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How to Organize Your Agenda


How to Organize your Agenda

I know it’s only July, but it’s never too early to start getting prepared for the fall semester! One of the best ways to stay organized when classes are in session is by keeping up with a planner. I’m a huge fan of writing everything down – from homework and papers to meetings and events – and I wouldn’t be able to keep track of everything without documenting it in an agenda.

If you’re gearing up for a fall, don’t worry – I’ve put together a guide that will help you stay organized with your agenda no matter what your semester holds.

Choose Your Agenda

Planners for college
Top L-R: VS PINK Student Planner, Lilly Pulitzer Agenda, May Designs MayBook
Bottom L-R: Jonathan Adler Agenda, Greenroom Agenda, Erin Condren Life Planner

Whoever said organization was boring obviously never met these cute agendas! Choose an planner that will fit your needs – if you’re focused on classes, try an academic agenda that is designed with students in mind.

I’m a fan of Lilly Pulitzer agendas for this very reason. Their “Large” and “Jumbo” agendas come loaded with tabs, pockets, and even stickers to keep you organized and colorful with your class schedule. I always invest a little more in planners just because I know it’ll be my BFF for the next year – kidding… slightly.

Color Coding

Color coding for organization

While it’s fine to just write things down as they come up, go an extra step and color code it. This is a great tool to use for your agenda if you find yourself mixing things up between clubs and classes.

Simply create a key that will help you sort all the areas of your semester. Organize by class, event, or even assignment type! I chose to color code my agenda for this year by area – I have a color for my schoolwork, one for my sorority events, another for my blogging, and then an area for miscellaneous notes.

Whatever you choose, try to limit the coding to about 4-5 sections so things don’t get too confusing. Write the key in a note inside your agenda or tape a piece of paper so that you’ll remember your coding.

Top Tools for Color Coding:

Color coding tools
Colored Pencils, Correction Tape, Highlighters, Flags, Pens

There are a number of ways to color code, so choose the one that works best for you! I know a lot of people that stick with colored pencils because of the variety, but I’m not a fan of constantly having to resharpen them.

I use colored pens and flags to mark the super important things – like that huge research paper or group presentation. Highlighting is great for this, too. Correction tape I find necessary – rescheduling is inevitable and I hate to scribble out things, so the correction tape keeps it nice and neat.

Write It Down!

Planner with writing
Photo Credit

A planner is what you make of it – so use it! Go ahead and look up the academic calendar for your school and write down the dates listed – add/drop periods, first day of classes, and so on. It might seem strange writing things down six months in advance, but these dates arrive sooner than you think. It’s better to be aware of them ahead of time than two days before!

Also, keep a habit of writing things down as soon as you’re told about them – this eliminates room for error or surprise papers due the next day. If you don’t have access to your agenda at the moment, make a note on your phone or notebook and transfer it to your agenda when you get a chance. As soon as you get your syllabi for class, be sure to write all of the dates down, too! It might be a little tedious but it will be worth it, trust me.

What do you think?

Do you like to keep an agenda? How do you organize it? Would you use any of the tips above? Would you like to see more posts like this in the future? Let me know in a comment below!

Posted on on July 21, 2013 / Filed Under: College Life / Tags: , , , , ,

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27 Responses to “How to Organize Your Agenda”

  1. 1
    July 21st, 2013 at 10:14 am

    I am just a big fan of planners since I am always busy. I have a schedule of all my classes and I know when everything is doing to be done. I try to plan major things in advance and then weekly assignments.

  2. 2
    July 21st, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Omg I love this article. The importance of an agenda cannot be stressed enough. I’ve been using one since junior high and have only just realised how vital it is to my life. I don’t think I would be able to survive without it!

  3. 3
    July 21st, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    This possibly might be my favorite post ever! I am always super busy with being president of 2 clubs at school, taking 5 classes, and owning a business. I preordered the Lilly Jumbo agenda in June and I just got it. It is beautiful and I am so happy to start using it once August 1st starts. I would love to see maybe a series of this like 3 or 4 posts dedicated to help organize for school starting in the fall.

  4. 4
    July 21st, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    I just ordered a planner from May Designs and cannot wait to fill up the pages! I especially loved theirs because I was able to customize the cover with a really cute print (and monogram!) as opposed to buying a standard one from anywhere else :)

  5. 5
    July 21st, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    I color code each class in my Lilly planner. Everything for the class, homework, test days and classes and stuff, is written in that color. And my extra curricular stuff is the same way. It makes such a difference in my busy life!

  6. 6
    July 21st, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    This is a great article! I just got my Lily Pulitzer agenda (the large tiger lily one) in the mail and I love it but I was a little overwhelmed with what to do with it! So thank you, I hope there are more organizing articles like this!

