Low-Tech Planning for a “Busy” Life

July 30, 2013

I think I have a dozen Google calendars. Each has its own purpose, with three or four attached to each of my Google accounts. A few are populating WordPress widgets and all are synced on my computer, iPad and phone. Wherever I am, I can see exactly where I need to be next and exactly what I should be doing two weeks from Tuesday at 10 am.

Then there are the to-do list apps. I’m currently using Wunderlist on my phone (Android), which is kind of everything you’d want a to-do list to be… with priorities, deadlines, reminders, etc. So in between all of the appointments, my list of things I need to accomplish is right there with me at all times.

The whole system is a thing of beauty, and sometimes there is a weird kind of geeky pride in the connectivity of it all.

And yet, more and more as I try to simplify my life, I find the multiple calendars and lists all a bit overwhelming. Digital planning is, for me, too easy to ignore. Too easy to reschedule. Too easy to delete & forget.

day plannerAnd so, I bought a day planner. And a pen. And if it’s important enough for me to write it down, in non-erasable pen, it’s important enough for me to plan around.

For me, paper is solid… it’s “real.” It’s why despite having digital task lists, I still have sticky notes with the “really, REALLY important tasks” everywhere. And if I miss something, it’s there… glaring at me every day for at least a week.

With my regular job, a side business, this blog, family, kids, etc., I’ve been busy. Busy checking off things on long daily lists and editorial calendars. Getting everything done in one area of my life, while ignoring another for a bit. Saying yes to everything, rearranging regularly, ignoring things I don’t feel like doing in the moment and always feeling one step behind. I’ve been busy being busy.

Of course, you’re thinking, “Have some self-discipline! Just adopt the same mindset about digital planning and prioritize better!”

And perhaps you’re right. It’s about time management, and no calendar – digital or paper – will make everything flow effortlessly if the author’s head isn’t in the game.

It’s not the calendar’s fault, it’s mine.

I recently read an article that really woke me up – 50 Things to Do to Simplify Your Life.

My head is now in the game. And priorities matter. They’re the ones written in ink.

What works for you? Digital or paper planning – or both? 


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1 Comment

  • Reply Mehnaz November 20, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Thanks for checking into my blog! Good luck with simplifying your world! I know it makes a difference when we stop to check in once in a while with ourselves.

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