A reader asked me recently if I had ever considered combining paper planning and electronic planning. And the answer is yes. I considered it. I tried it. I didn’t like it. Here’s why:
1. I like writing things down. Somehow, for me, the act of writing something down cements it in my mind. Typing it isn’t the same. It has to be written on paper with a pen or pencil. And then, magically, I will probably remember it even if I never look at the paper again.
2. I have my paper planner open at all times. It’s usually on my desk or on the kitchen counter. I need to be able to see what’s on my list every time I pass by. If I want to check the list on my iPhone, I have to unlock it and turn it back on. Even if I set it to be on all the time, it’s not the same.
3. I keep my paper planners forever. I have 20 years of archive books in my office closet. I look back at previous years often. Not only have I recorded important dates but also interesting information about my family. Those books are treasures. Electronic planning doesn’t give me that permanent printed record. And I definitely can’t write notes about my family in my iPhone. Yes, I could write those notes in a separate journal but that doesn’t work for me. I’ve tried. The only way I can “journal” faithfully is if I do it in my planner.
4. Looking back to see when I did things this month or last month is much easier in my paper planner than on my iPhone.
5. I like being able to see the big picture and that’s easier in my paper planner.
6. I have my to-do list designed exactly the way I want it. I don’t think I can get this set-up in an electronic form unless I can write an app – which I most definitely cannot do.
7. My planner does more than just keep track of my appointments. It also includes my financial information, blog ideas, contact information, goals, food journals, health information, car repair information – I can’t keep all that in my phone. Yes, I could keep a lot of it in Evernote or a similar program but it’s not the same and accessing it isn’t as easy as just flipping to a section in my planner.
8. I don’t have to charge the battery on my paper planner.
9. My iPhone doesn’t have cool accessories like clips, washi tape and stickers. And colorful and fun markers just don’t work on an electronic device.
And while I love my paper planner, I’d be foolish not to notice that electronic planners provide some amazing advantages. I wish my paper planner could:
1. Provide audible reminders.
2. Automatically plug in all the repeating information.
3. Have an on-line back-up.
4. Be small like my phone but hold all the information I want it to.
5. Take a photo.
But my paper planner doesn’t do those things. And yet, I still prefer paper. It actually seems that the perfect set-up would be a combination of electronic and paper planning. But I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. So for now, it’s paper planning for me. And I’m okay with that.
What about you? Which do you prefer? Paper planning or electronic planning? If you combine the two, how do you make it work?