  7. 7
    July 22nd, 2013 at 1:42 am

    Yes, please more posts like this! I’m insane about staying organized (you need to make time to be fashionable). I love the practicality.

  8. 8
    July 22nd, 2013 at 11:05 am

    I have always loved planners but never really used them because my life wasn’t really as hectic as it is compared to now. That’s why i purchased a new planner ( from Vera Bradley) for the summer and school year. I’ve literally written in each date since the beginning of summer! I write down my real job schedule, babysitting scheduales, chores i have to do, errands i have fo run, and important dates. I’m a busy but oranganized girl haha :) and i’ll be a senior in hs this year!

  9. 9
    July 22nd, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Nothing gets me more excited at the end of every year than buying a new agenda.
    It is not the christmas presents, or the new years resolutions, but rather my agenda. I make sure that I visit every posible store since November so that I make sure I have the best one that suits all my needs. I like big agendas with a bit of personality. I hate blank boring pages. I’ve had an agenda since probably elementary school, i KNow it sound weird, but I started purchasing them around 5th grade lol.

    Great post!!! :D

  10. 10
    July 24th, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I love planners too, but I usually opt for practical ones which give you lots of space to write stuff (i.e. simpler in design) and has enough pages for notes etc, and has to be light enough since I’m bringing it around everywhere. It puzzles me how some people are willing to carry a planner the size of a mini dictionary around… I’ve been using planners from MUJI (Japanese brand, renowned for their simple designs) for years, and I’m loving it! I usually get the plain one, then personalize it by myself (:

    On another note, am I the only one here who prefers calendar that follow the calendar year (Jan XX – Dec XX) instead of the academic calendar (Aug XX – Jul XY)? Because to me, the New Year is **the** new year, hence the need for a new planner. Weird?

  11. 11
    July 25th, 2013 at 2:25 am

    I have a very hectic high school schedule and in desperate need of a new agenda but are the prices for the ones listed above worth it? $20-50 per book is quite expensive since I need a new one every year.

  12. 12
    July 25th, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    I always get so organised for a wee while and then fall off the wagon and end up back in my usual state of average organisational levels, and then find a fabulous planner and repeat the entire process! And Post-it notes I love, but they just end up everywhere around me on my desk and wall and laptop, without any sort of organisation themselves. They are very good for writing quick thoughts on though probably don’t make me more organised in the end…


  13. 13
    July 26th, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    I’ll be starting college soon and I also work so I LOVE planners because I can color code all my homework assignments, my work schedule and everything that goes on with appointments ect. My only problem is picking out the planner I love more than the rest. If I could I would buy them all but I don’t need that many and that’s a lot of money

  14. 14
    July 29th, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Planners are such a must have for me, being the organization freak that I am haha.

    I just ordered a few new ones called Pick Four which are brilliant for recording your actions towards a goal each day.

    They’re a little pricey though, £24 for 4 of them (and they’re a little small).

    I really like the zig zag one featured on here too!

    Sanam (from A Chic Lifestyle) :)

  15. 15
    July 29th, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    Love this! just posted one myself if anyone wants to check it out :)

  16. 16
    August 11th, 2013 at 3:50 am

    I am a huge fan of organization, but I often find myself running out of ideas HOW to organize. Therefore, I love this article because any new ways to plan and clean my schedule. Please post more great planning and organizing tips!

  17. 17
    December 24th, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    I love this article, i ‘made’ my own planner from a notebook, doing so made it more personal to me! I use stickers, post-it, color pens and Highlighters in my planner! Color coding is really useful and fun, i love my planner!!! Thanks for the great article! :)

  18. 18
    July 2nd, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Get in the habit now!!! Planners have been my life through high school especially taking advanced placement or English classes with multiple essays a week. You never have anymore “pop quizzes”. I also use mine to set goals for where I want to be in the assignment so I don’t have to throw it together that last night.

  19. 19
    July 7th, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    What is the hourly planner shown in the second photo?

  20. 20
    July 24th, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    Awesome post! Stressing hard over my senior year! Work, school, clubs, internship…Ahhh! Color coordinating seems genius! Thank you :)

  21. 21
    February 28th, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Well, after using the Lily Pulitzer agenda, I won’t make that mistake again.

    For 2016, I’m getting a Quo Vadis Scholar planner. Features:

    Clairefontaine paper, which is a) some of the finest in the world, and b) made for fountain pens

    Big enough to write plenty in it, in a script that can be read.

    Thin enough to fit in a handbag with ease.

    NO SPIRAL; it has sewn binding that doesn’t fall apart easily.

    Has an address section

    Looks as classy and professional as it is–i.e., no creepy horoscopes or embarrassing bimbo mani-pedi stickers

    Lays flat when opened.


    Best of all, you can find it at a fair price. I’m getting one for $10 at B&N since I’m pre-ordering.

    You can’t beat that.

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