Medical School Planner?

Hi. I'm going to medical school in a few months. I'm organizing my outlook (well, also my life) in preparation. Has anybody come up with this?

Or anything that approximates?


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Place to Start

Although I did not attend medical school I did attend a demanding school in allied health. You will find what you need on this site but expect to adapt and change your organizer every year because demands will change as you progress.

I used ( and still do) a monthly at a glance calendar to keep track of deadlines and a weekly 2 DC (page 28 on the pdf reader of the core package) planning calendar to hash out the details. I adapted the format from The Original Student Calendar ( The 2 DC Calendar has 3 sections that I use 1)Appointments/ Deadlines 2) To Study/ Tasks/ Actions 3) The rest of my Life i.e recreation, fitness, spirtuality etc. Don't ignore #3.

There are other templates here you can use to plan projects and papers, organize meetings and outreach activites. Check on the medical student boards as well you are likely to find additional ideas and help.

Oh, and never loan anyone a pen you like, you'll never see it again. Keep a couple "loaner" pens handy. Good Luck! Anacora Imparo

[1/1/07 Link fixed - Sard]

Hi Cristina, congratulations

Hi Cristina, congratulations and welcome to D*I*Y. Hmmm, nothing here that screams med school. Although I remain cheerfully optimistic that we can 'cure' your organisational angst. :D I agree with everything Joanna has already said plus...

Starting at the beginning; everything that applies to Mary also applies to you. Try reading Getting Things Done by David Allen or Edwin Bliss. Note: I realise Allen's views on procrastination and alcohol are naïve to say the least do not make the mistake of throwing the baby out with the bath water. Allen's core concepts are exceptionally good. One thing you will notice, registrars move up to seven times faster than students and consultants faster than the speed of thought. :O Now I could type out something meaningful about taking notes except quoting Harry (hblanchard) is far less tiring. :)

Quote: "I should note, I originally got into the constant carrying of a notepad (20 years ago) not as a way to fit into the GTD system. Rather, I had a constant stream of thesis advisors and then managers who practiced the art of "management by walking around," leaving to my memory what were often my most critical directives, with much detail that needed to be captured - later this was a natural fit to GTD".

Sorry but...

I was wondering what the "DC" stood for when you talked about a "a weekly 2 DC "? It could be lack of sleep or my lack of knowledge :)

Thanks in advance :)

my artwork


"2DC" was the only other way I could distinguish between the differing types of planning pages besides pdf page #. 2DC was in a much lighter print next to the heading on the pages. I actually don't know what it stands for. If you look at the pdf down loads each different type of planning page has its own unique little tag on it near the header. I wanted to help readers more easily ID which of the many pages available I was referencing.

One last website I've found extremely helpful is

Hope this clears things up a bit. And thanks for the link boost Sard.

Anacora Imparo

If you do not see what you need, holler !!

After you have had a chance to look through things, if you feel there is something specific you need, you can either try creating it yourself or describe what you want to us and someone can probably create/modify a template to meet your needs.

Welcome aboard !

"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Thanks guys!

I've been using a planner for a long time already, actually.

And there are several stuff that I've noticed:

1) I've accumulated post-its
2) I dont know how to indicate that a deadline has been moved
3) I create endless lists- down to the most specific (such as checking this thread at this time) and they dont fit in anymore.
4) When an action has to be repeated, I find it tedious to write it again and again on ALL the dates it's supposed to be on.
5) I have to be able to put COPIOUS amounts of information at a glance.
6) I'm also a poet/writer... so my school stuff gets mixed in with little snippets of inspiration.

Any ideas?

Thank you!

My ideas on some of these...

Hi Crave,
I have some thoughts that you may find helpful:

1) Have a page to put them on in your planner. I use a laminated page that fits in my planner (Classic size, YMMV) or just a heavier card stock page.

2) Thats a calendar item. Cross it out on the old date and move it to the new date.

3) Hmm. Don't be so "listy"?

4) I only write the next occurance on my calendar, along with a notation to write it in again once the current occurance happens. I borrowed an idea from a post here somewhere (I think). Using an arrow and the amount of time to skip. (--> 6D or 2W or 1M)

5) A project like this needs it's own tab in your planner or put in a note pointing you to the right file, folder or website. Do you really need all that info with you all the time? Does it belong in your planner?

6) Again, a tabbed section for poetic musings.

Good luck!



I would like to comment on the items in your list that have to do with repeating/rescheduling/recategorizing/moving.

I used to use a system in a 3x5 card file box. It was 43 folders--a tickler, basically, utilizing numbered tabs from 1-31 to mark the days, and months Jan-Dec for 'future' items. It's basically a perpetual calendar. Each task or closely related set of tasks was written on a 3x5 card and filed on the (future) date it would be needed. I also had some extra tabs behind the 43 to handle projects, reference, reusable lists (like what to do before taking a vacation from work), and blank forms.

If a task had a deadline, it would get written on the 3x5 card, and it would be filed under the day I wanted to do it. If the task got moved, I'd just move it to another day in the tickler.

