How to Organize Your Agenda

The ultimate guide on how to use a daily planner to stay organized. PLUS: Cute daily planners for college, color-coding your agenda.

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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.

Related reading: The Best College Organization Tips That Will Transform Your Life

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 (sold out – similar here and here), 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

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!

20 thoughts on “How to Organize Your Agenda”

  1. Planner organization College and all mine and planner agenda Erin Condren Life planner and planning for a long time to be pads

  2. 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.

  3. 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! 🙂

  4. 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!

  5. 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) 🙂

  6. 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…


  7. 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.

  8. 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!!! 😀

  9. 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!

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

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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.


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