Academic Year Planning: Why it's a Good Time to Plan
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Academic diaries were something I started using back in school. Each year in September, in later primary years and in secondary school, we were given a new diary in which to organise our academic lives, although if yours didn't end up becoming a sketchbook with a myriad of drawings across the pages, did you ever actually use it? As much as I love a bullet journal and shiny new Filofax inserts for the turn of the new year, I've used academic diaries each year without fail. Now I'm starting a new one dedicated purely for work and I think I've finally figured out why I love academic diaries so much and how they can really keep you motivated to reach your targets and reach them well.

There are busy times ahead

I don't know about any of you, but January is the worst month for me in terms of motivation. A number of family birthdays give me an excuse to continue the festivities well into the new year, but when it comes to goal setting and re-energising, it's not the greatest time for my productivity. In August, though, I'm in top form. Maybe it's my stationery problem kicking in and urging me to actually use the copious amount of supplies...or maybe it's because that September 'new school year' feeling has never really left me.

There's a good chance that whatever you'll be doing next month, events and tasks will become more frequent. As students, autumn signifies a lot of new beginnings, new goals and anticipation for what is to come. In your job, custom might take a steady incline as we count down to the festive period. Does having more plans give you something to look forward to? Whether it's Hallowe'en, Bonfire Night, Thanksgiving or Christmastime, don't you feel a little bit more motivated when you fill out your diary?

Review your previous year

Of course, you can do this in January too, when we all have a sense of nostalgia for the last year, but I usually find reflecting in January can actually be a bit daunting. You've got a whole twelve months ahead with place cards to signpost another year of getting older. While you've still got another twelve or eighteen months to fill in your academic diary in August, something about it doesn't feel quite so scary.

For the students who read here, you might find reflecting on your previous academic year a lot easier than someone who has been out of school for well over ten years. As graduates or young people in full-time education, we've been conditioned to expect greater advancements, higher responsibility and more challenges with each new academic season. For the readers who are in their late twenties to mid-forties, think back to last autumn and picture where you were before. How much has changed since then? Did some major life events put a shift in your everyday life and personal goals? Do you feel you've grown as a person? How can you develop on that this autumn?

Accept change by planning in advance

Events and scheduled dates will always hang in the balance over something, so if you are academic year planning this month and inputting potential parties, deal with a possible change of plans by pencilling occasions in. If you can't be bothered to erase it all when you're done, you could always use post-it notes instead. This will work in your favour especially if you are working on an eighteen-month calendar when weddings or graduation dates haven't been officially confirmed yet.

If you prefer to start your diaries in January, this is something you can do too - especially if there are dates eight or nine months down the line that you might need to prepare for - but it's very beneficial when starting your diaries in July or August because things will often crop up last minute during the busier, festive season. Overall it makes for a cleaner, tidier agenda. We might have ended up drawing all over our diaries at school, but when it comes to higher education or work we would ideally like to have a more organised feel, right?

Motivation when the nights draw in

Most of us are not keen on the darker mornings and evenings in autumn and winter. At times it can feel exhausting and depressing so we need to rely on our personal drive more than ever. I always find I'm more tired when it starts to get dark earlier and I can imagine some of my Scandinavian readers struggle with this at the best of times. Keeping myself organised throughout the day with a diary helps me to get tasks done during the day to the best of my ability, giving me more time to snuggle up at home when it gets dark outside. There are lots of ways to better manage your mood and your productivity which I'd like to talk about nearer the time, so keep on the lookout over on Instagram to see when those blog posts are published. 

Does anybody else get stuck in with planning in August ready for the next few months ahead? As much as I love the idea of being re-born in spring and flourishing in summer, I love autumn and winter for their family values, shifting colours and hyggelig activities. There's a wealth of pins on my Pinterest account that demonstrate my love for the colder months (among lots of other things), so check them out if you want to get some seasonal inspiration. I also share updates on Instagram and have been trying out the Dayflash app for the last couple of weeks, where I'm intending to showcase lots of slow living themed, wholesome images taken straight from the in-app camera. There's an Android edition coming soon but for iPhone users interested in seeing my unique images, find me under the username @gemmacrane. Don't forget to share your diary love and motivation with me on my social media platforms!

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