It’s officially the school season again! Young hopefuls all over the world pack their bags and head off to school to gain knowledge that will (hopefully) allow them to pay off the debt that they slowly accumulate every day… (but that’s a post for another day) This post is all about school organisation, specifically how to get organised for school with diaries and planners.
Most students look for three things in planners:
- Lightweight. Laptop, textbooks, notebooks, stationery… Those are heavy enough to lug around all day without adding the extra weight of a heavy planner, making it much more practical and back-friendly for students to carry a lightweight planner.
- Size. It’s a given that small planners weigh less than the larger variety; however, too small a size can also be impractical in terms of space for writing information down. This makes a medium, A5 size ideal for the student and there’s a reason why this size is the most popular size sold in stores.
- Simple layout. A student planner is there to cater to a student’s needs, which are mainly to jot down important dates (school events etc.), record due dates and write down homework/assignments.
Aside from these criteria, there are also many different types of planners. Monthly, weekly, daily, spiral, ring-bound, thread-bound, bullet journal…
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These are diaries that only have the monthly layout, meaning they only have a calendar view, and therefore only provide a small amount of space to write in for each day.
This may not be enough if you’re a busy student, but if the boxes are large enough and you have small handwriting, then you may be able to get away with it.
Pros: lightweight, easy to carry, easily view a month at a time
Cons: minimal space, not practical for the busy student, no room for mistakes, doesn’t allow for busier days or weeks
This is the most common and most popular layout out there as it provides enough space for the average student. Weekly diaries usually have both a monthly and weekly layout, with the monthly view providing a simple overview and the weekly view allowing for more information to be recorded.
Within this category, there are also a variety of layouts that you can choose from. There’s a week on one page, a week on two pages and sometimes even a week on four pages. Depending on your needs, you may elect to save space with an entire week on one page, or if you want to see only one week at a time, then a week on two pages may be the option for you.
Pros: enough space provided for homework/assignments etc., easy-to-view layout
Cons: more pages than a monthly view and therefore heavier
A daily diary is mostly for those who have extremely busy days and wish to schedule their days by the hour. If you enjoy making lists then a daily planner could also be a good choice.
Daily planners come both timed and untimed, you may choose either depending on your needs. For listing, journaling or doodling, an untimed planner may be the preferred choice. If you enjoy scheduling your days, then a timed diary would be better.
Pros: tons of space to write in, allows for scheduling by the hour
Cons: abundance of pages means it’s heavy, may possibly be too much space, missed days means lots of pages left blank
The way that planners are bound may also affect your choices.
Pages in spiral planners are easy to turn and able to be flipped under so that only one page is visible and it takes up less space on your desk when open. However, they may also be inconvenient due to the difficulty of writing on the opposite page to which you hold your pen, e.g. if you’re right-handed, it’s harder to write on the left page close to the spiral and vice versa.
Pros: easy flipping of pages, takes up less space when open
Cons: hard to write on select areas, spiral may be easily bent out of shape
Another option is a ring-bound planner, which is kind of like a binder in the way that you can add and remove pages as you wish. They usually consist of a cover made of a durable material with rings secured inside.
Ring-bound planners usually come with inserts, but the advantage of this type of planner is that you have the freedom of printing your own inserts based on your own needs. With the increasing popularity of this type of planner, there are many printables available online for free or for purchase, ensuring the aesthetics or functionality of your planner.
Depending on the size of rings that come with the planner, you may be able to fit a lot or very little inside your planner. However, these rings also mean that the opposite page to your writing hand is difficult to write on.
Pros: freedom with inserts, easy to customise, doesn’t require repurchasing every year
Cons: difficult to write on certain sections of the page, a good quality cover may be quite expensive
I personally use a ring-bound pocket planner from Filofax, but it is quite pricey. Here is a more affordable option if you’re still not quite sure about trying out this type of planner.
Thicker, more expensive notebooks are usually thread-bound, examples being Moleskine and Leuchtturm1917 Notebooks. The advantage of thread-bound over regular glue binding is that the notebook is able to lay flat immediately after purchase without having to train it. These notebooks don’t have the hindrance of rings, making the entire page usable.
Pros: able to lay flat, higher quality than glue bound, easy use of entire page
Cons: not customisable with inserts, more on the pricier side
For my daily journal, I use a dotted Leuchtturm1917 Notebook because I find it gives me much more freedom than a regular lined notebook.
If you’re looking to completely customise your planning from start to finish, then a bullet journal may be your preferred choice.
A bullet journal is a notebook that you can customise from top to bottom. You can design each page however you wish, whether it be hand-drawn doodles, printed cutouts or a simple lined layout. Because it is so easy to customise, you can track whatever you want to track, make lists of anything you wish and space days out however much you require depending on how busy you are.
It can, however, be difficult to keep up with over time as there is no set layout for you to follow. It’s also suited more for creative-minded people as an outlet, allowing them to personalise it to their heart’s content.
Pros: easy to customise, can be a creative outlet
Cons: harder to maintain over time, easy to lose track of
There are so many options out there for school organisation. Do your research, weigh the pros and cons, and enjoy using your planner for the year ahead. Happy planning!