Making To-Do’s To-DONE

3 Oct

When it comes to keeping on top of and ahead of upcoming dates and deadlines, organization is crucial. (I can almost hear the eye rolls…) Yes, that’s obvious. But finding a system that works for you isn’t always as straightforward.

Let’s take a look at the different ways you can keep track of these important dates:

1. The Planner

This is the go-to option. All your dates in one little book that you can continually update as they come up. You can look well into the future by flipping a couple pages, and (bonus!) you can reminisce about weeks past and see all the hard work you have done. Despite being such a handy little tool, some struggle making planners a habit. It’s all about making it work for YOU.

“At the beginning of the year, I go through every syllabus I receive from my classes and write down all the dates (assignments, exams, project deadlines, etc.). I even color code them so each class is a different color.  I use my planner every day–religiously. This way there are no surprises!” Veronica Atondo, Outreach Facilitator

2. Using Technology

We are in an age of 3-D printers, voice-activated cars, and, of course, computers that can fit in your pocket! Make use of your phone, your tablet, and any other tech available to you! There are plenty of resources available:

Phone Apps


Yup. Procrastination: there’s an app for that. If you have a smartphone, be smart about time management! There are countless planner, calendar, reminder and motivator apps for both apple and android! Many of these programs remind you if you have something coming up and they congratulate you when you have accomplished them! Isn’t that sweet of them?

Word templates


Word has a number of printable daily, weekly, and monthly planners that you can fill out right on your computer, save as files, or print out to hang up.

Google Calendar


Did you know your Catmail account also is linked to Google Calendar? What’s cool about this tool is that you can track every hour of every day (ugh…daunting, but helpful). Input your entire schedule and see how much time you actually have to get those assignments taken care of!

D2L Calendar


This tool on D2L is awesome because it links to the dates your instructors have posted! You don’t have to do a thing. It displays all your assignments, exams, and deadlines that have been posted on D2L for the entire semester (and automatically updates if new ones are added). Yay…more work…but at least you know about it!

Sticky Notes (the virtual kind)


Most computers have some kind of “sticky note” or notepad program. These make for quick little reminders as things come up and are great digital to-do lists!


“I just keep a running to-do lists on my Mac’s sticky notes. As I complete each task, I get to delete them!” —Lucero Pesqueira, Outreach Facilitator

3. DIY Combo Platter!

Maybe planners and computers aren’t your thing. Or maybe you wish they were, but the habit isn’t sticking. When this is the case, make your own system! Some students like to mix their to-do lists both on and off-line. You may have to be a little creative to see what works for you!

The Best of Both Worlds


“I rely on to-do lists. Once I have everything written down from my syllabi online, I cross check-it with my calendar and make current lists so I know what needs to get done.” Ciara Lowe, Outreach Facilitator

to do

Try On Other’s Ideas for Size

“I stole this idea from Pinterest. I made a calendar out of sticky notes and wrote every upcoming date and deadline I could find on each class syllabus. I update this every month. I take off the “master” sticky note at the beginning of each week and stick it in my planner–this is where I write in any last minute things I need to do!” Franny Caputa, Outreach Facilitator. 

Use What You Have


Mirror, mirror, on the wall…what dates and deadlines do I have this fall? Use dry erase markers to write down reminders, important dates, inspirational quotes to keep you motivated, anything! It’s harder to procrastinate when the things you need to get done are literally STARING YOU IN THE FACE.

Wildcat Connections


And finally, stay on top of important dates and deadlines with Wildcat Connections! We update you on campus-wide D&Ds in our weekly newsletter. Also, we have a new Planning and Organization Pinterest board! Make sure to try out any ideas that interest you as we update it. You never know what works until you try!

Finding your own groove in college is difficult when you feel disorganized. Finding a way to keep yourself on track is one of the most important ways to stay connected, stay productive, and, most importantly, stress-free!

–Franny Caputa


One Response to “Making To-Do’s To-DONE”


  1. Minimize Midterm Stress and Maximize Your Mindfulness | Student Affairs Outreach - October 11, 2013

    […] keeping a well-balanced schedule, all of these things can be accomplished! Check-out Franny’s blog last week about unique ways to organize your schedule, beyond just using a planner. In the long run, we just […]

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