Student Planner - Suggestions

I'm working on creating a 2011 Student Planner at the moment. It's not JUST student planner as it will fulfill my personal needs and I work full-time and go to college full-time at night, and manage a household. I'm looking for suggestions on things that might need to be included that I have looked over.

So far I've got:
- Monthly Calendars
- Master To-Do List
- Daily Pages (with 30 minute schedule blocks from 7AM-10PM, important notes, daily to-do list, assignments received, and assignments due sections)
- Weekly To-Do List
- Bank Register
- Budget Planner
- Important Information Page
- Grade Tracker
- Project Planner

I'm also working on an exercise/calorie intake log, that I will probably include with this kit.

Any suggestions on other sections I should include?

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Wheels !

Sounds like it could be a very heavy planner with so much in it.

What you include depends on what you want/need your planner to do.
"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) ***

How about...

You may want to include a "Waiting On" section to track stuff that lies with another party. As an example, lecture notes you may lend to a fellow student, delegated items at work and so on. Effectively anything that is with another party that you need to track.

Another suggestion is a Communications Agenda. Use it to note down items of discussion, questions etc as they come to mind so you do not forget them and later on you can action them either face to face, email, phone etc. Fairly handy if you find you have 10 minutes to kill somewhere and of course the right technology.

Something I have found useful on my daily pages is a reminder section. I might record say a week or so ahead that a bill is due, an order needs to be done, an upcoming event such as birthday or dinner out and so on. For want of a better description, a preview Must-Do List. Also useful to (secondary) record any time critical "Waiting On" items.

Rather than use wheels, only keep about 6 or 8 weeks of daily pages in the planner, current week plus some, and on a weekly basis, remove old pages, add new pages and update them from your monthly planner pages.


I like the idea of a

I like the idea of a "Waiting On" page. That could come in quite handy, especially during big projects in class where we only receive partial information at a time (I had this happen in a class last semester and it was just a mess trying to figure out what we hadn't covered yet, but was necessary to move forward with the project), and also at work when we're waiting on parts for a certain job.

I keep about 2 weeks worth of daily pages at a time (printed duplex), so I do not overload the planner. But I also keep an assignment page and monthly calendar in the front of each notebook for my classes and consolidate them back to my master planner at the end of the night, so it's not necessary for me to carry the master planner to classes, which helps a lot too.

Thanks for the suggestions! I'm going to get to work on the "Waiting On" page now.

Have a look at the templates

Have a look at the templates as there are some 'Waiting On' pages in there you could model off. Save reinventing the wheel. Bob H.

i dont think the templates'd be able to fully handle it

you might as well do ur own thing. Excel or whatever. That way, you have big blocks for when u need it, and little ones for likie 7AM.

And yeah, i agree-sounds heavy. Thankfully it'd be a circa, eh? only keep a week/month at a time.

"Waiting On" suggestion...

Something like the Levenger Circa Tasker Pads or the M by Staples™ Arc System Task Pads

I have the Staples Task Pad. If you put it at the top, it sticks up above the pages a bit like a bookmark. I like that. I do not know if the Circa taskers work the same way as I never used them.

A simpler way is to punch index cards to use the same way. It would just take a bit of fiddling to get the smurf placement to get the bookmark.

The whole point is that these are throw-away place holders: When the thing you are waiting on happens, the need for the note goes away. I have used sticky-notes like this, sticking the note on the page such that the non-sticky end hangs over the page edge like a bookmark.
"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) ***


I think I like this idea the best. This way I can stick it on the daily page when I expect it and move it as necessary, or throw it away. And I'll know that I should be expecting that day, or know to request it. Great suggestion! Thanks!

Circa Taskers

I have a Circa tasker in my sample notebook that I picked up in the Boston store. It does not really stick up above the other pages like the Arc System ones do.

If you're using Junior/Classic sized pages, a better option would be the Circa Annotation Tabs which stick out on the side of classic pages like a file folder tab. Here's the catalog description.

