When I was growing up, my mother was rarely found without her agenda planner. She was particular about the style–an 8.5″x11″ spiral-bound book with a gold embossed, black leather-look cover. Each month spread over two pages in which she scrawled her busy and complex schedule in the illegible-to-anyone-but-her handwriting. It was Her Planner, but it was also a part of our family’s daily life. “Let me check my calendar” was a familiar refrain during a phone call, after we’d hand her a note about an upcoming school event, or while visiting with friends.
Ever since high school, I’ve had some version of my own calendar–a Trapper keeper, the school-issued agenda, a Moleskine daily planner.
The daily agenda has inevitably migrated to our smartphones. I am obsessed with my iPhone and am rarely without it, so it makes sense that I would use it as my main organizational and time management tool. There are certainly enough apps out there that attempt to serve this function.
My dabbles in the digital include:
- Apple’s Calendar: I like how it coordinates mindlessly across devices. I book things like doctors’ appointments and rely heavily on the day-before reminder alarms, seeing as I rarely know the date. But in terms of a day-to-day, hour-to-hour task manager, it’s cumbersome to pull up the app, the day, the hour, etc, versus making some simple scribbles on paper (and getting that lovely high from crossing an item off).
- PepperPlate: for meal planning. This cool little app allows you to collect recipes and build meal plans, from which it populates a shopping list (that just screams “time saver,” right?). It is fairly easy to use, although after attempting grocery shopping with it, my handwritten lists recorded on the free real estate agent notepads we get in our mailbox weekly still feel more efficient.
- Evernote: This app seems to be an elaborate way to capture anything potentially useful you come across, and then organize these “clips” into coordinated sets. I could see this being very useful for blogging and writing, although I can also see it as an avenue to building more clutter in our lives.
And so I have more than a few of apps collecting digital dust in my app graveyard–that last half-empty page of apps that I never bother swiping over to. There is just something about the span of a calendar across paper that speaks to the type-A organizer freak in me.
So despite the phone in my pocket, I browse longingly through the planners and agenda books in the book store. As a mom, I’ve taken note of the Mommy Agenda, a planner specifically formatted for the family including things like meal planning, kids’ activities, babysitter information. There is also a whole world of printable planners out there for all types of plannng–home management, blogging, birthday tracking. I start imagining myself as some sort of hyper-organized super mom on-the-go, running my business, taking care of my kid, my home, preparing elaborate meals… So much promise contained in one little book–perhaps even a glimpse into your ideal self, planned out on paper.
It would be practically poetic if my version of Mom’s black agenda was on my phone, but I’m just not sure that’s the way for me to go. My latest (physical) agenda planner crush is Passion Planner. Actually, it resembles the Daily Schedule Template I put together based on Benjamin Franklin’s schedule, and when I first saw Passion Planner, I immediately engaged in some mental self-flagellation for not having thought of creating something like this myself (after all, the posts about Franklin’s schedule are some of my most popular, and people take the free PDF regularly). Ah well. This one is on my Christmas list!
Anyway, on a totally self-serving note, if you decide to invest in a Passion Planner for yourself, please mention that you heard of it here and include my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org in your order. If I get some free ones, I will definitely do a give-away contest here!
What do you use to keep on track? A physical agenda, or an app on your phone or computer? Any other product raves?