16 Oct Paper Planner Or Digital Diary? How To Choose. People ask such great questions on my Facebook page. Here’s an extract from a recent one from Jennifer: I do a lot of long term planning and while the paper planner works just fine there are also advantages to using a digital planner such as outlook or calendar (for mac). Right now I get frustrated as I try to manage both and it doesn’t always work well. Any suggestions or advise would be so appreciated! I think most people who like to be organized have wondered the same thing. The perfect diary planner system – whether digital, paper, or a combination – will depend on the person. Not only that, but the ideal solution may change over time with different life situations and preferences. But in choosing among the diary and planner options, these 2 suggestions will help. Diaries And Planners: Choosing Between Paper And Digital 1. Use One System For All Your Appointments, Reminders, And Contacts One definite no-no of diary systems is to use multiple places to record dates and appointments. Instead, use one place to record everything specific – such as appointments, reminders, and contacts. When everything is smooth sailing you might be fine with double-entering or double-checking. But when life is most hectic, things will fall through the cracks. We’ve all been there, right? So which one system should you use? Paper diaries can have a lovely visual pleasure to them, and many people just enjoy the way they feel. Digital diaries offer many advantages over paper, including: Your address book and phone are integrated, so calling people and recognizing callers is easy You can (and definitely should) take advantage of the cheap and easy cloud-based back-ups now available, so that losing your diary doesn’t mean losing all your info Many events (including Facebook and Eventbrite) give you the option of downloading the event to your digital diary You can share calendars online with others if you want to Regularly occurring information (birthdays, anniversaries, exercise sessions) can be input once as recurring entries, saving you time. Whether you prefer the tactile stimulation of a paper diary or the compact effectiveness of technology, stick to one place for all your appointments, reminders, and contacts. 2. Use Worksheets And Notebooks For Planning Writing is great for thinking and strategizing – planning, brainstorming, mapping, etc. You can feel unfettered and be unstructured. You can let loose your creativity. You can sketch, list, write out long explorations, or scribble short prompts. Writing by hand might even let you access a subconscious part of your brain that typing bypasses. It’s worth experimenting and seeing what you discover. What I Use Digital Calendar, Reminders, Notes, And Contacts To organize my schedule I use the Week Calendar app on my iPhone, which works beautifully with Calendar on my Mac. I color-code different calendars (business, personal, social, gym) to see my life balance at a glance. To organize my general to-dos, ideas, and notes I use Reminders and Notes, a system that really boosts my personal organization and productivity. And for my address book I use Contacts. Everything seamlessly and instantly updates and backs up via iCloud across my iPhone, desktop Mac, and notebook Air. Paper Worksheets And Notebooks I use Moleskine notebooks for free-form, big-picture stuff – planning projects, exploring ideas, and workshopping problems or obstacles. I love having a pen in my hand and I definitely unlock greater creativity this way. For planning and workshopping specific goals I love to use interactive planning worksheets (time management, business & marketing, home organization, and life management). They help me to structure my thinking and to feel organized and focussed. Because I associate planning with a pen, I print them out; but you could type, save, and edit them on your computer if you preferred. And for daily focus on moving toward my goals and getting my top priorities completed, I use the Goals & Priorities Diary. It helps me structure my goals into tasks and to get these important tasks done, day after day. What About You? What do you use for your schedule? And for planning? Do you use paper, technology, or a combination of both? Do you have any tips to share? Michele | Get Organized Gal Michele is into writing, books, simplicity, love, TV, productivity, and staying thin in a world of chocolate. Facebook Round-Up: Tips, Discussion, Inspiration Business & Career Articles
27 thoughts on “Paper Planner Or Digital Diary? How To Choose.”
I use both paper and digital. I have iCal remind me of important events, but I also use the bullet journal method to write down other things I want to keep track of. I use composition notebooks for tasks, journaling, budgeting and brainstorming, with essential numbers and info backed up in them for the times when I need it and my computer is dead or I don’t have Internet access or whatever.
Since I don’t want my private thoughts to be lost, I type out journal entries on my phone while on the go in a simple plain text file, which gets printed out and pasted into my notebook at the end of the day. That way I can journal privately without someone picking up my journal and reading it. This allows me to journal, paste interesting things into my journals to save and keep a record of my progress that I can refer back to easily. It isn’t perfect but it works.
Oh my gosh, this has been another big stumbling block for me. I admit that for a long time I’ve thought, “If I can just find the perfect system then I’ll be more organized and productive”. So, that hasn’t happened yet. I’ve decided that a combination of digital and paper will work best for me, and I just need to keep it simple. I tend to get bogged down in the system, which then keeps me from actually getting my tasks completed. I use ICal, Contacts, and Reminders for my daily/weekly schedule and to-dos, and that’s been working, so I’ll keep doing that. But I’ve found that digital systems haven’t been working very well for me with regard to long term projects and planning. So, I’m looking forward to trying out the products included with Get Organized Wizard to help me in those areas.
I am doing research for a paper for school. I am looking to find out what people like to use for managing their time digital or paper
Did that make sense Kyle xxx
I’m looking for a digit notebook for appointments reminders numbers small enough to put in my bag but not tiny without internet anyone help separate to anything that connects am I making sense?
I love my organiser. I’m rather scatterbrained, so it really helps to have everything in one diary that’s big enough to hold invitations, etc, to make sure they get written in. But it’s too bulky to carry around with me, so I use the Memo function on my phone to make notes of things that have to go into the diary.
