How to Use Digital and Paper Planning Tools Together
There are so many ways to structure daily planning and it really depends on the individual on what works best. Personally I’ve always loved paper planning tools and being able to physically write down important dates and to do lists. However in the digital age there are so many resources that can make life easier that I’ve integrated both types into my daily planning. So now I have the best of both worlds & am able to keep on top of everything in my business & personal life as best I can. I thought I’d share what works for me and maybe some of these tips will work for you too!
In the digital realm I mostly use Google Calendar & Trello planning tools for all of my tracking needs on a day to day basis. I know there are tons of other systems, apps, websites and everything out there but these two work well for me without becoming too overwhelming.
There are a lot of great features in using Google Calendar especially since I use a lot of other Google products and they integrate well together. The main reason I use this for tracking my time is that I am able to easily share and invite people to specific appointments and events. I also am able to have multiple calendars which is useful for coordinating my work and personal life. On a day to day basis I usually have my Google Calendar up and I add events as they come up. It’s super easy plus I can also add events from emails too which saves time overall and then depending on the event I can share it with others or add it to Trello or anywhere else it needs to be.
Have i talked about Trello enough yet?! (like here & here & here) I don't think so, especially since I think Trello is one of the best planning tools! Here's my Trello referral link if you're interested in trying it out!
In Trello I use mostly the ‘My Week’ and ‘Editorial Calendar’ boards daily. This way I am able to see one week at a time and have manageable to do lists. I also add in some personal details if events are during the working hours. Overall this gives me a good snapshot of what is going on in my world.
At the beginning of each week I add everything to Trello from my Google Calendar and paper planner In order to set myself up for success. So if I have a meeting scheduled or a deliverable due I will copy it from my Google Calendar to my Trello board and I'm good to go!
Even though I have a great digital system I still love using paper! Over the years I’ve gone through countless planners and notebooks to see what works best and what I consistently use. Because no matter how beautiful a planner is if I don’t use it consistently then it’s not worth it to me. The planner I have landed on and have used for over 4 years now is from InkWell Press. Along with this planner I also use various notebooks that I keep with me most times for notes & lists.
InkWell Press LiveWell Planner
I love pretty much everything about this planner and it’s everything I would’ve put into a planner if I designed one myself! There are so many great features that keep me uber organized the whole year plus there are a lot of additional features I have not seen in other planners. Here is my referral link for these amazing planners if you want to check them out!
I use this page to track all birthdays and anniversaries for the whole year and then each month I add these dates to the monthly calendar view so I never miss an important date. I also add ones that I have actions on to my Google Calendar so I can have a digital reminder of something I need to do, like mail a birthday card out!
Monthly Mission Board
These are probably some of my favorite pages in the planner. It forces me to sit down at the beginning of each month away from the computer and really think about what I my monthly focus to be in various categories. I use these pages as a mix between business & personal topics.
I love all the extra blank pages scattered throughout the planner. One of my favorite uses for these pages is for a brain dump list! It’s basically where I just start writing out everything on my mind, it can be work to dos, things coming up in my personal life, or big ideas. This really helps clear out my mind and then I have a list to review and see if anything needs to be added to actionable lists. Plus I can go back to it at later dates to see if I need to revisit any items. Personally I do these every few weeks and depending on how busy or stressed I get I can do them more frequently if needed!
The last little bit of my of my planning strategy are notebooks! I always have a notebook with me, usually something small that I can throw in my purse. I use them to keep a running to do list of odds ‘n ends plus any ideas I think of while I’m out and about. I’ve used apps in the past to keep lists of these things but I always go back to using my notebook & pen. Plus it’s nice to not have to rely on my phone for every little detail.
So there you have it, those are the main planning tools I use for all of my planning. Also here’s a fun little flowchart detailing them and how they are all interconnected! It’s really not too complicated and works well for me. Plus I’m all about balance so it’s good to not be completely tied to my computer and phone 24/7.