I have been using a planner since the beginning of my elementary education. Clearly, in Elementary school it was more of a way for my teacher to update my parents on my assignments, and I couldn't really understand the personal benefits of it yet. In high school, when my work load became more complicated by seven classes, which each had a different teacher, my planner became invaluable to me. It was during high school that I began color-coding my planner, which I have kept up to this day.
I am aware that many schools provide each student with a planner, but unfortunately many students neglect the usefulness of such a thing and they become merely a weight at the bottom of their book bag. If you ask your child/student why they didn't turn in this or that assignment and a common response is "I forgot," then it's time to talk to them about the magic of a planner. We are all human, and as such are subject to lapses in our memory. An organized planner is our tool to win the battle against failing memory.
It it has been my experience that a weekly planner, which has individual spaces for each day of the week, is the most effective. I swear by my color-coding method, which merely involves picking up a pack of at least four different colored highlighters.
-Yellow: highlight over anything you write in your planner that involves doing homework
-Orange: use this color to denote when an assignment or project is due
-Red/Pink: use this color to mark a test or presentation
-Blue/Green: this color can be used if you also want to note the time of extracurriculars or non-academic appointments
(Be sure to use highlighters so you can still clearly see what you wrote!)
Color-coding definitely works wonders for more visually-minded people!
Another tip: Once a week, when you can reasonably block out about 20 mins of time, sit down with your child/student and write down everything in the planner for the NEXT week. This way you'll always be ahead!
It also tends to encourage the student to keep up with this method if a parent or other authority figure places importance on organization. Exemplify this importance by filling out their planner with them, or by asking about what's coming up in their schedule this week. This will show them that you're interested in what's going on in their life, and pull their plans to the front of their minds.
Organized time promotes an organized life!