TECH TIP GET ORGANIZED, DIGITALLY

Mapping out your schedule needn’t be a chore. Think of a well-appointed calendar as a compass for a college student. Besides being a guide for navigating your current term, it will also keep you pointed toward your long-term goals.

1. The Problem

You keep forgetting assignments and can’t find the paper planner that your college provided.

2. The Fix

Replace the lost print planner with your phone or computer using a free electronic calendar or phone app.

3. How to Do It

First, pick one of the following:

Google Calendar

Google Calendar is a quick, easy, free replacement for traditional print planners that allows you to input assignment deadlines and reminders, sync with group members’ calendars during group projects, and even manage your social life by loading Facebook events.

iStudiez Pro app for Mac, iPhone, and iPad

Rated the Best College Student App for 2011 by readers of BestAppEver.com, iStudiez Pro allows you to sync the following information across devices: a daily schedule, your calendar by term, assignments, grades, and instructor information.

Studious app for Android devices

If you own an Android device and want to ditch your old-school paper planner, try out Studious. It is an all-in-one app for tracking your schedule, including upcoming homework deadlines, and it can also be used for taking and managing notes. Best of all, it’s free.

Then, take these steps:

1. Find out if your college sells a special planner in the campus bookstore with important dates or deadlines already marked, or get the academic calendar from your school’s Web site. If there is no college calendar, grab a sheet of paper or download a blank calendar page from the Internet.

2. Draw up a plan for the term, entering your commitments for each week: classes, work hours, assignment deadlines, study groups (including contact numbers), and exam and vacation dates.

3. Transfer all the information into the electronic calendar or phone app of your choice, where you can view commitments by day, week, or month. Simply click on a date or time slot, follow instructions on the toolbar to create a new entry, and start typing.

4. A useful trick is to highlight the most important deadlines and activities. As you type in each new entry, most programs will give you the option to color-code items by category (i.e., school, work, family). Set reminder alarms to keep yourself on track.

5. Use the to-do list function to jot down and prioritize tasks. Start a new to-do list every day or once a week. Every time you complete a task, cross it off the list.

6. Back up everything by syncing your calendar and to-do list with other electronic devices. If you need help, visit your college’s computer lab or information technology department. Alternately, turn to a hyperorganized friend for advice or look for an online tutorial.

Now you can file your original paper calendar away for safekeeping in case you experience technical difficulties down the road.