It’s the beginning of July which for me means the end of the first summer session at school, and the beginning of focusing on my grueling thesis. At the end of any semester, I tend to feel like I need a change (whether it’s a new duvet cover, a new picture on the wall or a complete re-haul of my desk). This time, it was the latter. I wiped everything off the desk to start with a clean slate and rearranged everything down to the location of my printer. But how can I organize my life while keeping the fun in functional?

To begin, you can buy a cheap $5 bulletin board from Ikea and use some acrylic paint to make the frame stand out. Bulletin boards are very useful for keeping track of assignments, displaying photos and much more. But rather than a page out of your school planner, you can make your own personalized version! By going into Microsoft Word and setting up your page to have two columns, all you really have to do is type out what sections you want with some lines that you will fill in later and then add shapes of whatever color you want (just be sure to format them behind your text).

I chose to have a section for Weekly Goals, Important Dates and a Checklist. I find it beneficial to set short-term and long-term goals. By looking at little tasks as well as a goal for the week, I have a better idea of my timeline for getting things done. I also added actual check boxes, because I like seeing the progress as the week goes on.  Think about what helps to motivate you and the different types of tasks you have to complete throughout the week when creating your planner. In addition to the organizational aspect, the other benefit to this planner sheet is that it is cute enough to display, but when you have to go to work or school you can easily take it with you.

Although I have important dates on my planner sheet, I like to refer to an actual calendar when making plans. Did you know that Microsoft Word actually has printable templates for just that?  In Word you just have to go to “New from Template” and search for calendar.  You can even change the theme colors and fonts. You can also use cute patterned tape to show a span of time like you would in iCal or most computer versions. (This helps tremendously when you have a number of projects going on and need to see how to allocate time for each.)

Organization doesn’t have to be black and white and boring; it can be cute and colorful just like you!