How the Planner Saved My Life

This article comes to you from my cousin, and SOAR® intern, Kevin.


– Susan


As I look back on my loooong 21 years of life, I realize one of the defining moments of that time was learning how to manage it. When I think about it, I can look forward to saving years of my life in the long run now that I’ve learned how to manage my time.

My (Mildly) Misspent Youth

All through middle school and high school, I was swamped with work, practices, clubs, and extra curricula. I felt like I was missing out on all the things my friends got to do while I was stuck at home doing all my homework. My friendships and my grades suffered because I didn’t have enough time – but looking back at it, I didn’t actually have that much to do.

My school was generous enough to give me a planner every year, but I never used it – now I see that was a huge mistake. I always thought I could have more fun by hitting my friends with my free planner than using it to keep track of my weekly itinerary.

If you had asked me then why I was a C student, I could have given you lots of different reasons: I don’t have enough time. I forget what assignments are due until it’s too late. I miss out on easy A’s. My social life is important too – okay?

But I didn’t realize until college that these problems had a simple solution.

The Holy Grail

Then – POOF! – out of thin air, I learned how to use the “holy grail” of time and task management: the planner. Okay, it didn’t actually come out of thin air; it came from sitting down and having a conversation with my amazing cousin, Susan!

The planner was such a simple concept, yet somehow I had never seen the need for it. I guess years spent missing assignments, forgetting about dates, and mismanaging my time all weren’t enough to wake me up.

My parents had always said, “I know he is smarter than this,” and, “I know you can do better than that.” I knew my parents cared, but hearing that would make me wonder, What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I be as successful as I know I can be – and my parents know I can be?

My problem was that I believed I could keep track of everything I was doing – school, sports, clubs, my social life – all in my head. HA! I can laugh at myself now that I’m out of that suffocating lifecycle.

Getting It Out of My Head

My problem was simple but very hard for me to fix: what I needed was to have a hard copy of my schedule written down. From homework assignments, to practices, to work hours, I needed all of it out of my head and on paper so that I could focus all my attention on whatever task was at hand.

Now I use my planner for everything! Clearing my head of mundane tasks – homework, exams, my work schedule, everything! – has made my life a whole lot less stressful and more manageable. I’m still not perfect with the planner by any means, but I can tell you it’s saved my grades and my job, and has altered my life for the better.

As dorky as it sounds, those 20 minutes with Susan and the discovery of the “holy grail” (a simple planner) saved my life. Now I can manage starting a nationally organized business club, taking 18 credit hours a semester, and working 20 hours a week.


Thank you, planner – and thank you, Susan – for saving my life!

More Tools for Saving Time

School can be just one of many daunting obligations you have to juggle. Without a plan, it’s overwhelming just to decide which tasks to put first. How do you choose?

Understand your situation and make an educated decision. The SOAR® Learning and Soft Skills App is full of tools for getting your school tasks under control. With a few clicks, you can have everything you need to solve all your school worries in less than a week.

Find your undiscovered brilliance. Knock an hour off your homework time. Learn a simple trick to read a textbook in half the time and remember it better. Master executive function techniques. Raise your GPA, writing scores, and test scores. Never lose a paper again!

You can find the SOAR® Learning & Soft Skills App here.

– Kevin


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