Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The pen is mightier than the...electronic

I love all things relating to organization. One of my favorite things has always been my planner - it's so much more than a calendar. On the calendar itself I keep track of appointments, things I've done on particular days, outfits I've worn, notes and other random bits of information. I keep passwords, budgets, quotations, and lists.

Oh the lists.

Lists of things to blog about, things to do, things to learn. After awhile, my planner gets so heavy and so big that I hate to carry it around. I like to use big planners, because at work I can write meeting notes on the daily calendar. Some people leave their planners at work - but then my numbers, notes, and lists don't come home with me. If I bring my big planner home, I either need a bigger purse (which inevitably leads to me throwing loads of crap I don't need into said purse) or bringing another bag entirely, just to carry my planner.

When Palm Pilots came out, I was ecstatic. Here was a way to carry all of my information in one tiny little package. Alas, it didn't work out. I had my phone, my Palm Pilot, plus lots of post-its and other lists I'd write at work. I couldn't stick random things in my Palm Pilot like pay stubs and prescriptions, so those ended up clogging up my purse.

I ended up switching back to a paper planning system. I took a Franklin Covey class and fell in love with the Covey system. Then, I got a Smartphone. Talk about love. A phone, internet, email, calendar, and notepad all in one? Beautiful.

But, there were issues. I missed handwriting things; you can only type so fast on those little keyboards. Plus, I was still writing things on post-its and having to transfer them to the Smartphone. I couldn't jot little notes or thoughts on the calendar of a Smartphone. I liked having email at hand, and my calendar; however, at work you HAVE to use your Outlook calendar, because that's how people schedule meetings with you. Using two calendars is not efficient, and I began forgetting things.

For awhile I had a Blackberry through work - this was a great system. I could use one calendar for all things work and personal, and take it all home with me in one little package. I could type notes and lists quickly on my computer with a regular-sized keyboard, and they synced automatically with my Blackberry.

Then I changed jobs and lost the Blackberry. Bummer. Ever since I lost my Blackberry, I've had a hard time finding a system that works for me. I feel like I'm always using two calendars, which is really just twice the work.

Plus, I truly like hand-writing things. I love office supplies, pens, paper (more on this subject in a future post) - I was still writing things down and transferring them to my Blackberry. I started feeling guilty using a paper planner...couldn't I be so much more efficient using a Smartphone? Multiple functions in one little package? I was saving trees by not using so much paper.

I'm back to using a paper planner now (I found one that's not so bulky and fits in my purse). I miss having alerts automatically pop up, but I can deal with it. I also now have an iPhone. At first, I tried really hard to use the notes and the calendar functions. However, as I find more apps to download, I feel less guilty not using the calendar. The iPhone does so many other things, and combines so many other functions into one tiny little package, that I don't feel like I'm not using it to it's fullest by not using the calendar.

(On a side note, hello, boss, how about my own Blackberry? That would solve all my problems.)

I've started a new job recently, and it's a job where I don't have as many meetings, so it's not a big deal that I'm using two calendars. However, one thing I'm still struggling with is finding a system for notes. When I used a Franklin planner at my old job, I used Daily Pages so that I could put my appointments on the monthly tabs, and then I could record voicemail messages and/or notes from meetings on each daily page. All my notes stayed together, and I wasn't using multiple tablets and losing things all over my desk.

Now that I'm using a smaller paper planner that can fit in my purse, I'm not recording v/m's and meeting notes in my planner. Using the Franklin Planner would be duplicative, so that's out. Lately I find myself using multiple tablets and an awful lot of post-its at work. I feel so unorganized - things are in multiple places and get moved all over my desk. I need a system!

What do you all do at work to keep things organized? I know many of you work in different industries - writers, teachers, insurance folks. Each industry is different, but you still need paper, you still must make notes. How do you keep everything organized?

Please - help!! Leave me a comment, send me an email, take a picture of your desk (seriously, I'd love to see a picture of your desks...).


  1. So now you're keeping an iPhone and a paper planner? I can't have two... it messes me up and I forget things. I already forget things. I totally agree about the paper benefits though--it's not the same to jot something down or add something in to an electronic device. Hmm... that's all I have to say about that. I need to think about it some more.

  2. Many people still use paper with their electronic device. You can still use the Franklin Planner just pick a smaller size that will fit in your purse along with all of the necessities. Many women pick the Compact size for this reason or a Classic size with 1" or 3/4" rings. Another solution is to use your iPhone for appointments and Better Than a Yellow Pad for tasks and notes. Very slim system and very portable.

  3. If you really liked having a Blackberry, why didn't you just get one of your own rather than getting an iPhone? It would have been less expensive.


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