing pause a lot as you get your planner “front-loaded” for the school year. Trust me, this upfront effort will end up saving you a lot of time and frustration throughout the year. Check out the video.
Here are some of the most important takeaways:
- Print yearly planners, post them for reference, tape one in your planner. Tape your schedule in there too while you’re at it.
- Use a monthly planner with lines in the boxes.
- Get your entire schedule into the planner now, for the entire year. This is called “front-loading.” It saves a lot of time and hassle in the long run. Hi-lite every single day off. Enter birthdays, appointments, and activities that you know about, now.
- Thin out the planner. Get rid of every single page you don’t need. Keep it simple.
- Get a desk calendar to put on the wall. Enter only bigger events into it – you don’t need as many details on this one.
- Use shorthand in order to fit your info into the smaller boxes. Write assignments on the day they are due. Put the time first when applicable.
- Learn to “backwards plan.”
- Dog-ear to simplify finding the right page.
- Self-advocate. If they expect you to “use the same planner everyone else uses,” tell them you’ve tailored a system to your brain and that you need to do what works for you.
- The one thing I forgot to mention in the vid, sharpie your name on the front AND back so it comes back to you if it gets lost.
- Get off to a strong start with front-loading your planner thoroughly. Try not to get into the swimming upstream pattern. It’s extremely difficult to dig yourself out. So take an hour and do this! You got this, you rock, good luck!
💚 Give: Love my work and want to donate?
🎦 YouTube: Visit my official YouTube channel here. Please subscribe, like & comment to support my work.
👉 Share: To support me, please *CLICK* at the bottom to share on FB or Pinterest.
✏️ EF101: Here’s my jumpstart course for parents and teachers.
🙏 Thanks! — Seth
Hey, this is Seth with SethPerler.com. Did you hear about the buffalo who sent his boy to college? When his son left he said, “bison.” Haha, pretty good, huh? Cheesy, I know.
How’s it going? So I’m here today talk to you about planners for people who hate them. If you hate planners, you’re in the right place. There are lots of websites and videos all over YouTube about planners that talk about how to use them, but they’re all for highly organized people by highly organized people. And the thing is that these left-brain, linear sequential structured, naturally organized people love these things. They like to feel organized because it gives them a good sense of control. They feel good when they have these systems, and they’re able to take these systems and run with them. They’re able to do tremendous amounts of detail with all this stuff.
Guess what? If you’re watching these videos, you’re probably not that person. This is for students who hate planners. You are not into it. It’s not that you don’t like planners, it’s that you don’t like feeling like you have to manage minute details that don’t matter to you. That’s really what it comes down to. A lot of times the way that we’re taught to use these things is not congruent with what we need. So let me set out the way for you to do this. By the way, even if you hate planners, you do have to learn to use them because like anything you want to do in life, this helps. And I want you, and everybody wants you, to be able to live the life you want to live.
In order to do anything you want to in life, you have to do things you don’t want to do, including planning. You just have to have some way of being able to manage tasks and time. Again, you have to be able to manage tasks and time. We have to be able to chunk it down into small enough items that don’t feel overwhelming. Me, you, right-brain people, disorganized people, people who are creative outside the box thinkers: we’re not good with perceiving time or time management. The details can be very overwhelming. So I’m going to show you what I do with my students. I’m telling you this because it works, and I’m going to tell you in the simplest way possible. It’s going to be a bit of a long video, but get ready to press pause because if you’re looking for how to use a planner in a way that works for you, I’m going to explain some details to you that are really going to help.
First of all, what you want to do is print out your yearly calendar. This is the calendar for the local school district. You’ll want to print one to four of them. You want one for the refrigerator, one for the bedroom, one for the office, and one to tape inside your planner. You’re literally going to tape it inside there. We’re going to cut off the edges like this, cut off all the edges, trim it down so it will fit in the planner, and then tape it in there. Middle school, high school, college, whatever complex schedules, tape it into the inside of your planner so that it’s always there. This is called front-loading. Everything that you need for the entire school year, get it done now so you never have to think about it again. You want to front-load your planner and get it all done. Plop all the important dates in there. The next thing is right-brained people don’t like a lot of stuff. You may have a lot of stuff, but “stuff” is overwhelming. So what you want to do is get rid of every single page from your planner that you don’t need. In this case, I literally took out 11 pages from the planner making it now very thin and very manageable. As far as this calendar is concerned, you want to take all of the pages off up until the date where you’re at. Right now is August in 2014, so we want to get all the rest of the pages gone. Bye-bye, it’s all gone.
If you want to get a monthly planner, this is a great example. The only thing I don’t like about this planner is the metal because it can get crushed in the backpack and make it annoyingly difficult to open. Left-brain, linearly sequential structure, organized people don’t usually have that problem. We do. If it gets crushed in your backpack, you’re a very right-brain person and that may be a bit of a difficulty to you. If you can find one that stapled rather than a spiral that might be better. So all I have here is July through the end of the year, I’m going to get rid of July, I don’t need it anymore. Now, I have August through December. Open up to August. Here we go. This is monthly again. This is not weekly. Okay, you want to use a monthly calendar preferably with lines. The only problem is that you have to learn shorthand. So I’ll discuss shorthand in just a moment. Now we basically have about six pages in this planner. You can also get an academic calendar that is like this.