Class project to do lists

I find it really useful to go through once we've gotten the syllabus for the class and make myself To Do lists by major project (or exam) and then put them in the order that they'll be due. Even with a full time course load and a Circa Compact (so tiny page sizes) this didn't add much thickness to my planner and it was nice to have a quick visual reference for what still needed to be done, what was coming up, etc. For each project item I also added a couple of blank to-do list lines (I did it with MS Word, so just a row of underscores) in case I needed to add a note - a project detail that changed, or contact information for people for group projects, that sort of thing.

That said, it does work better for me if college tasks are segregated out, to some degree, from 'real life' tasks - I have to get myself in the right mindset for one or the other, so having them all mixed up tends to just make me feel overwhelmed. (I still have a calendar that has everything that's scheduled on it, classes and real life stuff, and that includes due dates and exam dates, but I use that for time management, not actually tracking tasks - I'm a film major so we end up going off in groups to film things at odd times, depending on access to locations and that sort of thing, and so it's mostly to make sure that I don't say "sure, I can do that!" about shooting all night the day before a major exam or something silly.)


You could make your planner smaller and easier to carry around, (i.e. use a index card holder) and keep the majority of info. on the computer...for example, just a place to store receipts, a month worth of "week at a glance" etc.

Keep it simple

Speaking from experience, I would advise you to simplify your planner as much as you can. You might want to make a second planner, or reference binder, that you keep at home on your primary workspace and save your planner for the things that you actually need to carry around with you 24/7.

When I was in college, I got serious about using a planner and got into the Franklin Covey system which seems to be all about carrying everything with you everywhere you go. My planner was heavy enough to be a self defense weapon. Just recently as I was setting up my 2011 planner and cleaning out the 2010 stuff, I realized that I don't need to carry my exercise goals/tracker everywhere I go because I only exercise at home, usually by playing DVD's on my computer. Thinning out other sections was liberating.

I would suggest you have an 'Inbox/Notes' tab with plenty of plain lined paper and even some completely blank paper. This is one idea I got from David Allen/GTD that has survived all my planner incarnations - one safe place to write down anything and everything, no matter how random. I try to go through that section daily or weekly to move those random items to more appropriate locations in my personal system and throw out pages once items have been crossed off. That is also liberating. The blank pages can be used to write messy when I'm in a hurry, or give notes to other people.


Finished Product...

Well after three months of changing it around, deciding what I really need, and my local office supply store employees thinking I'm stalking them, my planner finally feels complete. Here's how it ended up...

- Circa Wrap Notebook (In Black) - I actually decided on this after I chose the metallic card stock for the dividers, and it all looks great together. The wrap makes it easy to identify in my bag against all of my circa/rolla class notebooks.

- 60 lb Metallic Card Stock - Dividers in gold, page finder/weekly to-do in silver, haven't decided on a purpose for the copper color yet, but if all else fails I'll use it for the page finder/list when I run out of silver.

- 26 lb Multipurpose Paper - For the actual content of course

- Avery Self-Adhesive Tabs - Attached to the dividers, love the look of these way better than the handwritten tabs I'd been previously using.

- Pilot Precise V5 Retractable Pens - The 4 color pack since I color code everything (black: personal, blue: school, green: work, red: bills)

- Rollabind Desk Punch - Obviously necessary for to create the inner materials

- Since the notebook only has one pen loop, I just hook the pens to the top of the front cover. This works fine and they hold well. Just have to take them off before use to get the full 360 degree experience of the Circa.

- Monthly Calendar/Monthly Budget - I printed the budget planner on the back of each monthly calendar and gave this page it's own section in the very front. The budget worksheet only includes the regular monthly bills and income, along with a block for "expendable income" (total monthly income minus total monthly bills). I also punch all of my bills as they come and stick them here until they're paid.

- Bank Register - Until I incorporated a bank register into my planner I NEVER kept up with my debit card purchases. Now I do so religiously. And because I have an auto-savings plan where an amount is taken out of my account each time I use the debit card, I am easily able to keep up with this using a paper register (something I seriously had a problem with when I tried using Quicken for about a week). I punch printed receipts for online purchases and put them in front of here until they're entered so I do not forget them (as I've had a tendency to do in the past).

