Saturday, December 13, 2014

My Personal Planner: Part One

The weekend is finally here! It feels like I've been going to med school for years now! It was so satisfying getting up out of bed around ten o'clock instead of six! And even better- I have both, Saturday and Sunday off! Yay!

So I'm doing a post on the planner I've made for myself for this academic year. I looked up a couple of planner diys on Pinterest and tumblr and that's how I concluded to make my own planner. I also used my old school planner as a reference to see how I was comfortable with doing my thing. Remember, the basic point of a planner is not to look pretty, but to be useful and help organize yourself!

(My planner is still under construction but I'll be showing you the major adjustments I've done)

This is a planner notebook I bought a bookfair for about roughly Rs.250 (which converts to about USD $2.50). The paper quality looks good, but I can't use gel pens (Signo Uniball) or my Schneider highlighters or my colored Dollar Pointers. What I CAN use are dry ink pens and my Tip Top highlighters (which appears to be a Japanese product).
The planner is a production of Shen Shi and they've given their site address ( which doesn't exist? Or maybe it's a website that can only be accessed from specific countries or domains. 
The planner is in A5 size with 105 sheets and is 9mm ruled.
What I liked about this planner was the handy size, the double spiral spine and the colored dividers.
There are five sections and I've taken the first section aside for personal notes etc.
Here's a page out of the first section. This is a list of books I am supposed to buy for my first year and second year medical education. I've placed check boxed next to books that have been strongly recommended by senior students. When I've bought a book, I strike the title out and add a tick on the check box if necessary.

The other four sections are reserved for the actual planner bulk. The first page after the divider is taken up by a useful tumblr post I wrote down and taped on.
(I have something for tape- it makes such a nice border, plus I found out you can write on the tape with permanent marker- or even just the average dry ink pen! Also doesn't make the paper soggy- like glue. yuck)

"Overcome Your Laziness in Four Steps"
The key to doing this is motivation + understanding whether running towards or running away will help you achieve what you want to achieve.
Writing a daily plan to organize yourself can help too.
Ask yourself the following questions each and every day (especially when battling procrastination)
(1) What am I trying to avoid? Consequences?
(2) What am I actually aiming for? Realize what you need to do to get there.
(3) What's the next step I can take? Just one small easy step.
(4) Repeat.
Here's what comes after the quote- the monthly calender.
Why have I started from December? It's because my planner isn't year oriented, but academic oriented. My first day of med school started on the 8th of December- so that's why the planner starts from December.
I like coloring, so I've got a small packet of color pencils close by. On important days or long term events, I've decided to color blocks on the monthly calender and then color on the related information I've written on the weekly bit of the planner! 
Need an example?
See that that one week that has the the top blocks colored with blue? On the last column (reserved for notes) the blue color is explained to represent "Zero Week".
What is Zero Week?
Zero Week was basically an event organized by our seniors which has one event happening every day. I don't know if you can see it on the above image, but on Monday, I've used the same blue color pencil to highlight "Bakesale", for Wednesday it was "Sports", for Thursday it was "Movie Night" and for Friday, it was "Scavenger Hunt".
This is what my weekly planner looks like. There's going to be five such pages until the next Monthly page for January.
I realized drawing that drawing the calender right on the pages wasn't a good idea- the next monthly pages have all been drawn blank pages and taped on,
Here's an example! I drew a calender format and had it photocopied. The format was just a bunch of lines with no writing at all, so I could do all the months separately. I wrote the month, filled in the dates and taped it on the pages. Oh, and here's where I discovered the bit about writing on tape with permanent marker :D It makes great borders!
Here's what I did at the end. I got some grid pages and cut them down to size and then punched holes in them according to the spiral cuts needed. After that, I slipped the grid pages into the spiral spine at the end of the notebook.
The purpose of these grid pages is to record my money spending. I have the page divided into two and three columns on each side. The columns are labelled "Date", "Balance" and "Extra Info" where Balance means whether I got money or spent  money and Extra Info reveals why I received or spent money.
So here's how I've been using my planner so far! It's basically a mix up between the weekly planner format and the bullet journal. I've been using this style for the last year and it's worked great for me- especially when studying for finals. I divide my studying a month before and lay out daily goals, dividing the syllabus revision into small chunks I can easily cover. It helps reduce the stress and anxiety when I flip through the pages and see how I've already got everything organized and under control!

I hope this post was interesting and inspired you in some sort of way ^^. Have a great weekend!


  1. Gah, your study-planning is so good! I really need to do something like that, rather than trying to absorb everything at once. Also, I really like your new blog name! :)

  2. That is so nice! It seems to really help.

  3. It doesn't have to look pretty? Well, your looks pretty to me ;)
    I just bought a calender at the start of the year, but I only use it to write down when midterms are and when I have to start intership, that kind of stuff. Over the weekend I write checklists in an old notebook - nothing is more satisfying than crossing things of a list :)

  4. Your handwriting..your organization O_O
    I wish I could maintain a journal like this...All the subjects and books..I'm sure my friends doing medical would also find this post very interesting...Week zero sounds've got some cool seniors :D

    Neal Kind
    Daily Diaries

  5. That's great! I'm not half so organized. I would like to be, but sadly I just don't seem to be.

  6. I wish my planner was this awesome. I like that you've included practical sections for things like textbooks and expenses. Also, I agree with Neal -- your handwriting is so neat. Hope you had a good zero week of med school :) And congrats on such an organized start!

  7. Your planner looks so tidy! And I like your handwriting, it's adorable :) I'm going to get a planner like this, it seems to be really good for organizing :3

  8. Your calendar looks so pretty and put together and organized ahhhh. I have a planner as I find that I'm prone to forgetting things, but this backfired when I forgot where I put my planner (sigh). Luckily, it was found a week later, but I wish I had the motivation to get (and keep) my calendar as put together as yours is. Also, love the new blog name! :)

  9. Whoa seems you are really working hard to plan ahead :) That's great. Keep it up! :D

  10. I love stationary, and especially notebooks. I had bought one that I planned to turn into an uber organized planner like yours, but somewhere along the way it turned into a big mess (oh well, better luck next year). Thanks for the pictures, I'll use yours as a guideline for my own planner! :)


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