Monday, February 22, 2016

Peace Out, Paper!

Anybody else's Instagram feed always filled with perfectly posed planner photos like this? No? Just me? Okay. Then feel free to move along now.

If you are like me, and this is what your Insta feed looks like constantly, then you probably have a snazzy agenda that you swear by, amiright? Well, I'm here to tell you that it's all a lie. I, too, was once a believer in the importance of a beautiful paper planner. But I have been forever changed.

After many, many years being a complete slave to a paper planner, I've officially ditched it. And I never thought I'd see the day that happened. I was a firm believer that the paper planner was completely necessary to my life. Until I finally realized that, in reality, I was actually wasting my time writing things down when I already had them in my Google Calendar. Thereby wasting time instead of saving it- I think that's the completely opposite thing a planner is supposed to do.  

So in 2016, I made the decision to ditch the paper planner completely. I still carry around a small notebook to take notes in meetings and write to-do lists when I enter full-blown panic mode, but I no longer spend an hour each week ever-so-neatly writing down to-do lists and appointments... Only for me to not even reference it later in the week. 

I'd basically already switched to going all-digital, but was convinced by all those in Bloglandia and Instagram that I was supposed to have a pretty planner that was perfectly organized and color-coded and it was supposed to be "MY ENTIRE LIFE!" I used to declare all of these things as truth until I truly realized how much time I was spending worrying about making sure my planner was perfect. Which is completely ridiculous and counterintuitive.

I also constantly changed the type of planner I was using. Sometimes a planner didn't even make through a whole year before I traded that bad boy in for a different one. The one I ditched the quickest was probably my Simplified Planner. I think that thing caused me more stress than anything else. I also had very high standards for my planners. And I honestly never found one that had everything I wanted. So. I ditched it.

If you're wanting to join the digital revolution, I've got a few simple tips for you to make that transition as easy as possible. Because, let's be honest, moving what you may consider "your entire life" from one place to another is hard. So I've got some step-by-step instructions for you.

1. Utilize Google Calendar. 
I cannot emphasize the usefulness of this enough. It is the easiest way to quickly add things to a calendar, especially while out-and-about. Being able to check my day-to-day calendar on my phone when someone asks about my availability is completely necessary these days. I prefer Google Calendars over simply using iCal, because it's insanely easy to sync it up with iCal and because if you need to check your calendar on a work computer or something, it's easily accessible. And because Outlook calendars suck, but use it if you must. I've written about how I use BusyCal before, and it is still my go-to. I invested $50 into that about 5 years ago and haven't looked back.

2. Find a list-making app that works for your needs. 
And then use it. BusyCal has a list feature that I used to use. Now I've gone back to utilizing Hit List, which is also expensive. But I also invested in that many years ago and have finally found a good way to utilize it. But whatever application you choose to use, make sure it syncs well between your computer and your phone so you've always got it on hand.

3. Carry around a small notebook. 
I primarily use this for meetings and such, because it helps keep you engaged, off your phone, and avoid getting distracted on your computer. I also find this an easy way to reference previous meeting notes, lists, etc. I do still tend to gravitate towards writing quick to-do lists down when I'm in a panic, so having that notebook on me at all times is important for me.

4. Don't be scared. 
If you've got a plan, and you're ready for some change, go for it! It may not be the most effortless switch, and sometimes you may find yourself reverting back to wanting that paper planner, which is fine. Do what works for you. But being able to quickly access tons of information on your phone or computer is vital to today's fast-paced world!

If you need an accountability partner to help you through this, I'm here for you! Email me, comment below, tweet me, I'm there! I've helped multiple people through this process recently, and I've seen it work!

Go get after it.

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