We’ve been pretty heavy on the productivity mindset the past couple of weeks so we wanted to switch it up with some practical productivity tools you can use. This week, it’s the 7-day planner.
Are paper planners helpful? Maybe.
Cris recently bought a 30-Day commitment planner but only used it for 2 weeks (who HASN’T done that before?). This made her recall the words of renowned psychologist, Ari Tuckman, who said, “Planners should only have 6 pages because on the 7th day everybody forgets to go back.” Pretty accurate for this situation. In Cris’ defense, she did use it more than 7 days AND bought tons of stickers that she can no longer find. She gave it a good go.
This made us both realize that paper planners really draw you in with their pretty designs and vibrant colors so you buy the accessories to match, making you even more excited. But, then you have to always remember to take the planner with you. As Deb says, this is the downfall because you rushed out the house and now you don’t know where you’re supposed to be or what time you should be there, so now you’re off track.
Cris combats this problem by supplementing her paper addiction (yes, addiction) with her Google calendar. However, if Google crashes, it’ll be another episode of Cris’ Terrible No Good Very Bad Day.
Although Cris doesn’t use the paper planner after the first couple weeks, she notes that having one makes her feel productive. It’s an ingrained belief she’s had since she was younger and she even had a Franklin planner all through college. But by the time September rolls around and she still hasn’t used it, it goes in the shred bin. Then, in December, she does it all over again just like everyone else who’s excited for the New Year.
What to do if you aren’t using your paper planner
There are a few things to think about if your paper planner isn’t working for you. First, you might have to:
- Accept. For folks who are having the same problem, Cris recommends normalizing the fact you may not use the planner for very long or consistently. It doesn’t necessarily need to be used everyday, it may just be helpful in stressful situations to write everything down on paper. Or, you can stop buying them altogether and save some money. You can then use that money on a tool that actually works.
- Aesthetics. If you still can’t let it go, Deb suggests that you ask yourself if you really love the paper. Is it the smell of the book? Is it the pretty pages? Because you might want the aesthetics of the planner instead of the functionality. If that’s the case, consider using a notebook or journal that you like to write in but use a digital planner for keeping you on schedule.
- Awareness. Have you thought about why you stopped using your paper calendar? Was it too complicated to keep up with? Were the pages not set up in a way that you liked? It is possible that you may be buying a planner that just doesn’t work for you.
On the other hand, Deb also recommends figuring out why you may be averse to using a digital planner. Long learning curve? Not sure which one to use? Or just simply don’t like tech tools? Once you know what the reason is, you can start working on finding the best solution.
That said, there are many digital options out there that still get the job done. Our favorite is Google Calendar.
It can be used to make multiple calendars that you can color coordinate. You can also schedule a meeting with Google Meet directly from the calendar, and you can use the “Find a time” feature to set up a meeting with someone you are sharing a calendar with. Google Calendar also integrates with Evernote now, which is one of Deb’s favorite tech tools.
What matters is finding something that is easy to manage and keeps track of your schedule. If it’s Microsoft Outlook, keep doing what you’re doing. If it’s not, keep looking until you find the right one.
Consistently use your planner
If you really can’t let go of the paper, be on the lookout for a Productivity Lovers Planner! Until then, try to leave yourself reminders not to forget your planner. Deb recommends that you find clever ways to make sure that you always have it with you — and therefore will consistently use it.
Cris notes that it’s sometimes harder for clients with ADHD to keep track of their planners but, on the other hand, she has several that are amazing at it! These people are also very intentional about keeping the planner in the same spot and creating a system around using it. The key is to develop really good habits around your productivity tool of choice and make it work for you.
Paper planners also have the benefit of never malfunctioning like a tech tool. If the internet was down for a day, Google calendar would be useless but you could still check your planner!
Despite this, we productivity lovers would still choose a digital calendar over a physical planner.
Which would you choose? Connect with us on social media and let us know!
Free Download: Planner Resource List
Still on a search for the perfect planner? Download our list of planners mentioned in this episode plus a few more! Thanks for listening!