Planner usage at Uni

Ha Tran

Uni students are busy. This is a well-known fact, but the way they choose to keep their busy life together varies widely.

Over half of respondents to a survey on time management tools reported that they have a time management method of some type, including paper planners (which appear to be the most common, used by 52% of respondents); Google Calendar (25%); a note-taking app such as Apple notepad or Google Keep (25%); as well as sticky notes, loose scraps of paper, and whiteboards.

Within their respective categories, a predominant proportion of the female respondents reported usage of an organizational method, while approximately half of the male respondents reported not using any. The majority used several methods in combination for different purposes: small tasks are jotted down in the planner, events are often on a shared Google calendar, while reminders go on sticky notes. Some less used methods include the Subbie Wiki and Instagram page, writing on hand, and befriending more organized peers.

Many people prefer electronic applications such as Google/Apple calendar, phone reminders, and note-taking apps because of their ease and convenience–they are more likely to see a push notification on their phone or laptop than remember to check a paper planner, and no planner means one less thing to carry around.

Those who refuse to use a planner report finding it time-consuming and tedious to jot down to-do tasks, especially ones they already remember. However, some still do it for the satisfaction of mark off checkboxes once they are done. Several interviewees noted that they begin the semester religiously updating their planner, but begin to forget as the year goes on.

Although Ms. Morford, who formerly taught Subbie Social Studies, used to advocate planner usage during her class to build the habit of keeping track of deadlines, most students were unaffected. Those who used a planner prior to the class continued to use their planner throughout subbie year and beyond. Meanwhile, those who were new to the concept only found the planner training to be inconvenient and troublesome. As a result, many stopped using the planner after subbie year.

Unsurprisingly, junior year and senior year seemed to be a common turning point for many who did not feel the need for a planner before. Events, dates, and deadlines begin to pile on, especially during senior year with college applications and numerous deadlines.

The preferred method of organization varies from person to person, and perhaps a more flexible introduction to a variety of time management tools could help younger students find their way to stay organized and form good habits early on.