Planning on paper

I've been trying something new since about the second week of January. Instead of just using online tools, such as Google Calendar (where my family calendar is), Outlook (where my work calendar is) and Todoist, for planning, I've added a paper planner to the mix.

It started with this article in the New York Times which led to this article but none of the planners shown was exactly what I wanted. I ended up lucking upon this planner on Amazon.

What I really like is the huge area for tasks in addition to the huge area for your daily schedule. It's like Todoist at the top and Google Calendar/Outlook Calendar at the bottom and that's exactly how I use it. On Friday, I plan the week ahead, looking at my three online tools and I write everything out in pencil, including the reoccurring tasks that I know I typically do on certain days.

I would post a picture of an actual week written out but I don't like sharing work information online and although my work tasks would probably not make any sense to anyone but me I find it's best not to risk it!

Then on Monday, I have a task scheduled at 9AM that is simply called "Review Calendar" and that is when I check everything again and refresh myself after the weekend away.

I ordered the 7x9 size of the planner. I thought 8.5x11 might be a bit too big and 5x8 might be a bit too small and I've been very pleased. I think it is just right.

I did add the tabs. They are from 3M /Post-It and I added one to each monthly calendar although I've found I don't use the month view, just the weekly pages. I also have a yellow Post-It for the week I'm currently in so I can quickly flip to it although that is where I keep my pencil also!

It might sound like redundant work but it only takes about ten minutes to review my schedule and tasks from the three online tools I use and write it all out and it really gets me thinking about the week ahead as a whole. I find that having everything hand-written in one place keeps me quite focused on the big picture. It also allows me to keep my work calendar completely separate from my family calendar without having to worry about missing something.