There’s that sinking feeling in your stomach.
The teacher’s coming around to collect last night’s reading, and you just realized that you forgot to do it. You quickly toggle between an array of possible excuses, but eventually stick with the truth–you simply forgot.
We’ve all had this moment. We’ve all felt the panic. And we’ve all seen that 0% score appear in the gradebook.
There’s no surefire way to eradicate every single situation like this, but there are a couple effective ways to mitigate the problem.
Using a planner
Ever since the beginning of seventh grade, I have used a planner, and it has worked wonders for me.
The key to the planner’s effectiveness is progress: the feeling of loading on work after each class period and later unloading the burden by filling in the boxes for each completed assignment.
With this constant work-reward system, you’re always moving, always progressing, always improving.
How does it work?
All in all, it comes down to this: using a planner complements the way your mind naturally works. It’s difficult to explain, so I’ll have to digress for a bit to illustrate my point…
Games are engaging and addicting because of their ability to manipulate our main innate desires: collecting, patterns, goal-setting, and achievements.
Using a planner captures these same internal desires. Each new assignment is a challenge and shading in the box once you’ve completed the assignment is your reward. Your progress is visible–even tangible. And every longer project leads to a bigger reward, more weight off of your shoulders.
Each of the four main components of a successful, engaging game is found in the effective use of a planner.
In essence, if your mind enjoys games, there’s a good chance that diligently using a planner is well worth it.
What does my planner look like?
I’ll now break down the planner system that’s led me to success for the last six years. Here’s an example from my planner this past school year:
Step 1: Write down the class/subject in the left side of the row. Underline it.
Step 2: Write the title of the assignment in the middle and try to center it.
Step 3: Draw a box or rectangle on the right side of that row.
Step 4: Fill out one row like this for each assignment for that day. And try to fill these out as the day goes, so you don’t forget to write down assignments.
Step 5: Do the assignments. Then, fill in the corresponding box. If the assignment isn’t due the next day, and you aren’t completely done, then leave the box empty and rewrite the assignment on the next day. In that case, you now have two boxes to fill in once you’re done–twice the reward.
Step 6: Always write due dates for assignments on the day they’re due.
Step 7: If your assignment is to read to a certain page in a book, make sure to write in the page number.
Step 8: Repeat, repeat, repeat. This process is tedious at first, but it becomes more streamlined and natural the more you use it.
What can a planner do for you?
I strongly recommend you use this planner system every single school day. And, at the very least, use it if you miss a day or more of school. Extended breaks are the most common time to forget assignments.
Use a planner in conjunction with procrastinating early and you’ll make sure to avoid that gut-wrenching moment when you’ve forgotten to do an assignment. Say goodbye to the stray 0% scores in the gradebook and say hello to newfound consistency in your work.
Your mind is ready to boost your efficiency with a planner. Are you?
Have I convinced you to use a planner? Let us know below.