The start of the academic year is back again, and I  have never been so excited to get hold of some new stationery. I have always loved buying any type of stationery that could organise my life in a fun, easy way. Now, even as a 20-year-old living in a digital era I still choose to grab a clean, colourful planner to start off the academic year. 

There have always been so many benefits to using a planner that a digital calendar and reminder list could not match. A new planner is a clean slate for a new year, a sort of ‘leave last year in the dust and get ready to kick ass in a new one’. So, from the onset, just having that blank sheet to start planning motivates me to get things organised which in turn helps me get things done. 

I can start the semester well by writing down exactly what needs to be done, creating a more visual, and therefore memorable, way to plan and ensure  I never double-book myself. Not only that but when I am having a stressful week, I find just writing down a list of what I need to do and when these tasks need to be done will calm me down. 

A planner from California based company for 2019-2020. Photo by Claire Gelhaus

A common critique for physical planners is that they can be time-consuming and inconvenient to use. It’s easy to think adding a quick reminder on our phones will be quicker, but it  adds onto our ever growing screen time. Especially this year,it is important to split up your time so you don’t find yourself staring at a screen all day.Writing things down will leave you less distracted as then you don’t have never-ending notifications popping up as you’re trying to focus.  

This said discovering the best planner for you can be a challenge.There seem to be infinite planners to choose from, and if you don’t know what you want it can be confusing. Sometimes a little bit of trial and error is the best way to discover what is best for you. For me I want in my planner: a week-by-week view so I have plenty of room to write what I need to do each day, built in to-do lists, something colourful that grabs my attention and makes me more likely to remember what I’ve written. And a planner that is light enough to carry everywhere makes it way more useful then one that stays at home. Finally, I buy a mid-year diary so that it starts in August/September and finishes the following year. 

If you are looking for a heavier planner though, it could be helpful to get a couple of other organisational pieces to take to uni instead. Potentially, a list book which usually contains checklists, post-it notes, sticky tabs and lined paper that you can rip out when needed. Also, desk planners that are designed to give you a week or day view can also aid you, and mean that they’re always visible for when you need them. For organisation in the long run, 301 Services release a free year long calendar that you can pin up on your wall.  

Mookau on Ecclesall Road is currently selling a good selection of planners and stationery by BusyB so that would be worth checking out. Apart from those, there are plenty of chain and independent stationery stores in Sheffield. With a little search around town, I am sure you will find what you’re looking for!



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