- Master To-Do List - Basically anything that will need to be done during the month that I know about well in advance (as in, will go on a future weekly to-do list) or that will need to be completed using multiple small tasks. I review this each Monday when I fill in my Weekly To-Do List and decide which tasks from it can/need to be completed each week.

- Daily Pages - I only keep the current month worth of daily pages at a time. The pages are printed duplex and each have a daily schedule (from 7am - 11pm), notes, assignments, and to-do section.

- Reference - I use this to keep things that I need to refer to on a regular basis (the college schedule that includes important information regarding registration/events, my degree plan with a list of courses needed, any information pages for assignments/applications/etc that I'm working on at the time).

- Future Calendars - Since only the current month is up front, and I frequently schedule things in advance, I keep a copy of each monthly calendar here to write appointments, exam dates, etc on.

- Important Info - Page with my contact information, important contacts (doctor, dentist, etc), pet info (birthdays, vet, etc), and bill info (company, pay by phone #, account #, etc).

- Receipt Pocket - This is actually a junior rolla pocket divider that I keep all debit card receipts in once they've been entered. I clean it out when I clean out the daily pages each month.

- Full-Size Pocket - This is not an "official" circa or rollabind pocket. I found it in a spiral presentation kit on clearance at Office Depot for $2, unpunched and just begging to meet my desk punch. It came with clear dividers too, but I like the metallic ones. I use this pocket to keep things I can't punch like scholarship apps, essays that are completed, etc. Behind it, I have a few pages of ruled rollabind paper to write quick notes and info.

- Page Finder/Weekly To-Do List - I love this! Because I have a one-day-per-page system, I needed a quick reference to what needed to be done each week, so using the page finder as a place to keep a weekly to-do list was my best option. I print it duplex, three per each page on the silver metallic card stock, and just cut them up and punch them. There's also a section at the bottom for "in the future" so I can remember if there is something I need to be preparing for in the coming weeks (important exam, assignment due date, etc). I just keep move it up one notch and it sticks above the rest of the pages, but not above the top of the cover. I keep spares in the back on lower notches, so they're easily assessable but not distracting.

Here's a link to the photos, just to show you guys that as big as it sounds, it's not so bad. :)

Very nice

Very nice. I like. ;-) You've done good. I hope it lasts and works for you.


Where did you find...

...the metallic card stock - it sounds great!

I got them at...

OfficeMax. I couldn't find them listed on their website, but in the store, they were right with all the other card stock & colored paper.

the photos look great

You have created an excellent organizer.
I do not recognize the templates. Did you get them here ?
I especially like the "In the Present" bookmark/satellite note.
"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) ***


I made the templates myself to accommodate the things I needed on the daily pages, then created matching templates for the more general things. I've got a few different styles I've played with too.

Would you be willing to share them ?

They look great.

Please ?

"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) ***

Sure.. :)

I'm converting them to PDF as I type this and I'll get them uploaded in a bit. Sorry it took so long, but those pesky final exams were keeping me busy for the last two weeks.


I got the templates uploaded. One is the full package, and then I have the individual templates with their source files up as well. Hope they are as helpful to others as they are to me. :)


I love what you have done...I might copy some of your ideas for myself!

- blackberry addict/paper junkie/bookworm/notetaker

Its nice. You have covered

Its nice. You have covered all the stuffs that should be included in a student planner,but the schedule seems to be packed.


These photos were taken the week of midterms... very busy week/month. But I will admit, my regular schedule is just as packed. Between work, classes, honors societies, and other extracurricular activities, I have nearly forgotten what real downtime is like - hence the extreme need for organization in my life. :)

objectives page

This is just a thought, but I think I would like to have and objectives, page, or a goals to reach page. You could even go one step further, and add a objectives completed, or a goal s attained page so you can kinda look back and see what kind of progress you are making,and how much you are procrastinating :)

I don't know if this really fits into what your trying to do,It's just that I kind of like to Plan my work, and then work my plan, it helps me stay in focus, and maintain some kind of control