Before you even say it about yourself I will tell you the same about me: I am totally a pen and paper kind of gal. I was the girl who went and nerded out over buying the best yearly planner. It had to have the perfect number of lines for my tasks each day, it had to include a space for my top 3 tasks each week, and I got extra excited if it came with nifty stickers!
I’ve had a yearly paper planner for as long as I could remember–I’m talking back in 3rd grade when I begged my mom for a Lisa Frank one–up until last month. It was perfect for school, I brought it everywhere with me and I would look at it pretty often. For the past few years, though, as I have transitioned fully into “the world,” something shifted.
I was finding more and more that I was writing things down in my planner and never getting around to doing them. I have freaked out so many times when I looked at my planner and realized I missed something important. The poor thing would sit in my purse, forgotten (and quite frankly, I was growing tired of its weight and the amount of space it occupied).
I guess paper-based planners are only as good as their user. I was no good at this anymore; I was frustrated with myself and my inability to look at my to-do list(s) much less get things on the list(s) done. So, I tried something new. At work, I use Outlook calendar and put all of my tasks and meetings there. I realized, being reminded to do things via notifications was exactly what I needed. I actually hate all things Microsoft, so I decided to go with Google Calendar because, well, Google. And can I just say…
Google Calendar is a game changer!
Why? Here are several reasons why Google Calendar has changed my productivity and ability to get things done when I said I would do them:
- You can literally plan every moment of your day. Time blocking has helped me to be more productive and intentional about how I go through my day.
- You can un-do what you’ve done. The pain of having to cross something out of your paper planner that you wrote in pen (because routinely writing in pencil is grotesque) is no longer a thing. Need to reschedule something? Just grab the event with your finger or mouse, and move it to another day/time. Done.
- One word: recurring. You can set reminders and events to reoccur for almost any interval of time. Gone are the days of manually writing recurring reminders, such as paying bills, in your planner for months on end. One and done, friend.
- Another word: notifications. Never miss an event or planned task again. I get notifications on my iPhone and my Apple Watch. This really helps my external accountability–since my phone is telling me to do something, I must obey.
- You also have options to set reminders and goals, apart from events. Google knows you need a place on your electronic calendar to place things that aren’t time blocked events. Place your goals and reminders for any day, any time. Set it, and forget it; until you get the notification of course.
- If you lose it, you’re not completely SOL. If you lose your smartphone, you can still access your calendar because guess what? It’s electronic and is web-based. Your paper planner? Gone forever once lost or damaged. Save yourself the headache.
- You can plan on the go, without carrying around a clunky book. All you need is your smartphone and maybe your laptop if your phone is somehow not with you. Travel light, travel right. Smartphone not included, though.
- You can say you’re booked and busy, and prove it with your calendar. Make any appointment you want–workouts, massages, side hustles, reading, bed time. Once the clock strikes, DO THAT SHIT.
- Color-coding is a breeze. You can organize anything that needs to get done by color, so that you can take a quick glance at your calendar and know right away the type of task that needs to get done. I personally color-code my workouts as yellow, work as dark grey :), writing as green, bedtime and wake time as red, and so forth. Colors are pretty to look at :).
- It’s FREE-99! I mean, not having to purchase a planner every year saves you so much money in the long run. Planners can be so expensive–especially if you’re like me and get suckered into buying the ones with the fancy stickers and colorful pages. Save yourself some cash and get Google Calendar, or a similar electronic calendar.
The theme here is versatility, ease of access, and the ability to DO more easily. Of course, technology is only as good as the person remembering to use it, but when you’re constantly reminded that you have a recurring task to do, it’s hard to forget. I would suggest Google Calendar for anyone out there struggling to keep up with a physical paper planner, or even if you want to get started with keeping yourself organized and accountable.
Being an adult in this world is hard enough. Taking the guess work out of keeping your responsibilities on track is so easy today with all of the technology that we have at our literal fingertips. Take advantage of it! I’m wondering, is there any electronic calendar or electronic life admin management app that you like to use? Please share in the comments so we can all check ’em out!