Please note: This article was written and published several years ago and may no longer be accurate.
Click here to view my more recent posts!
It is crucial to start the semester strong with a consistent method of tracking assignments—whether you choose to do this via paper planner or using technology. If you’re leaning toward techno-organization, my due date spreadsheet might be exactly what you need to boost your grades and alleviate your stress!
Set up your due date spreadsheet as you go! Download your free .DOCX file below, and follow along with this post!
Materials needed: Syllabi for all classes, word processor (Microsoft Word or equivalent)
How to Set Up Your Spreadsheet:
1. Create your spreadsheet in your word processor.
You can download the spreadsheet for free, or set up a table in Microsoft Word yourself. Simply label the month, create a 4-column table with many rows (you can go back and add rows later if needed), and adjust the columns to the length that you need!
Side note: I chose not to use Excel because it doesn’t make as much sense to me, and I love being able to easily highlight text and strikethrough, but if you prefer to use that software, be my guest!
2. Make a key for course names.
For each of the classes that you’ll have homework, assign a highlight color (for fun and ease of reading) and a shortened/abbreviated name (to save space). Note both in the key so you don’t get scrambled later!
3. Input due dates.
Using your syllabus for each class, find the due date of each assignment and record it in your spreadsheet.
The best way to do this, I’ve found, is to do go through each syllabus one-by-one, completing each full class one at a time. To start, I put the date due in numbers on the left (I like to include the day of the week, also; M=Monday, etc.).
Then, in the next column, insert the abbreviated class name, highlighted in the correct color.
The next column over houses the title of the actual assignment, which may need to be shortened to fit in the table—but be mindful that you’ll need to be able to decipher your shortened name later!
On the far right, I label what type of assignment it is (RD=reading, HW=homework, EX=exam, etc.), so I know how urgent it is, and so I can keep track of what needs physical work, and what just needs to be studied.
Using Your Spreadsheet:
Now that it’s all set up, your spreadsheet is now ready to act as a planner!
Option 1: Print it out!
This spreadsheet is made to be printed and hung on your dorm wall, so you can check it every day to make sure you’re staying on top of things—but you can even carry it around in a folder as a planner, if you like! Just be sure to mark through every assignment you’ve already completed so you can stay on track.
Option 2: Keep it on your desktop for easy access.
I find that a lot of professors change their due dates around throughout the semester, so I like to keep my spreadsheet editable by leaving it on my computer. This way, I can add or change assignments at any time, and I can keep track of what I’ve completed by striking through assignments, or even by deleting the entire row!
Option 3: Share it on Google Docs or another cloud-based software so you always have it handy.
If you like to use a planner, but want to use this spreadsheet as a reference or a back-up, keeping it accessible from multiple devices might be just right for you! Simply pull it up whenever you need to double check something, that way you won’t have to sift through your entire syllabus for one assignment.
A due date spreadsheet can be used in so many ways, and it’s so helpful to keep you organized and on top of things in college (or even in high school). Let me know how you have been (or plan to be) using your spreadsheet in the comments!