Paper planner or digital?

Digital paper planner post
Photo courtesy of; graphic designed with

I recently wrote a post about my love/hate for all things digital. I’m in a weird place because I’ve tried to cut back on social media lately and have been trying to not just use my phone mindlessly. But after so happily ditching my digital calendar last fall (except for Outlook at work) and switching to a day planner, I’ve gone back to a digital calendar and am now using the Todoist app as my to-do list.

Last summer, I took on some additional responsibilities at work and by September, I felt I needed to change how I kept track of everything to adjust. I had a lot going on in all aspects of my life. The day planner worked out well because it had a monthly spread and then daily sheets with a section for “to-dos” on one side. I’d fill the monthly spread with personal appointments and then weekly I’d go through and put specific appointments in the daily sheets. I’d then fill the daily sheets with work meetings as they came up. I’d fill in the “to-do” tasks daily for both work and home, as well as put items in ahead of time.

It was working. It was effective. My planner was cute. But it was heavy. There were times I forgot to take it with me. There was the unexpectedly hectic day that I forgot I was supposed to leave work early to take one of the boys to the dentist. I really could have used some sort of notification that day. There were times when I forgot my planner and would make an appointment and hope I didn’t have a conflict. And then I did. An orthodontist appointment sent me over the edge. I was at the orthodontist making an appointment for my son and when I got home, I realized he had a track meet that day and I had to call back to change the appointment. I was annoyed and then promptly went to my abandoned Google Calendar and filled it in for the next few months. The two snafus in a few weeks’ time did me in. I needed to have my calendar in my phone, which is with me all the time.

It took a few days to figure out what I wanted to do about my to-do list, so I did some research and settled on the Todoist app. I used it in tandem with the daily sheets in the planner (that I was only keeping at work at that point) while I got used to it. I’ve used to-do list type apps before and I liked the layout of this one a lot better than many I’ve tried. I can tag tasks to projects, give them a due date, set reminders, see just today’s tasks, see the next 7 days at a time or I can look at all tasks I have in there for each project. I keep it up on my computer all day and I have the app on my phone, too. (Bonus: it also integrates with Google Calendar, so my calendar items also show up in the app.) I do keep a simple pad of paper on my desk at work because it does help if I can glance over and see it and it’s a backup in case something happens to this digital system, but what I need long-term is in the app. I’ve even set up reminders to do laundry so I don’t get so caught up in a busy evening and then forget I wanted to do a load. Now Mount Washmore isn’t taking over my house every Saturday morning. The notifications that I’d been trying to avoid at one point have actually helped.

My biggest takeaway from this? I need to be open to change. Not every system I have ever used, whether it is a calendar or any sort of organizational system, is going to work all the time. Adapting to change is a good thing and sometimes it’s not so much the system, but the mindset. I’ve been more productive lately, despite having more on my calendar, but some of it is a determination to use my time more wisely. The Todoist app just helps me remember what I actually need to accomplish because I’m at a point in my life where I might go into my bedroom to get something, but by the time I cross my doorway, I’ve already forgotten why I went in in the first place. So in the meantime, I embrace what is working and may reevaluate when it appears I need to do something differently to have the results I’m looking for.

What is working for you to stay organized and not miss appointments? Are you a paper planner person or are you all digital all the way? Let me know what works for you!

**This post is not sponsored by Todoist. My opinions are my own and I just wanted to share my experience with this app.

One thought on “Paper planner or digital?

  1. I have to agree! Different things work at different times, for different purposes. I’ve used paper planners mostly, and I change the format of it every year or 2, depending on what kinds of things I need the planner for. I missed a meeting at work because I completely forgot (which never happened before that day), and ever since, I’m a huge fan of digital calendars with customizable and default notifications!

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