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It ain’t heavy, it’s my planner

November 18, 2009

Just when you thought I couldn’t get any nerdier…

In January of last year, I read Getting Things Done. I loved it. I started out great, things slipped, I learned about new tools, things got back on track. I have to say that a lot of what keeps me on track and interested in personal productivity is my wonderful boss who loves this stuff so much he blogs about it. I really find that having an actual system to keep me organized helps me keep my anxiety levels down to almost-normal, and I feel a lot more confident and pulled together.

One thing that has nagged at me and been a pain in my side is the technology factor. I know, there are great apps and gadgets and fancy phones and all that jazz. Except, I pretty much have a Zack Morris phone. And I am in super-budget mode, so buying in iPhone or another smart phone and a data plan is just not a good idea right now.  (I mean, that’s a whole other blog post, because I  love social media, and now do it professionally and my phone can barely handle texts. So, it may actually be a career move.  So, this whole post may be moot in a few months, but for now – not in the cards.)

I am usually in front of a computer. Definitely at work, and most of the time at home (that Farmville isn’t going to harvest itself, you know). So, I use google docs and stickies for lists and it’s been working … okay. But I also spend a lot of time on the subway. And occasionally outside. And sometimes I sit on the couch, not near the computer. Or my phone rings and something comes up. So – I guess I am not in front of the computer that much.

I thought about what to do for awhile. I started keeping a notebook in my bag (ironically, a Google-branded notebook) and was transferring notes and ideas into my Google docs when I got to the computer – but then I would forget. Then it hit me: before the days of the internet and new-fangled phones, people used paper. Lots of paper. With binders and cool little inserts. And so, I went to Target and bought my new best friend.

She doesn’t have a name yet, but I am thinking something like “Hortense.” But I don’t want to be sexist, so I may go with “Horace.” It’s up for debate.

The planner comes with a great insert that helps explain how you should organize yourself. Tasks versus appointments, etc. Since I am a “Getting Things Done” grad, this wasn’t that complicated–but it was nice to have a mini-refresher and reference. And it’s cool that it gives you the space to separate things out.  Like its working with you.

But my favorite part of the planner is all the fun accessories it came with and that I could buy. I mean, there are sheets in there to plan parties (*snort*), space to make lists for books I want to read, movies to watch and even a place to track what I ate that day. And I thought the contacts section would be redundant (my Zack-phone can at least handle that!) but it was nice to be able to write down my doctor’s actual address and the pharmacy store ID number.

Yesterday at a book club I was able to make an appointment for a date weeks in advance without asking to use someone’s laptop, or promising to call after I checked google. I had an idea for work on the subway and I wrote it down.  My mom told me what she wanted for Chanuka and I made a note. I am leading some group work for school (ugh!) and I could effectively set a deadline and tell people by when I needed their input. Score!

It’s only been a week, but I am already adapting pretty well. I would even say “cautiously optimistic.”

What do you use to organize yourself?

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Frank permalink
    November 18, 2009 5:18 pm

    This is kind of like the grown-up version of my Kindergarten teacher stapling notes home to my tie so I wouldn’t forget to show my parents.

  2. Bart permalink
    November 18, 2009 7:08 pm

    Woah, woah, woah. Our book club didn’t meet yesterday. Are you cheating on us with another book club?

    • November 18, 2009 10:23 pm

      Oh Bart – I have plenty of books to go around. We read “We the Living” and one member of our group actually became a commie after reading it. Rand is spinning in her self-serving grave.

  3. November 19, 2009 11:14 am

    I never was able to stick with a pen and paper planner. I don’t know what it was, but I ended up not using it after a week at most. Now I use my phone (blackberry) for everything. I don’t know how I managed before.

  4. November 19, 2009 9:46 pm

    I love pen and paper planners! I don’t have one right now and it makes me sad everytime I spend 10 minutes to type one damn entry into my iPhone and then forget to save it and then have to start all over again… You have just motivated me to go on a journey to Target, I may also have to buy a bigger purse, but I don’t care.

    P.S. I’m coming to New York in the beginning of January to visit my family and if I don’t get to meet Eva, my heart will probably break into a million pieces.

    • November 19, 2009 10:22 pm

      I absolutely cannot have the death of one of my favorite bloggers on my head. I will check her schedule, but it seems that Lady Eva will deign to meet you in January! I may have to come along since she hasn’t really gotten the hang of the subway yet.

  5. Duane permalink
    November 20, 2009 8:25 am

    The stack of papers, notes, cards, and bits of scrawled-on printer rejects on my desk are a fairly good indication of how I choose to roll. Technology is convenient – when it does decide to work, doesn’t get dropped down a sewer grating or is actually in your possession vs. being left on the coffee table at home. For me, it comes down to a certain left/right brain wiring, I think, and personal preference. Designers like gadgets, but they also love the tooth of a certain paper stock. I wouldn’t turn down an iPhone if one was offered to me, but knowing what I do of myself, it would be used more as a phone and widget-keeper, and less as a time-management device.

  6. November 27, 2009 2:57 pm

    OMG great post. Back in high school, and i know I am going to date myself here, but in 1993 I got my first Dayrunner. I was like the ONLY KID who had one of these. Seriously. And people made fun of me! But I didn’t care. It was full! Full of quotes i found, my work schedule, my notes, it was great. And I felt soooo impt. 🙂 and then in college I had one too, but it was a bit different and of course after I graduated I treated myself to a full on leather one. I don’t use them anymore, I keep a running notebook with me, and I save them all….nerd alert I know. But glad to know I am not alone!


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