Looking for a good planner to start the new year with? Maybe you’ve already got your task and time management system in place and it’s serving you well. If not, here are a few things to consider and some suggestions.
A key component of managing your time well is having the right tools to work with. Some of us are paper people, and some of us love to use technology to manage every aspect of our calendar and to-do list. I fall somewhere in between, managing my calendar digitally, but I’ve found my visual learning style works best using good, old-fashioned paper and pen for my to-do lists and advance planning and goal-setting. Often, my clients have tried and abandoned many different calendars, agendas and planners over the years. While there are certainly some systems that are more effective than others, what is most important is that you find what works best with your learning style, and that you stick with it, at least for several months! Tweaking may be required over time as you work with your time management tools, and you will refine what you do and how you do it as you become more comfortable, but the key is consistent use. If, after a period of very consistent use, you find that your system really isn’t working well for you, then have no hesitation to move on to something else. I have several clients who felt pressured to move their calendar, project- and task-management system to digital formats after years of using paper successfully. While some loved the new technology, others found that their previous methods worked much better for them. I encouraged these folks to return to their older systems without regret, since the goal is increased productivity and not a contest to find the person who has the most toys! If your system is not working well for you, try something new. If you’re working well and productively with what you’ve got – great!
Paper planners have a few advantages over digital. The physical act of writing things down actually helps us to remember things better. Another bonus of a paper planner – especially the calendaring part – is that you can look across several weeks at a time to get a better sense of what’s coming up, particularly if you are a visual learner. One of my favorite paper planners, for both calendar, to-do lists and project management is the Circa system from Levenger. It offers a variety of formats for calendars and other task management issues, and can be custom-designed for your needs.
Digital calendars have the obvious advantage of syncing phone with computer (and you never have to buy a refill!) If you’re receiving many emails for meetings and events with virtual meeting (Zoom, Teams, etc.) links and other information, transferring that information directly to your calendar is usually a simple, one-click-and-you’re-done task. One suggestion for those who are using a paper calendar/planner who receive many virtual meeting links is to mark the event in your calendar, then save the email with the link in a separate email folder called “Events.” It will make it much easier and quicker to find that link when that meeting time comes up, rather than searching and scrolling through your inbox. My favorite calendar and task management tools are Google Calendar and Tasks – so easy to sync – and FREE!
Perhaps, as I do, you like the ease of a digital calendar, but want to be able to physically write down your tasks and project planning. So, use a combination of tools – digital and paper – and find what works best for you as you experiment.
January is coming…
Wouldn’t it be great to have a plan in place to begin the new year with the right tools in place?