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Why using a paper planner will make you a more effective student

Why using a paper planner will make you a more effective student

We all know digital devices are a convenient and often an easy solution for keeping track of school work. Your academic to-do’s and deadlines can be found online, so why take the time to use a paper planner when you can look things up so quickly on your phone or computer? Using a paper planner will help you become a more prepared and effective student and here’s why.

You will know everything you need to get done and by when

The life of a student is busy. From middle school through college, the day doesn’t end when your classes do. Between extracurricular activities, sports, appointments, work and social activities there are multiple deadlines and dates to keep track of. A well designed academic planner gives you the space and structure to record EVERYTHING you have to do, not just school stuff. This allows you to take control over your schedule and manage your time because you have a clear idea of everything on your plate. You can dramatically reduce the “oops, I forgot” moments by writing everything in your planner. 

You make an achievable plan to complete everything on time

Paper planners, unlike smartphones, allow you to see everything you have going on at once. By putting all your commitments in one place, you are able to see how your scheduled events or assignments interact with each other and identify days that you have less time to do assignments or conflicts in your schedule. By doing this in advance, you can adjust your plan for when you start an assignment, study for a test or go get help from a teacher or professor so that you don't run out of time or find yourself doing everything at the last minute. In addition, because of its larger size to a smartphone you can see the bigger picture of your week and add more details into your plan that would otherwise be hidden on your device. And by seeing this bigger picture researchers have found that students are much more likely to get their plans completed!

Writing things down decreases stress and feelings of overwhelm

When you keep everything in your head, you feel like you have so much to do and there’s no possible way to get it all done. More times than not, what you think you have to do doesn’t align with what you really have to do. This can lead to feelings of stress and overwhelmness. But, if you take the time to write it all out in a school planner and spread the tasks across their due dates, that huge single list in our heads turns into smaller, more manageable lists across a week or month. This diminishes those overwhelming and stressful feelings because you can see a path forward to getting everything done. 

You will take greater ownership over your assignments

There’s a weird thing that happens in your mind when you write things down in your academic planner. By writing down what you do rather than just looking at the list online you take the assignments more seriously. In a study of undergraduates at the University of Kentucky, students reported on the low-effort actions that brought about the most positive change in their lives. Using a paper planner ranked highest on the list. One student remarked, “Taking the time to write down important dates and reminders shows that I take them seriously. The little effort that this small task takes proves to have a great positive impact in my life.” (Read more about how writing your assignments down in a planner also helps you to remember them.)

You will procrastinate less

One reason we procrastinate is that we think we have time “later” to get something done. When you use a paper planner and write everything out all in one place, you can easily see your upcoming schedule and commitments laid out in front of you. It becomes clear quickly that “later” is not an option when you see how your time is filled with other commitments. Armed with this clarity, you are more likely to get started than put things off. 


Using a school planner will help you become a more effective student because you will know exactly what you need to get done and by when for school and the rest of your life. You will be able to create a plan to get everything done on time because you will see the big picture of what’s going on in your life and be able to make adjustments when necessary to avoid conflicts. Finally, using a paper planner will help you feel less overwhelmed and stressed, take more responsibility for your work and procrastinate less. Get a tool for student success and transform the way you do school.