A few years ago, I helped my client (I’ll call her Julia), find a paper-based agenda that had all the elements for planning and calendaring that she needed. She wanted a week view with plenty of space for appointments, notes, and tasks and since she writes these appointments, notes and tasks in pencil, the paper also had to be high quality. For the last two and a half years, Julia has been effectively using the Levenger Circa Agenda and been incredibly productive, meeting major goals, as well as keeping up with day-to-day family, business and personal responsibilities and projects. Her paper planner has also been a great tool for ensuring that she took the time she needed to care for herself.
I’m often asked if I think people should make the leap from paper to electronic planners and calendars and I always find myself answering, “It depends.” Just like most of my generation, for years, I used a paper calendar to plan my time and note appointments. My weapon of choice was a Mead® At-A-Glance Monthly Planner. I loved the ritual of buying a new calendar for the coming year and entering the birthdays of my friends and family. And yet, despite my love for paper, I made the leap to an electronic calendar several years ago and can’t imagine going back.
When asked if someone should make the switch, I ask questions about how they currently use their planner, what works, what doesn’t and how comfortable they are with electronic media in general. Although, many of us appreciate the ease of electronic planners, some folks need paper to process and plan. Making the transition is a personal choice and has more to do with which tool supports your way of thinking than whether or not it is an antiquated system. If it works, what’s the point of “fixing” it?
A few months ago, Julia expressed an interest in going electronic. Although she wanted to take advantage of the benefits, the idea of making the switch filled her with anxiety. Julia pushed back our date for making the switch a few times, but last week, I helped her finally make the transition. It took almost 2 hours to create a system for categorizing appointments and tasks and inputting all of the entries from her paper calendar into iCal, as well as, teaching her how to add calendar items and tasks on her iPhone. Once the transfer was complete, Julia was completely relieved. The benefits of effortlessly syncing her calendar and tasks on both the iMac and iPhone, easily deleting or moving entries from one day to another, and the instant accessibility of her calendar wherever she goes are now hers to enjoy. Yet, Julia will still use paper for prioritizing daily tasks, like calls and emails. She’s made the leap, but she’s also keeping what works!
What works for you? Are you into paper? Or electronic? Or do you have a system that is a hybrid of the two? If you are stuck and can’t figure out what kind of system works best for you, give me a call. I’d love to help you find a solution that works for you this year!