I am a hoarder. This is not really a secret. I do a pretty good job managing it these days, but I am constantly plagued by the thought of but what if I need this? whenever I’m shopping, walking out the door with a small purse, or throwing things away.
Naturally, I carry everything I could possibly need in my backpack. Notebooks, textbooks, headphones, my iPad and keyboard, pencil cases, snacks, knitting projects. I’m prepared for every activity I would want to partake in while on campus.
Being hoarder-prepared, however, means carrying too much stuff.
Last semester, I scheduled all of my classes for Tuesday/Thursday, so I was on campus from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. twice a week, with no time to go home and switch out bags. I carried a lot of things I really didn’t need, for almost 11 hours a day.
I wanted to keep organized, so I made a school binder using some printables I found on Pinterest.
But I also wanted to start blogging and writing regularly, so I also made blogging and writing binders using a hodgepodge of printables.
See the bottom of this post for other printables and planners that I’ve used in the past or drawn inspiration from when creating this one!
After a while, I had too many things to fit in my one school binder so I ended up with two 1-inch school binders–one of which I carried all the time, and one I carried with me everywhere. Add to that the two 1-inch blogging and writing binders that didn’t get much use, plus all the other things I carry around.
Something had to give, and for a while I thought it was gonna be my back!
I still have all of these binders on a shelf at home, ready to be picked apart and recycled, but I’m learning to control my hoarding tendencies. I now carry one life management binder filled with the essentials I need for that week and it’s working out pretty well.
I learned what I did and didn’t need to carry around, based on how I used everything I carried during fall semester. And now I’m happy to share part of that with you!
Here is my super-condensed daily management planner printable, tailored to fit a college students needs (but still customizable).
There are a lot of really pretty and fancy printable planners on Pinterest, but this design is minimalist and utilitarian because I wanted to focus on the content. Plus I need lines because I can’t write a straight line to save my life.
How it fits in my binder: The full planner for the semester is about 30 pages printed double-sided, that I keep at the front of my binder before blogging, fiction-writing, and class dividers. I also keep a zip pouch of sticky notes and page flags clipped in there, and I carry a pencil case that has my highlighters and pens.
My first page includes my daily and weekly checklists of things I know I am forgetful or lazy about: things like drinking enough water, doing yoga, doing the dishes, printing my coupons. There’s also space to put a couple of reminder sticky notes for goals I want to keep in mind, or things that absolutely must be remembered.
On the back of my front page, I have my due dates sheet: this includes a section for an assignment planner as well as a project and ideas planner for things like story deadlines and a blog editorial calendar.
Edit: Last semester I found that I had way too many assignments and readings to fit on this page. I created an assignment tracking spreadsheet to replace this page–and it ended up taking up four pages!
Next is the monthly calendar. I have this vaguely color-coded with the pens and highlighters I tend to carry with me. I included some lines near the bottom for reminders.
I use a lot of lines in this design because I cannot write straight. It’s just impossible, I can’t train myself to do it. The lines are also narrow-ruled (between 8 and 10 pixels tall) because I have small handwriting. You can easily bump the size or remove the lines yourself in the editable document.
The calendars also have an inspirational quote in the empty day spaces, because why not?
On the back of the monthly calendar is the monthly budget. I want to be better about my budget, and I’m trying to train myself to hand-write every transaction to keep myself from splurging or compulsively buying bottles of Vitamin Water. (So far I’m not doing so hot.)
There are also spaces to note upcoming big bills like tuition and loan payments, as well as to keep track of groceries and items you don’t necessarily have to factor into every month like toothpaste or textbooks.
I keep the months bunched together (but not the entire year), so that I can see what’s due in the coming weeks and how I need to pace myself through the semester.
Edit: Since I pre-printed the entire year, I still have these pages in my binder. However, I have transitioned away from the budget page and started using the YNAB app instead. Review forthcoming!
The most important part, and the pages I use the most: the weekly planner. I thought about what I did and didn’t use with the planners last year, and what I wish I’d had. A lot of weekly planners had space to write, but didn’t have tasks tiered out or hourly breakdowns of each day–something that is usually reserved for day planners instead of week planners.
To make sure I remembered the most important tasks, I set a bright red section for the things that I absolutely needed to do that day: exams, project due dates, story publishing dates.
I also want to keep track of things that I should do but aren’t necessarily the top priority that day, so I broke down reading and writing sections for things I should study and work on but aren’t necessarily immediately due.
And because I want to start budgeting better and eating out less, I put in a meal planner section, which will hopefully inspire me to plan my meals for the week? So far it hasn’t seen much use, but hopefully when I’m a little more disciplined after school starts, I’ll use it more.
I have about 20 copies of this page printed, so I use paperclips to keep my place so I can always turn to the current week. Once classes start and I have some bigger due dates, my weekly pages will have color-coded page flags to let me know when I have upcoming projects, papers, and exams due.
Since I use a lot of sticky notes and Google Calendar reminders, and I don’t have any looming academic deadlines for another week, I’m still getting in the swing of using my planner regularly. I’ll update this post when I have more substantial snapshots of how it’s used.
Download the full printable:
I’m including a printable PDF as well as the Publisher templates so that you can edit it yourself–feel free to change the font, swap out a blog section for another meal planning section, use colors that fit your binder, or tweak it however suits your purpose.
I’d love to see what changes you make!
If this planner doesn’t fit your needs, here are some of the ones that inspired me to make it. Maybe one of the prettier or more comprehensive life management printables here will be what you need!
I also laminated the Get It Done and This Week pages from The Harmonized House Project last semester to keep track of things that were high priority—although I ended up using regular-sized Post-Its which were too big for the spots. Their Home Finance Printables inspired the budgeting and finance pages I made, which I’m hoping will help me be more responsible with my money instead of being a compulsive shopper/eater.
The Mini Accountability Binder from Thirty Handmade Days inspired a lot of my reminder and list pages.