The new year is upon us, which means that it’s time to move into a new paper planner! I am a huge fan of paper planners. Using a paper planner helps me stay organized because I am able to keep track of events, appointments, and errands as well as help me regularly monitor my semester, monthly, weekly, and daily goals and habits. In my experience – I have found that students who use paper planners have a better grasp of the work they have for the semester. For example, they write down the dates they will be observed by a cooperating teacher during the student teaching experience or they know when assignments for each class they are taking will be due. Unfortunately, it is common for students who use digital calendars to ignore the reminders they set because it just becomes another ding on the phone or another pop-up notification, which gets ignored. The good news is that the new year is approaching and if you are interested in using a paper planner, there are tons of options out there! Here are some of the benefits to using a paper planner:
Getting into a Planning Routine
In order to successfully use a paper planner, you want to get into a routine of when and how you plan your months, weeks, and days. Imani Michelle argues that planning is a form of self-care and having her life in order and under control helps her stay calm and relaxed. I agree with her! Life runs more smoothly when there is a plan in place. When beginning, you may need to experiment to find out what time of day your mind is best suited for planning. I prefer to plan my months and weeks early in the morning when I am focused and awake. I tend to plan my days in the late afternoons when I know what I will need to finish on the next day. Figure out a routine that works for you and look at your planning time as a form of self-care and a time to take care of your schedule.
Keeps You Away From a Screen
Going on the internet to check your schedule can take you down a rabbit hole of click-bait articles and mindless email checks. Suddenly a quick glance at your calendar can cost you an hour of mindless reading, clicking, and scrolling. Having a paper planner can help you avoid the internet trap and keep you focused on the work that you need to accomplish. When I am working, I have my daily planner sitting open on my desk and I refer to it as I am working through what needs to be finished. This habit keeps me working efficiently and keeps me away from distractions on the internet.
Customize Your Planner to Fit Your Style
There are countless options, features, and styles you can have when selecting a paper planner. Options from the type of binding on the planner to the amount of instruction the planner provides are customizable to meet your needs. You may need to do some research before selecting the planner for your year. I suggest thinking about what you need to keep your life organized. For me, I need monthly and weekly planning pages. I have a separate planner for my daily pages so that I have enough room to capture what I will need to do on any given day. I like thicker paper so that I can write using pens and not worry about the ink bleeding through to the next page. So, consider what functions you need and take a look at some of the options available for 2021!