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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

20 Tiny Changes #12: Planning

So, I'm a Tech Nerd. In some ways.

I used to be devoted to my Franklin Covey planner, then I switched to Google calendar, and did everything online. It was lighter! It was portable! I was hip! (Who am I kidding? I hoped I was hip.) I loved it...or so I thought.

Then I found myself setting five reminders on my phone, especially for non-regular events, just so I wouldn't forget anything. Then I would try three times to enter something, and realize my thumb had hit the wrong day, then have to try again. (I'm clumsy that way.) Then I had a mortifying experience: I showed up one day late to a very important presentation.

To say I freaked is a bit of an understatement. To say I had a niggling suspicion that it was electronics, not paper, that had failed me...well, that would be fair.

It all worked out in the end, thanks to some incredibly kind and understanding people and a reasonably flexible schedule. But I had what is called down here a "come to Jesus" moment.

Electronic calendar-keeping was NOT working for me.

There are many studies that show that writing is different than typing when it comes to retention, especially note-taking. Here's an article from Scientific American, and here's one from NPR. Here's an article about calendars in particular. My husband, an editor, insisted that the problem was that I hadn't written it down...and I hadn't printed the calendar before noting my date and time. He spends his whole day on the computer, but he knows that he must print something if he's going to catch every typo when he reads it.

I gulped, and ordered another paper calendar from Amazon. It was only $30. But it was big (8 1/2 x 11"! How was I going to manage?!). And antiquated. And old-school.

And I LOVE it. Love   LOVE   L-O-V-E   it.

Sitting down for only a few minutes a day to write what I'm going to do is totally different. It's hard to describe, but I'm getting more done. Because it's written, I've made a contract with myself regarding what I'm going to actually do that day, that week, that month. And my days are packed, because I'm so motivated to fulfill that contract.

So whatever you do for the school year, or however you divide your life into units, I simply offer this: Pick a planner. Use it. Most importantly, be sure your planner works for you: that you not only like it, but you feel like it helps you.

So, I'm not going back! Google, you're great for so many things, but a paper calendar is my anchor.

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