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Tools for planning your PhD: the PhD Planner

For those of you who have been following this blog for a while, you know that I think planning is an essential skill to get work done. I plan at different levels, and the tools that I use for this are my Google Calendar, ToDoist, and a BulletJournal style notebook (which doesn’t follow exactly the BuJo system).

I set up my spreads in my notebook myself, but if you want a preprinted planner for academic success, there is the PhD Planner. I learned about this planner from its creator, who was kind enough to send me a free copy.

So what does this planner have:
– half-year spreads to help you plan long-term and note down important deadlines
– weekly spreads, which you can use for writing down priorities and appointments
– paper planning spreads, to help you get your manuscript out
– conference planning spreads, which facilitate all the actions you need to take care of before and after a conference
– a deep work tracker to help you get into the habit of making time for and doing deep work
– quarterly progress spreads, to identify your goals per quarter

I must say, that I haven’t come around to using this planner (even though I’ve been dragging it to my office every day) because I already have a BuJo system in place that works very well for me – and as a faculty member, my responsibilities are a bit more distributed than for a PhD student. One thing I also noticed is that the paper on which the journal is printed is not very friendly for those of us who write with a fountain pen (for my BuJo, I use a Moleskine, and their paper is soft as butter for writing).

Nonetheless, if you don’t have a fixed, well-working time management system in place, or you feel your system could need a refresh, I strongly recommend you check out and try out this planner.

This planner is a great tool for PhD students. As you may be getting ready now for the start of the academic year, do yourself the favor of ordering your planner now 🙂

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