Employed for Good

A nonprofit professional's take on doing well while doing good.

Back to Paper: My Trial with a Written Planner

*Note: the following is NOT an advertisement. Just a gal, sharing thoughts on a planner.

I take pride in being organized at work. Not only do I feel more efficient, but I enjoy building trackers and project plans to stay on task and get things done.

Lately though, as I’ve taken on more responsibility, I’ve been feeling scrambled. Not only has my workload increased, but the scope of work is now beyond my simple to-do system. What I’ve got just isn’t working for me, and I’m really feeling the pressure.

So I’m trying something different and switching to paper.

While at Barnes & Noble the other day, I decided to browse the planner section. I’m a sucker for bookstores and pretty notebooks, but I find written planners tough to stick with. The format usually doesn’t work for what I need, and I gave up years ago after losing my last prized planner at a college party. (No, the party was definitely not worth it!)

But after hearing another blogger rave about her planner, and for valid reasons, my curiosity was piqued. I opened my mind to the idea, saw this at the store, and decided to give it a shot.

Meet the little book who is, hopefully, going to help me get my life in order.

I’m trying the transition to paper for a few reasons:

• I don’t like online calendaring. It’s necessary for meetings, but other than that, I don’t enjoy putting my schedule onto any sort of app . I like to take my work offline as much as possible.

• I don’t have my personal and work calendars linked. Maybe this is something I should do, but I just haven’t gotten around to it – and it means I’ll miss things if they’re on one calendar and not the other!

• I like to write things down, and to-do lists just aren’t enough. I need to be able to tie tasks to dates or times, otherwise they fall to the wayside.

What I really like about this planner, aside from the fact that it’s a convenient size for lugging around and taking notes, is the fact that it’s broken apart by the hour. Most planners I’ve seen usually have the calendar view, or a limited week view that only leaves room for to-do lists. This planner allows me to take my Google Calendar off the internet, which convinced me to spend the $20 that it was worth.

Plus, it looks nice. That mattered to me too.

After a few weeks of using it, I’ll say I do like the new format. That little book goes with me EVERYWHERE, and even though I sometimes can’t read my own handwriting, it feels like I have a better handle on my weeks. I open it as soon as I arrive at my desk, and close it at the end of each day.

The only downside is the double-work. I have to carry over meetings from my gmail calendar into the planner, in order to get the most use out of it. But no system is perfect, and that part only takes me a few minutes. (I’m also mildly paranoid that I’m going to damage it, so I keep it in a folder inside my purse.)

There are a gazillion online apps for managing your work and personal life. I’ve also recently learned that there is a black hole of online planner templates, like these ones on Pinterest. Maybe in the next year, I’ll design my own planner so that it can be exactly what I want. *Fights the urge to do this right this second!*

Till then, I look forward to seeing how long this little book lasts.

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