Have you ever felt how you organize your time and schedule was not the right fit for you? Maybe you don’t know where to start because of too many options. Or you tried some paper planners or smartphone apps and they didn’t seem to work. Then the question comes up why even use a paper planner with so many great tools on our phones and laptops. Possibly your tried to organize your life all digitally and ended up frustrated? In the battle of digital vs paper, which really best? I suggest the question is which is best for YOU, going digital, using a paper planner or another option. Here is my journey in answering this question and hopefully it will help you as well.
Those close to me will attest I enjoy using my technology to stay organized. I coordinate my family and blog along with my emergency management activities. Several years ago I used a Franklin Covey Day Planner for my tasks with my smartphone for my appointments to corral the chaos of life. I had not initiated the concept of having a Master Task List correctly at this time (so wish I did) and I would rewrite all of ongoing and forwarded tasks daily which seemed cumbersome.
I thought it was logical to go digital for task management, so many experts stated the greater advantages of going digital. I already scanned files and kept many notes digitally. Also I LOVED having my personal and work calendars on my phone at my fingertips. Another plus . . . . being notified automatically of an upcoming meeting decreased the chance of missing appointments. I was positive as a tech savy person I could use technology to master my tasks. I mean, everyone else was going completely digital so I definitely could as well. This began the digital versus paper tug of war with my planning.
At the time I was a full-time Emergency Management Director keeping my to-do list on my computer and smartphone but doing so I never had a good overall view. Using a paper planner I was able to see the grand scheme of my current and upcoming tasks but as I shared before the daily planner was not a working option either. I tried using the Franklin Covey desktop software PlanPlus with a decent amount of success in keeping track of my tasks, especially to-do items generated from my inbox. But once away from my computer my productivity decreased since using a small screen on my smartphone to view my mountain of tasks did not click with me as when using the laptop. Throw in a tornado or chemical spill into the mix and quickly I had to change from focusing on normal daily activities into response and recovery.
Eventually life went back to normal after these events but my to-do list was in multiple places. I had tasks on my phone, notepads, sticky notes and my inbox. I was able to focus on the urgent tasks and deadlines however switching back to a normal schedule required extra unneeded efforts to gather, record and sort through all of my tasks. My system still was not working for me.
It wasn’t until after I left my full-time job and began adjusting to a new schedule that I began revisiting my planning process. I tried many great digital apps to organize my tasks which I will write reviews for you in the future. After again trying another digital app I finally came to the conclusion it may work for others going completely digital, but I am not that person. At least at this time in my life. Then began the hunt for the paper planner, a story for another day.
In the future I will bring you into my weekly planning process I currently use, but suffice to say I figured out I need to plan a week at a time with a paper planner and a digital calendar that fit into my system. So now I have a hybrid of digital and paper for my weekly planning to organize what could be chaos and reduce opportunities of being overwhelmed.
Here is my point for you, it is worth your extra effort to figure out what works for you. We ask others, “what works for you?” and try to imitate while hoping for success. Since, thank goodness, we are all made unique any planning process you set up should always be tweaked to fit who you are. Instead you should ask, “what would work for me?”.
I would encourage you to begin thinking, how do I view my schedule? Do I look at my calendar only one day at a time or do you need to see the whole week? Maybe you need to see the month view and then zoom into your daily agenda.
Now share with me below in the comments. What do you prefer, looking at your schedule in a day, work week or full week view?