Why don’t you want to use a weekly one? Well, here’s an example of a weekly one. By the way, I often will cut the planner and dog ear it right from the planner itself. I’ll just cut it with this scissor so that you can open up right to the page that you need. This one happens to be monthly and weekly, Anyhow the point is, the reason you don’t want monthly and weekly is it’s too many blocks of time. Look at that, the thing is like a novel. Again, if you’re a left-brain person you’re probably not watching this point, which is great because this is not for them. This is for right-brain, outside the box, divergent thinkers and you don’t want to be having a novel for your planner, you want the simple six-page one I was showing you before. There are only 9-10 months in a school year, basically half of August through May. There are 36 weeks plus the 10 months of the school year here. So that’s 46 pages to manage, plus these planners give you a lot of clutter in the back. Although it might be cool to have the periodic table and geometry stuff I guarantee you, if you’re watching this video, you are not the type of person who reads this stuff. You don’t read the school rules at the beginning of the book. Rip it out or just don’t use these ones. The other thing is that these are visually cluttered. The planners that schools will give you are usually visually cluttered. You may have to advocate for yourself and tell the school, “I’m not using this,” and you may run into some problems with them. They might say, “you have to use this one because this is the one that we use because it’s the way we do it.” Advocate yourself and tell them you’re working with the coach and say the coach said, “don’t do that.” It’s a lot of colors that the visually distracting and have famous quotes that frankly are also visually distracting. I do not recommend these for the students that I work with. All you need is simple, black and white, clean, easy to see, a planner that serves the purpose of planning. That all you want.
Alright, in your planner you’re going to want to take your year calendar, and you are going to want to highlight every single day off for the entire school year. What that means is that your planner is going to look like this. You’re going to go through the calendar with a fine-tooth comb and highlight every day off. This is November of 2014 and in this school district, they have the 14th off and they have the entire week for Thanksgiving off. This all done and it feels really good for students to be able to see this. Trust me. I do this all the time as soon as we go through the entire year, get the whole planner done. It feels really good to know that you start saying “wow, that’s a lot of days off,” and you can really look forward to these days off. Also in terms of front-loading, we’ll write in the days from the previous month the 31st or 30th of October and so on in a different color so that visually it stands out. And then you can pick when you’re ready to use November or when you’re done with October etcetera. You want to do this for the entire school year. And then the only problem is you don’t have as much space as you do on the weekly planner, they give you tons of lines. So what you’re going to want to do is learn to write shorthand, and here’s an example of the shorthand. I will put a photograph of this on the blog post so you can go ahead and look there for photos of everything. Hopefully, you can see this. So for example, for Math “M: page 65 1 through 21 high,” so it’s very short. “LA: the draft is due.” Science, “SCI lab 14 is due,” “4 p.m. Dentist.” Any time you put something in your planner, you want to put it on a date it’s due, not the date you’re given the assignment. Now, what you can also do is backwards planning. You put, for example, you have a test this day, you write it in on the day that you have a test, and then you backwards plan and write in the days that you intend to study for the test. Now if you’re a right-brain person chances are if you write in that you’re going to study four times, you’re probably not going to study four times. You want to account for that and plan for 5 or 6 times that you’re going to study and just know that you’re not going to study a couple of those times and be okay with it. A lot of times it’s better to over plan. It depends on your personality but consider that. You’re going to put it on the day that it’s due, or that you’re doing the activity, then backwards plan. The other thing is that anything that’s associated with the time, like in this case there’s a dentist appointment at 4, you want to put the time before you write what the item is. That’s because visually the eye is going to see the number, and you want to be aware of the time first because that’s a priority and it’s not flexible. Always put the time first. Finally, you want to color-code your calendar. You don’t need to, but a lot of people you might want to have some kind of coding system because it makes it easier visually. You are probably a very visual person and this makes things easier for you as well.
You might start with the weekends or holidays, and you’re going to go ahead highlight all the days off for the entire school year. I’m starting with weekends. There’s all my Saturdays. In this case, the school start on the 21st. So you’re going to highlight all your days, get it all done. And then any time there’s a big event, like here, you can write huge. The cool thing is that you can still write on top of that. So for Halloween, you can put an icon of a pumpkin or something, and you still have room to write on top of it that says, “6 p.m. Soccer“. Highlight all the days and get everything in your calendar that you can. If you have things that are odd about your calendar, for example, if you have a late start day or certain weird times of classes on certain days, or if you have extracurricular activities, get everything on to the calendar that you possibly can for the entire school year. If you know that you have a certain activity that goes every Thursday night from 6 to 8 until November, get it in the calendar now. You want to front-load as much as you can, it’s a lot of work at the beginning but saves you time and frustration for the entire rest of the school year. You really want to get into the habit.
One of the worst things that students experience is the “swimming upstream syndrome.” You start to get a little behind, usually, this starts to happen around the second or third week of school, but it doesn’t become evident until about the sixth week of school. So you’re starting to get behind around the third week, and then around the sixth week, suddenly something happens: a report card comes out, a grade gets back to you, you have D and F, and big red flags come up. You do not want to get into that pattern, help yourself out. I do recommend you put these on your wall. These are really cheap go ahead and grab a couple and throw it on the wall in your bedroom or your office, but I don’t recommend using them with thumbtacks because you want to be able to pull it down every once in a while to work with it. If you’re doing a lot of work, like if I was highlighting this, I wouldn’t actually do it on the wall, I pull it down and do it on the table. Having these little nails and a hammer and put it up and then hit it into the wall. It’ll stay there for the entire school year.
I think I covered most of what I was going to say if I forgot anything, I’ll go ahead and get it in the show in the show notes on the blog and I want to thank you very much for your support. And I want to wish you an awesome school year. You got this. Of course, you’ll have some ups and downs, but it’s all good. You got this.
Please CLICK below to share.