Planners: Not just another notebook
October 8, 2018
As I leap into my third year of high school, I feel obligated to share my secrets on how to do your best in school. I have had good semesters and bad semesters throughout my underclassmen years. There are variables that have caused my grades to drop or go up, specifically using a planner that the school gives you at the beginning of the year.
Why use a planner
Although you don’t have to use the school’s planner, there is a new feature this year in our agendas. There are dotted lines that correspond with an hour of the day after school. Using these slots, you can manage your time and come to learn how long certain classes’ homework will take, then you can plan accordingly. According to Psychologytoday.com, using a planner helps you manage your time. Our agendas this year have the perfect feature for that. Not only can you plan out your homework, but your whole night! You can write in practice times, dinner times, work hours, and any other activities that come into conflict with your homework. The school planners have a little less room that other planners you can buy yourself, so that’s why I suggest you only write things in that will conflict with homework time.
Abby Mizera says in an article about planners that for those who use them, “events won’t sneak up…and seem so scary.” This is true for high school students.
I’ve experienced it myself. For example, last year I wrote a 4-page business plan and knew months in advance that it had to be written by a certain date. Such a daunting task did not seem so bad when I set dates to do certain pieces. By the time the due date came around, I had all my pieces almost perfect and my plan was ready to be turned in. I got an A on that assignment and I believe it is because I planned for it, not waited until the last couple days to try to get by with the bare minimum.
This is a good thing to practice in high school so as Mizera says, it will become habit to write in your planner. In college, most assignments are often big papers or readings and writing in your planner can help you break up those assignments into smaller daily ones and you won’t forget about them until the last second.
Who uses planners?
This year I have been wondering how many of these useful planners go to waste? I asked almost all my classmates to participate in a simple survey. I asked one yes or no question to my classes. I asked my peers to raise their hand if they used their planner daily. Right away within the first few classes I started to see a couple of trends.
First, more of my AP class peers tend to use their planners daily than do non-AP class peers. This makes perfect sense because there is a lot more homework involved with these classes, but there was a pattern I could not quite wrap my head around.
This pattern could be seen throughout all classes. In 50% of the classes, all females raised their hand. This included my AP Language and Composition class. Another class only had one male raise his hand. I wondered, why do girls write in their planners more than men? Are they more organized?
My next step was to do some research on brain studies which looked at the differences between men and women. I found multiple articles that claimed women were better multitaskers than men. But how does this relate to using a planner?
According to BBC.com, a study in China revealed that women could juggle completing and planning for multiple tasks in a small amount of time better than men. For example, one task of many was to make a plan of how you would search through a field to find a lost object. They were under pressure while creating these plans and it showed how women had an advantage over men. Women used more “methodical” plans that are ultimately more effective.
This article’s research implies that women can organize their time better to get things done more effectively. The writers “argue the average woman is better able to organize her time and switch between tasks than the average man.” Co-author Keith Laws is researching further answer to more questions regarding this phenomenon.
Based on my own observations, the ideas brought up in the article seem to be true. Women use their planners more than men do. They are using agendas to manage time more effectively and complete homework faster, possibly without even realizing it!
Just because the trend is for women to use their planner this way doesn’t mean men can’t use planners just as effectively. There may be an adjustment period, but it is a behavior that can be learned.