Staying Organized with an Old-Fashioned Paper Planner

Self on 12.12.12
Contributing Writer bio

Photo: seanmcgrath/Creative Commons

Three years ago, I gave up on trying to organize my life with technology. My cell phone calendar wasn’t efficient enough; I wasted time trying to enter dates and times and locations, and hated having to abbreviate my thoughts. I tried iCal on my Mac but that was just inconvenient when I wasn’t around my laptop, or if I had to start it up just to check a single detail. The “random bits of paper everywhere” method was also a failure and needs no further explanation. I realized something had to change because I was stressed out and disorganized.

That’s when I splurged on my first-ever Moleskine planner. It was a beautifully old-fashioned, paper notebook-style planner, with a weekly layout on one side and a lined page for notes on the other. I chose a bright red one that would be easy to find in my purse. Soon it was full of crucial information that had previously been scattered throughout my house. For the first time in months, I felt relaxed and confident that I could manage the many demands of my life at that time. I’ve never looked back. Every December, I look forward to the special ritual of opening up my brand new planner -- always red -- and filling out the birthdays, holidays, and events that will take place the next year. There are, however, lots of reasons why I love my planner beyond being organized:

  1. There’s no battery to recharge and pens are available everywhere. It’s lightweight and versatile, with pages for my preschooler to scribble if he’s bored.
  2. I feel more polite pulling out my planner to scribble a note than disconnecting from a conversation for the time it takes to fight with my phone. (Maybe some of you are better at it than I was, but I always found it very disruptive.)
  3. Moleskine products are high quality and worth the extra pennies. The paper feels sturdy and silky and doesn’t bleed; the hard cover is durable. The planner comes with colourful stickers to mark special occasions.
  4. It’s a conversation starter. People are always surprised to see my planner come out and most say they want one, too. (I think everyone’s fed up with the impracticality of phone calendars.)
  5. My collection of past planners is an instant collection of diaries. Without any extra effort, I essentially have a complete record of everything I’ve done for the past three years.

So if you’re looking for an alternative way to stay organized in 2013, give a good old paper planner a try. I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how effective it is.

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