Example: suppose my mother says she wants to visit January 13th--the reusable 'Mom Visit' card would get filed with the 13 tab. Also, the reusable list of stuff I have to do before Mom visits would get filed on the 11th, say. When the 11th rolls around, I pull out the prep card and do the stuff on the list. If I don't finish, then I'll re-file the card under the 12th, so I can do some more tomorrow. If I finish everything, then the prep card goes back under the 'reusable' tab to wait until the next time I need it.

So, the routine is this: Every time I think of a task, I write it on a card and file the card on the day I think I'm going to do it. If it's not within the next 31 days, then it gets filed in the month I think I'm going to do it (file "defrost freezer" in the December tab). I use the project tabs for saving stuff that happened in the past but is needed for reference on a current basis. So a meeting gets a card filed under a future date. On that date, I take notes on that card during the meeting. After the meeting, I send out a copy of my notes via email, then file the card under the appropriate project tab so I can refer to it in next week's meeting, say.

The same sort of concept is possible using a ring-binder (to move whole or half pages around) or the Rollabinder/Circa type binding, which allows you to use multiple page sizes and types in the same binder without any suffering to make it work. Lots of folks use a plain card stack without a bunch of tabs and stuff, but it's difficult for me to pare that far down. It's also possible to do the same thing with a binder/diary/agenda book and a bunch of post-its, if you write the tasks on the post its and move them around as needed within the pages.

I just ordered a Rollabinder set to see if this is the answer to my desire for portability. The wood box I was using wasn't very portable. :)

Of course you have to have another box to file the 'done' stuff in if you want to keep it. I have to keep work stuff for at least a month so I can write up my monthly accomplishments for my boss.


Wow! Okay

Thank you so much for being so helpful, everyone!

I really appreciate the detail you all go through.

What I will do is use the classic planner here, then I'm buying a Moleskine notebook as a separate place for my musings.

However, I'm sorry, but I cannot let go of listing. What I did, however, is this:

In a room in my mind (okay, I'm going to sound 'off' or weird), I have Room 8. It is basically a place for all my routines- etc. taking a bath, feeding my pets, checking so-and-so websites. So, I will just write 'Check Room 8' on my list to compress all that stuff into one heading. Yay! I tried it today and it worked- because I am so used to it...

Well, maybe this can be a tip too. What I do is, I pick my most favorite room (which is my room, of course) and each place there represents a category of things. For example, my dresser represents hygiene, make-up and treatments. So, I walk around it in my mind and I remember. This may even be useful.

Thank you for the tip, guys! and I will check out 43folders now. That is a wonderful idea! However, I want to carry it with me ALL THE TIME. And a hipster won't work for me either. But thank you so much.

As for my musings, I realized that I do not want other people seeing what I write or accidentally seeing them... so a Moleskine may work for now. I'll just post-it any topics I want to write using key words and then go back to it later.

Three Times Daily...

It looks to me as if you have already found your answers. However, I will leave this here for those who follow... :)

Quote: "I've been using a planner for a long time already, actually.And there are several stuff that I've noticed":

1) "I've accumulated post-its"

Me too. :( Although I like Reese's idea, I stick the ones I receive in the note section of my planner. (affectionately known as the brain dump).

2) "I dont know how to indicate that a deadline has been moved"

See Reese's reply.

3) "I create endless lists- down to the most specific (such as checking this thread at this time) and they dont fit in anymore".

Hmmm, I keep a 'master to do list' (I think Allen refers to it as a Master Project List). As both names imply this is a list of everything I am supposed to do. Each task has a letter, a reference number and a short description. (For example: T03/01/07) Anything that has to be worked on in the next two months gets a D*I*Y 'Action' form. To quote Allen; ..."only write down your very next physical action". Anything else, including my personal life, seems to get deferred :S... (Note to self: block out three hours for fun this weekend. :) )

4) "When an action has to be repeated, I find it tedious to write it again and again on ALL the dates it's supposed to be on".

See shris reply and my answer to question 3.

5) "I have to be able to put COPIOUS amounts of information at a glance".

Are you sure about this? Again see Reese's reply. I find I only need a subset of information in my planner, the rest can be divided between my briefcase and filing system. Consider combining a Classic/A5 planner with a satellite device for on the hoof note capture. I find one of the advantages of my Filofax is that I can rest it on my chest and still take notes while walking. :)

6) "I'm also a poet/writer... so my school stuff gets mixed in with little snippets of inspiration".

I wish I was. :) I do like to capture vignettes of life though. You seem to have worked through this problem. However, there are two schools of thought here, which you prefer will depend very much on life style and type of work. As Reese suggests and Doug in a post somewhere. (search is being awkward now). this is usually kept separately. However, apart from the odd jaunt around D*I*Y, my work is my life and my planner tends to reflects this.

Thank you for explaining your memory trick. I use words to similar effect. Ah the mysteries of the mind eh? :)

BTW, I should have read Joanna's post more carefully. The week on two pages template she is referring to is actually on page 28 of the calendar not the core package. For those with a taste for history the 'week on two pages' format was invented by a French doctor simply because he wanted more space to make notes. :)