First of all, I love your FB page! We are kindred spirits it seems! I use my Outlook calendar for all appointments; reminders & contacts & use Excel on my laptop for Christmas lists. I use Awesome Notes iPhone app for all my To Do Lists. I’m starting to wonder if I should move my To Do Lists to the laptop so as to all be in the same place. Thank you for any input you may have. 🙂
Just started thinking about making that decision before I go buy a new diary for January. Paper or digital….I can’t decide. I’ve been using Google calendar but am still won over by the fact my paper diary will never run out of batteries
I like digital! I use iCal and Reminders for all the date based stuff, Contacts for my peeps, and Circus Ponies NoteBooks for all my planning, noodling and tasks lists. They all work together too, a bonus. I think better on a keyboard, probably because I think way faster than I (hand) write but I can type like the wind 🙂 CP NoteBook has a learning curve but once you get the hang of it, you can do anything with them.
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I use a combination of Google Cloud and a blank paper planner and note taker called “The Uncalendar”. I write everything down each day as I consult my SmartPhone then xfer the information and notes as needed at the end of every day. I no longer use the icloud….Google is better and more universal.
My group will be using pocket size calendar; name and phone numbers in their cell phones. If they have a computer they can put it on their digital calendar at home.
If you have problems doing digital and paper choose the one that is best for you. Discontinue doing one until you have the confidence to do both.
I use both a digital and paper form. My husband started a digital calendar so that I always know what is on his schedule. In turn, he requested that I keep my schedule on the digital calendar. However, I like using a book that has a calendar and weekly pages. While I started this many, many years ago, I have been keeping them since I remarried 10 years ago. The calendar has become more like a diary which I have gone back to for photo info, to check who was invited or what food was prepared, etc.
I think there are many of us, like you Janet, who use both. I absolutely love technology, but there’s nothing like pen and paper for brainstorming, planning, stuff like that.
I am a notebook and stationery junkie so love writing things in my diary. In fact I just bought my 2013 diary on the weekend. I use my diary and carry it where possible but I tend to put items into my iphone diary because I always carry that with me. I love my notebooks for jotting down ideas, menu plans, blog plans etc.
I agree Leanne – there’s nothing like writing for thinking and planning!
Hello! It’s been so long since I have opened my life organzizer from 2011. I thought I would this morning and then I searched your website. Thank you for the free download on organizing and I look forward to future writings. I use google calendar to help me organize. I have each family member with their own color coded calendar so I can list work schedules, gym schedules, homework due dates, cleaning schedules, family meal plans, etc. There are unlimited calendars I can create. On the to do lists, I have included future “wanna do” things, rare to do deadlines, even a Thanksgiving countdown meal preparation guide. I like that the possibilities are really limited by my own thinking. I have a google app on my iphone so it is accessable out of the house too. I like paper systems because I can design what I need to include, but usually find myself incorporating what works on paper to a digital system since it’s cleaner and easier to maintain neatness and organization. I’ve created a paper system for managing my children’s behavior and have tried digital ones as well. I have yet to find a good digital system for recording the token economy which works best for managing privileges for my children.
At work I use the calendar on Outlook for all meetings, reminders, diary appointments etc; and I handwrite my to-do lists. I need to have something in front of me that I see otherwise I will temporarily forget about it. I tried using the ‘Tasks’ within Outlook but that didn’t work for me at all – I didn’t get into the habit of looking in there and it didn’t please me when I did remember! But everyone else in the organisation I work for uses Outlook, so I need to be on the same system as them in that respect.
At home, or rather, for my personal life, then I use my Filofax. I like to keep my work life and my personal life separate, which for the whole works well. Stuff like annual leave I enjoy writing into both diaries (typing into Outlook; hand writing into my Filofax). But it isn’t often my 2 worlds have to cross over.
I love making lists, so I do that in all areas of my life. And I love stationery, so notebooks and things like that make me very happy. I don’t think I could ever go completely online for it all.
For big plans / projects then I use MindMeister.com to create mind maps. For that particular site, I have the app (Android) on my phone as well, so that I can update it when I’m at work or at home.
But I’m happiest when sitting with a notepad and a pen (purple ink of course!) making lists, writing down ideas, and doodling stuff. That’s when I feel most creative and most like ‘me’.
This is great Nikki – you’ve found what works for you and picked the best of each system for your needs. Totally agree about stationery and notebooks – they make me happy too! 🙂
I appreciate such a great comprehensive explanation. I use both, but love my paper planner and a blank sheet of paper at the beginning of the day to map out commitments that come up suddenly.
Thanks! I think it’s a shame when people think they have to use one system for everything. Each offers something helpful. 🙂
I’ve really started getting more use out of my iPhone now that it syncs much more easily with my laptop. I like using the Notepad for lists.
I agree Allie. Since the whole iCloud syncing got so smart I like the apps a lot more.
Thanks Michele for the wonderful post and response! My hesitation towards technology PDA’s comes from the fact that older generations of hardware/software were not so reliable and did not back up in the event of an catastrophe such as forgetting to replace the batteries in my old Palm Pilot from the 90’s; if I had a dollar for every time that happened! I need to trust my iCloud! I too use the same programs on my mac, iPhone and iPad!
When I have used my paper planner I noticed that the physical act of writing down a reminder or appointment also helps me to remember it. I also like the nostalgia of it; I still have a few paper planners from college that I chuckle at every so often, almost like a diary of what my semesters at school were like! Now there are digital journal Apps and of course blogs!
I am going to try going digital for a week, than two, and see how I do! Thanks again for the wonderful tips and sharing your own experiences!
My absolute pleasure, Jennifer. Thank YOU for giving me the impetus to write that post! 🙂