Embracing Digital Planning

I’m in the weird age range where the internet has always been a thing, but it used to take 5-8 minutes and a dial tone to get it all up and running. Not alway so instantaneous. Smartphones weren’t yet a thing and computer time was super limited. I had this thing in my backyard called a dirt pile. Yes, an actual, literal pile of dirt that the neighborhood kids and I took to playing on until it was too dark to see. We weren’t allowed inside. We were, for all intents and purposes, latch key kids. We took care of and watched after ourselves in our quaint little neighborhood until our parents got home from work.

Embracing Digital Planning

In spite of growing up in a mostly digital age I’ve always been a super traditional paper planner. I have stacks upon stacks of old notebooks, planners, etc. Pen and paper is where.i.live. However, the thing with a paper planner is: it doesn’t send you reminders. Crazy right?

I am involved in quite a few clubs, activities and committees all on top of running a photography studio, a coaching and mentoring side hustle, and substitute teaching in my spare time.(hair flip) If you can imagine all of this gets rather hectic. I managed pretty well up until recently. I have added a few new commitments to my plate this year and I’ve found myself forgetting to write things down because I don’t always carry my planner with me. If it’s not written down it might as well not exist. And I’m certainly not showing up because I’m not going to remember the appointment if it’s not written in the trusty ol’ Erin Condren. As it turns out, this is a problem for a business owner, director of several boards, coach, teacher, and president-elect of a club.

I might not always carry my planner, but you know what I do always have? Yeah, my phone. So you, an intellectual, is shouting: “Emily. Get your phone out and put it in your calendar.” See the thing with that is: for the longest time I resisted the digital calendar because I hate committing to things on the spot. It was really easy to just say “I’ll have to check my planner, I don’t have it with me.” Boom, instant out of on the spot commitment.

I’m going to let you in on a secret, even if you have your calendar on your phone you don’t have to commit right in the moment you’re asked. Yeah, yeah, easier said than done. I’m aware. People are super needy, expect instant gratification and instant commitment. People don’t control your life. You do. If you need time to mull, then girl, you mull. You just have to practice.

say it with me; “i will think it over and get back with you in a few (insert a time frame here.)”

here’s another one: “i’m not sure i can commit to that at the moment; i will have to take a look at my prior commitments.”

you’ll get the hang of it.

Anyway, I digress. I resisted the digital calendar for the longest time, until I began forgetting to show up at events and meetings. Obviously this is a problem. I also began to become fairly overwhelmed when looking at my planner. I block my schedule at the beginning of the day. By the second or third day of the week my planner was unmanageable and it was difficult for me to take in the information. Also a problem. In addition to these two problems: the hours in my planner only went from 7-7. Who’s day actually stops at 7? Anyone? Anyone? Am I the only person who’s day starts at 5 or 6 am? Probably not.

enter iCal.

I figured out how to subscribe to the calendar in my studio management program (Táve.) I double checked that all of the sessions written in my planner were entered into the program, what was I even using this for before?! I started several color-coded  iCloud calendars and subscribed on all my devices. I subscribed my gmail accounts so all of the event/meeting invites would automatically populate my calendar upon accepting. My little Obsessive Compulsive heart couldn’t be happier. My calendar is a thing of beauty.

you might be wondering:

“Did you 100% take the plunge or did you also still use your paper planner for a while?” And since you might not know me personally and you might have not followed me here from my first blog, I’ll let this question slide. Obviously I also used my paper planner for a while. YOU CANNOT TRUST TECHNOLOGY.

Okay, so maybe the paper planner only lasted like 4 days once I figured out how this digital nonsense worked. Guys, this has made my life sooo easy. I don’t have to write out Email/Social every day at 10 am and then again at 4 pm. It automatically populates for me. What is this life? And you’re telling me, that if I schedule an appointment in week view it will ALSO automatically populate to the month view. WITCHCRAFT! In addition to the automatic population I can easily switch between week, month, and day views. The day view is really a great tool to keep me on task for my blocks.

Since switching to the digital calendar I spend a fraction of my time writing the same information 14 different places. When you can cut the time you spend on a task down, still completing it fully and frankly even more effectively, you can then spend the time and energy you saved working toward your goals and other tasks.

I think I’m here to stay with the digital calendar. What are your thoughts? Paper planner for life or have you embraced the digital life?

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