3 Tips for Stepping Up Your Color Coding Game

I’ve talked a little about the importance of using color, but I cannot stress enough how crucial color coding truly is. You can use it everywhere, and it makes your life so much easier which is always a good thing.

The beautiful thing about color coding is that you can be as specific or as general as you want, while still being personalized and unique. The same system won’t work for everyone, so experiment with different color combinations and techniques. It might take a little bit to figure out exactly what works for you personally, but trust me…it’s worth it.

My system works like this:

I choose a color for each class and I use coordinating notebooks and folders for each class. I also try to use corresponding dry erase markers and pens on my calendar and in my planner. For my book tabs, I use the same color throughout the book, and I usually try to match it with the class color.

Washi tape

If you can’t find notebooks and folders and tabs in the right colors, then use washi tape! Get neutral colored notebooks and folders so that the tape stands out. Put a solid, colorful strip on the outside of folders, down the spine of books, on the cover of notebooks, or on anything else that you want to color code. Washi tape is also great for labeling your things, for which I use metallic washi tape. This method is helpful if you want to reuse notebooks and folders next semester because then you can just change the color of the washi tape.

Washi Tape

Here are some basic steps:

  1. Be consistent. This is key. Don’t switch colors for your calculus class halfway through the semester. Don’t start off with a system and then give up after a few months because you’ll just end up confusing yourself.


  1. Choose colors that you like. This might seem obvious but it’s a legitimate point. I never buy bright red notebooks because I hate the way they look. I’m not even sure why I don’t like bright red notebooks, but I do know I wouldn’t enjoy taking notes in said notebooks so I don’t buy them.


  1. Choose your colors carefully. That pastel patterned notebook is really pretty, but if you think you’ll feel a little self-conscious using it in your Econ class that is 85% male, then go for something more neutral like navy blue or maroon. (Or go right ahead and use the pastel one because it’s 2017 and you do you).

For more examples of color coding, check out Yes, You Need More Than One Calendar.


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