New Year, New Planner


Calendar—The established order of the division of time into years, months, weeks, and days; or a systematic enumeration of such arrangement.
-Black’s Law Dictionary
How ironic that my post about utilizing a planner comes after not sticking to my posting schedule!  I promise I will be better about posting this year and in this coming semester.  I didn’t realize how crazy busy I would get towards the end of last semester with my final memo and finals, but now I’m one-sixth of the way to having my JD!
One of the things that I get most excited about every year is designing and purchasing my new planner.  I’ve used and investigated a few different brands, but there’s one brand that I’ve been using consistently for the past four years.  I purchase my planner from the company May Designs.  Not only do they sell full year agendas, they sell academic agendas (August to July), calligraphy books, notebooks, stationery, and even full wall calendars.
The Planner Itself
One of my favorite things about the May Designs notebooks and agendas is their physical design.  The books are bound on the side and are quite flexible.  My absolute favorite feature of the planner happens to be the width of the agenda itself.  I’ve used several other planners that were really thick and couldn’t easily fit in my bag with all of my school textbooks.  That’s not the case with the May Designs books; they’re lightweight and don’t take up much room in a bag filled with law school casebooks. 

The inside pages of the 2017 agenda are awesome!  The first pages of the agenda includes a place to write down your goals for all parts of your life, including fitness, books to read, travel, etc.  I didn’t really use this feature that much last year but I’m planning on using it this year.  For Christmas last year, my mom bought me one of their adult coloring books and this year, they included pages of their coloring book into the agenda (awesome for stress relieving!).  The page after that includes another section for goals for each month, celebrations in that month, and a small place to write notes about what happens in each month.
Each month, a full month spread precedes a page layout for each week.  The month spread includes all of the major holidays, including some minor ones (like National Cheese Lover’s Day, my fav!), a place for notes, and a small calendar for the next month.  In the prior editions of the May Book agendas, I found each day’s space to be a little small and I would have to cram all of my assignments for every class.  Thankfully, they just expanded their product line to include notebooks that are the same size as a composition notebook.  I purchased two large sized notebooks for some of my classes and they’re definitely a great size so I’m excited to start using a planner this size. 
The planners themselves are not expensive relate to other planners, such as the ever popular Erin Condren planners.  The large size agendas, with a monogram of your choice, cost $28 plus shipping, but they have sales throughout the year and every so often have a MDInstaParty, where they release a pattern for only one day and provide a discount on it!  Trust me, they’re adorable!
How I Use It
I’m extremely organized about how I use my planner, maybe to a fault, but it helps me know what I have to do and when I have to get it done.  My first step every semester is to assign each of my classes a particular color.  I tend to color coordinate my binders for my classes to the pen I use in my planner.  Below you can see my color system for last semester.

Each Color = Different Class

I tend to only match one class with each color so that on my month at a glance calendar, it’s easier for me to see what class has the most assignments for a particular week.  I used to only use one color for my planner but that got a bit much when I was trying to distinguish between my class assignments.  I love using the colored Sharpie pens for this task as they have vibrant colors and the best part is that they don’t bleed through the page. 

If that weren’t organized enough, I also use large Post-It Notes to organize my week.  On Thursdays, I typically look through my syllabi and write down my reading assignments and other assignments in chronological order for the week on a Post-It.  I use this as more of a checklist to make sure I get everything done for the week.  That may sound redundant as I write down the assignment for the next class after each class is over but the checklist functions as a way for me to get ahead on the week’s assignments so I don’t fall behind. 

That’s my organization routine so feel free to share how you utilize your planners!  I hope your winter break was great and good luck on the start of a new semester!

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