Thoughts and tips on using a paper planner

I’m a big proponent of using a paper planner over a digital planner. Here’s why.

Planner pagesThe Internet
When you log into an e-planner, you face all the time sucking temptations of the web: checking email, surfing YouTube, reading Facebook or Instagram posts, and, and, and… If you are trying to get organized for the day – or keep organized during the day, the last thing you need is a temptation to lose focus.

Working in a quiet place of your choice
You may keep a paper planner at your desk – or you may work in a quiet place away from your desk. Wherever it works best for you to plan and focus, a paper planner goes with you. No electricity or log-in required!

Re-writing a task on a new day is a great incentive to get it done
You are using a planner to spend your time wisely. And doesn’t it waste time to write something down over and over rather than cutting and pasting an un-checked task to a new page in an e-journal? Yes, it does waste time – which is the perfect motivation to get that task done. How many times can you write down that thing you really don’t want to do? Just do it – or give it a big “X” and get it out of your planner.

A paper planner is a great reference
I have planners going back to the 1980s. I don’t often refer back to them but on a few occasions have had to find call notes from a previous year, or need to refer back to important details of something that happened on a specific day and time. A paper planner gives you a permanent log of what happened when. And the technology never changes. You have the book filed away. The facts are there when you need them.

What about using a digital calendar?
I’ll admit I’ve been experimenting posting to Google Calendar. This breaks my cardinal rule to “only use one calendar” but I’ve found that posting “shared” dates in Google works well for meetings with outside groups – and even for family vacations and dinner with friends. Everything I’m working on goes in my paper calendar. Events that involve others (and me) also go in my e-calendar. So far, it’s working without taking up a lot of time.

Tips on keeping your planner in order
I’m a geek about using pencil on my calendar so I can erase events that have been canceled. And I’m a geek about using one color of ink (black) in my daily planning pages. The goal for both obsessions is to make my calendar and planner easy to read and easy to skim.

And now a moment of Organizational Zen from the gorgeous coast of Maine. Yum.

Joe Pieweed sunset

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