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Picture this: it’s a Wednesday night at 7:00 pm. You just finished up your night class. The Chick-fil-A line is 25 minutes long. The temperature has dropped to a crisp 25 degrees and a few snowflakes are falling. A text lights up your phone, your friends asking to hit Wild Wednesday at the bar on campus.
And then a realization hits you like a wheelbarrow full of bricks: you forgot to write the 8 page research paper that you’ve been avoiding all week.
You know, the one that’s due tomorrow? Weren’t you going to finish that last week? How could you have forgotten about it?!
Now you’ll be up until 3 am writing, rushing across campus all morning trying to find a working printer, and probably taking a hit on that already questionable Econ grade.
A college student’s worst nightmare, and one that I found myself in more times than I’d like to count.
That is, until I found a solution to stop letting my brain fog get the best of me (mostly) and eliminate last minute meltdowns.
How can we minimize brain fog impacting our responsibilities?
Obviously there’s no quick fix here. As much as we’d all jump at the chance, we can’t just eliminate our brain fog. We can, however, learn strategies to work with it and minimize the fallout as much as possible.
I have a few tools and tips that have helped me break the cycle of forgetfulness, including better utilization of my inkWELL Press planner.
I’ll show you an example below of how I use this planner to actually remember what my responsibilities are. This is definitely the tool that has helped me the most!
Setting yourself up for success with the right planning….
The next step to setting yourself up for success is all about planning, and that’s where my beloved inkWELL Press planner comes in.
I have used this planner throughout all 4 years of college. I always recommend it when people are on the lookout for new planners.
Before I show you how I use this planner to help reduce my procrastination, I wanted to point out some of the features I really love about it.
Here are my favorite things about my inkWELL Press planner:
- Yearly and monthly goal setting sections
- Daily habit trackers for each month
- Monthly “vision board”
- Priority sections for each day
- Notes pages included (I use these to add extra bullet journal spreads!)
All of these elements make it so easy to customize your planner with the layout that fits best for you!
I personally have the flex planner and prefer that setup because I like to draw a vertical line within each day to split between appointments and tasks.
The first way this planner can help with my brain fog and forgetting my assignments is through the monthly overview page.
In the beginning of every semester, I go through my syllabus for each class and input all of my big assignments and tests on these monthly overview pages.
This not only helps me see when things are due, but what weeks or months may be particularly busy so I can plan ahead accordingly. I know that when I get more busy, I also tend to end up completely spacing out on important tasks.
You can see that things are written in different colors. I do this to help me distinguish between different types of events.
I used to keep a key on each page, but since my colors were consistent I stopped after a few weeks.
For example, I wrote class assignments in purple and tasks for my student organization in light blue. This helped me easily keep track of all of my tasks.
The weekly overview and how to plan tasks effectively….
So I decided to show you all a random week where I happened to have a bunch of big assignments due all at once.
I think this week is a good example because I typically would have forgotten at least one of these assignments until the very last minute!
You can see below the weekly overview, where I make sure to write out all tasks for the week.
After filling out the monthly pages with all of my assignments, I also fill them out on these weekly pages as well.
I happened to not have any appointments or events during this week, but I normally write those on the left side of the black line I drew in. I color code these pages with the same colors as my monthly overview!
The biggest part of these pages and what helped me be the most successful at managing my brain fog are these post it notes.
Post it notes like these for important tasks are more likely to catch my eye than just writing them in the sections for each day.
I also like that this method allows me to map out the entire task and assign deadlines for myself to be more accountable.
You can see that for these two assignments, I broke them down into much smaller and more manageable parts.
For my exam, I assigned myself one small section each day leading up to the exam.
I also usually add 1-2 buffer days in here as well so that if I am unable to get one task completed because I feel sick or really out of it, I don’t feel overwhelmed and rushed.
Let me know in the comments below how you manage life when your brain fog is really bad! Do you find it easier to work on tasks in smaller parts?