Wellness, Productivity, Balance for Graduate Students and Beyond

Tools to get your schedule under control: a #MindfulPhD roundup!

Well, if there's one thing we learned in the last #MindfulPhD chat, it's that people LOVE to talk about their planners and scheduling tools. I've rounded up some of the themes of our chat and the tools that we're recommended, in the hopes that they might help you feel like you're in control of your schedule, not that it's controlling you!

  • Most people use a combination of a digital calendar + separate planner (sometimes paper, but not always!) The division between hard appointments (and the ease of being able to access that calendar on the web/on a phone) and tasks that need to get done at any one point in time means that the two tools overlap, but don't replicate each other. 
  • Spending time with a planner (especially one that has prompts to think about things you're grateful for, your creativity, etc.) away from email and the noise of our digital lives can be a welcome respite during your day, even if it is just for three or four minutes.
  • For some, scheduling every minute can add to anxiety, not reduce it. Focusing on key tasks to complete, and then feeling good when you do them, can really help to feel less scheduled and more productive. 
  • No matter what system you use, everyone needs to shake it up from time to time! Experimentation with new workflows can help your routine feel fresh and new, even if the tasks themselves aren't that different. 

    And now what you're all waiting for, a roundup of planners and apps that #MindfulPhD chatters use and love! 
  • Did you know that Google Calendar has a bunch of new features in addition to a new look? I especially love the "side by side" calendar view. 
  • Wunderlist is a great to-do app that will let you schedule recurring tasks, and syncs between web and phone! 
  • I use a Desire Map Planner, and although it might be a little touchy-feely for some, I love that it has me focus on how I want to feel, rather than number based goals. Try out a free page here!
  • Looking for free planner pages to try? Tons of free printables at the Day Designer site! 
  • The Passion Planner has academic and undated versions, in case your schedule doesn't fit with a daily planner!
  • The Franklin Covey system is a true original in the planner space, and they have a variety of sizes in case you don't want to drag a 5 pound planner around with you!
  • Into stickers and decorating? The Erin Condren planner is beautiful, highly customizeable and has tons of cool stickers and decorating tools on Etsy, in case you need a rabbit hole to fall into. 
  • Can't find a planner that checks every box? Try bullet journaling - the beauty is that it is only what you need it to be, nothing more. I've written a lot about mine here but there's a whole world on social media to support your bujo journey.