Paper Planners: Never Say Die

As we head toward mid-December, I found myself at wits’ end because people want to give me dates for important events in January and beyond, and my planner only has December plus a day of January left on it. I thought I could wait until after the New Year so I can get my 2017 planner at a discount, but I felt so uneasy jotting things down on the extra blank pages at the back of the 2016 planner, that I couldn’t take it anymore.

With my Barnes and Noble 25 percent off a single item coupon in hand and some gift cards, I ventured out into the chilly night after dinner to find my 2017 Moleskine Weekly Planner (Large Format) so I can get on with my life.

Why bother with a paper planner? Although I have an iPhone and enjoy its wonderful calendar/alarm and the fact I can sync it with my other devices, other people’s calendars, and more, I actually prefer the old pen and paper method of tracking time and scheduling. There’s something about writing things down that feels more concrete, permanent—more real. I feel more connected to the activities.

I love seeing my familiar scribbles reminding me of what I need to do, what I’ve done, what I’d like to do. I like being able to flip through the pages every now and then to see how I managed my particular day/week. It’s a testament to my existence. I like writing in the margins, jotting down notes, random thoughts. I use different colored pens to brighten up the pages as well as highlight important information.

Also, I like how much quicker I can set up an event by writing in a planner vs. trying to use the touchscreen keypad or computer keyboard. I don’t have to wait for things to load or worry about Wi-fi connection or battery power in order to be able to access information. People also say to use Siri to record my appointments, but I don’t trust it to do the job.

I also use my planner to keep track of my billable hours for work. Eventually, I transfer the data to a Google spreadsheet in the cloud, but at least I know I have a hardcopy should something keep me from accessing things online.

In my planner, I note the days I’ve committed to exercising. I can cheer myself on for those good weeks when I got in at least 3 hours and scold myself for being a slacker. My past actions are equally relevant as my present and future events because they are logged and even “starred” or highlighted. I enjoy being able to check things off a list or to revisit previous weeks and pat myself on the back for when I was particularly productive.

A part of it is also vanity. Who knows if one day someone wants to write my biography and needs primary source material? ;-P

Why Moleskine?
I love the texture of the paper and the fact that the lines are lighter than other planners so I can ignore them if I want to. Ideally, I would have no lines on the page facing the week overview page, but I can live with it.

I like the extra removable bundle of pages in the back that can be transferred to the next calendar. Every now and then the Weekly Planner acts as a repository as I jot down things I might want to read, do, visit, and more. It also has a convenient pocket where I can store small mementos, receipts, tickets, and other things.

Although I was tempted to try something different, such as the Passion Planner, I didn’t like the dark lines. Since I wasn’t able to “visit” it at a store, I have no idea how the paper feels or whether the pages are see-through or not. Nothing’s worse than crappy paper, so I decided to stick with the tried and true.

What do you like to use to keep track of your days?

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