It may be because I am of “a certain age” but I freely admit that I love my personal planner aka hard copy calendar. I do use Google Calendar on a daily basis but everyday I use my personal planner to track my daily to-dos. At the beginning of every month I write down all known appointments, out-of-office events, family obligations, vacations and standing client calls. This gives me a snapshot of what I have going on and what downtime I can plan for. Notice that I said, “downtime I can plan for.” Yes, you have to plan downtime or chances are it will not happen.
An event I look forward to at the end of each year is shopping for my new planner. I love deciding on the size, style and cover art. I look forward to those pristine pages and then seeing them filled up as the year goes on — it shows my productivity and my personal and business growth and helps with those times when I wonder, “what have I done this year.”
Here are the benefits I think any entrepreneur, or for that matter, any human can reap from using a personal planner rather than relying on slips of paper or their memory:
- Technology is great and I love, and own, myriad gadgets, but what happens if: your battery dies, you have no connection to the Internet, or it gets lost or stolen? While it’s unlikely that there would be a total tech meltdown that would prevent you from accessing your information, for me, having access to phone numbers, addresses for upcoming meetings and lists of meetings simply helps me rest easier.
- Using a planner means you have all of your information in one place. If you’re like me you collect receipts during the week and if I didn’t have a planner they would end up in the bottom of my purse. With my planner, I have a designated space to put my weekly receipts until I have time to snap a pic and put them into my Evernote program and viola bookkeeping task accomplished.
- My planner gives me a history of weeks or months past. Do I remember the last time Henrietta had a laser appointment on her knee? No, but I can flip through my planner and easily find it. Yes, I could scroll through my Google calendar, but frankly the paper planner is easier, I think.
- With your planner it’s easy to plan well in advance. Again, yes you can do this electronically, but having access to the planner and your schedule all in one place, right in front of you makes it easier to prevent overbooking or double-booking yourself.
- I use my planner to capture blog post ideas. It doubles as my stand in editorial calendar for those times when an idea strikes and I am not in front of the computer – that happens more often than not.
- You can write your passwords in your planner. If having any of your accounts hacked is a concern, it may be best to store your passwords offline. Even if you use a password program such as LastPass or Dashlane you still need a master password and it should be long and virtually impossible to remember and if that’s the case, you need to write it down and where better than your planner?
- Use your planner to jot down those items that don’t quite fit into your schedule, but that you don’t want to forget. I use sticky notes and add them onto a calendar page to keep track of them. I have a sticky note for: blog ideas, my shopping list, random thoughts I may have on a business plan or idea or items I want to talk with a colleague about.
I also like that my planner allows me to put in a friend’s birthday and then I see it at the beginning of the month, can purchase a card and then drop it in the mail. If I wait for the Facebook reminder of a birthday, it is the day of and I am late. Gack!
How do you organize your day and your life? Do you use paper or electronic calendars? I’d love to know in the comments below!
Do you need help getting control of your day? If you find yourself operating in chaos, you need to learn to embrace it, make it work for you and then you can regain control. If you need help “embracing your chaos” give me a call!