Found Time: Why Paper Planners Work Better | Giftie Etcetera: Found Time: Why Paper Planners Work Better

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Found Time: Why Paper Planners Work Better

I am a stay-at-home mom.  I have a Master’s degree in Education and a (currently inactive) teaching certificate, so I often substitute teach at my kids’ school.  But I also have a law degree and, even though I am not currently actively practicing law, I have to attend twelve CLE hours per year in order to keep my law license active.  I lucked out and found a CLE that gives me seven hours of credit.  For some reason (networking?  An ill-conceived notion that lawyers HAVE to work a FULL day?), they schedule these seven hours over the course of about nine hours. 

That’s a two hour time difference during which I cannot leave the seminar.  (This assumes I did my math correctly.  Disclaimer: Lawyers don’t go to law school because they like math.)  (Legal disclaimer: I never give legal advice on this site, I don’t represent you, I am NOT your attorney, and I learned to say that at today’s seminar. J)

Two hours and no wifi or places to recharge a laptop.

For about 794 of the 800 participants, this is a problem.

But for the other six of us, we are getting lots of stuff done in the two hours of wasted found time.  You see, we brought paper planners.

Things that I was able to do today because I had my planner with me:

1. Start my back-to-school list.  (For planning purposes, I treat back-to-school as a PROJECT, since it involves so many different actions, like buying a backpack or inventory and supplement of uniforms.  A note to look at the PROJECT page goes in my WEEKLY pages on the appropriate date to remind me to do the next action.  Things that I need to buy go on my CAPTURE page to be added to the shopping list before my weekly trip.)

Last year’s back-to-school blog.

2. Summarize notes from an event that I planned and oversaw over the weekend.  I put a task in my planner on the WEEKLY pages to email the public relations department tomorrow with the final numbers.  I am in charge of the event again next year, so I needed to note things that can be improved, numbers of attendees, and to finalize the budget.  Those things go in the FILE section of my planner, since they will come back into use within about six months, so filing them in the filing cabinet does not make sense. I need to contact the person in charge of food, so a task goes on the MONTHLY TASK LIST, as it does not have to be done immediately, but just sometime this week.

3. Outlined several blog entries and story ideas.  Some went in my FILE section, but today’s blog went directly on the CAPTURE page so I could type it up today.  A task to post the blog went on my WEEKLY pages (circled because I will repeat the task regularly, and a circle reminds me to schedule another blog entry when this one is posted.)

4. Went through my receipts (tucked into the inside front cover of my planner) and wrote down the amounts spent in my July BUDGET section, put them in the envelope in that section, and pulled out those intended as in-kind gifts for a foundation to submit to that foundation.  A task went on the MONTHLY TASK LIST to submit those receipts.

5. Wrote, addressed, and stamped two cards (a birthday card and a new baby card).  Scratched out that task with a single line for archival purposes.  (In order words, in a week when I panic and say, “OMG, did I send that card?!?,” I can tell myself “yes.”)

6. Noted a Facebook status that I want to post later on my WEEKLY page.

7. Made a note in next month’s MONTHLY TASK PAGE to make sure that I got credit for today’s continuing education class.

8. Used my new page markers to mark the current monthly and weekly pages in my planner.  (I use a clear Today marker for MONTHLY pages and a clear plastic sheet that can hold many sticky notes for the WEEKLY pages.)  The new markers are colored, arrow shaped plastic paper clips and they slide down to where I am on the page.

9. Wrote two checks for upcoming bills (noted as due in my WEEKLY pages).

10. Created a log of CLE credits to date in my FILE section.  (At the end of the year, I will file them in my permanent files.)

That’s ten different things that I accomplished in my found time, just because I had paper, pens, and a planner with me.  I also carry my to-be-filed (permanently) items and to-be-dealt with papers to events like this, so this afternoon I will get my filing done with post-its to note the categories and will throw those papers into my files.



Anita said...

Thanks for a great post.
I've got lots of useful work & planning done before whilst waiting for my car to be serviced. And our local library doesn't have wifi which means it can be a great location to focus without the temptation of the internet too. said...

Agreed! In fact, I have my grandkids over a lot and can't use my computer when they're around. They just won't leave it alone. So I've just started getting out my paper planner and writing blog posts and brainstorming ideas while I sit with them. It's working great!!! I love having a paper planner.

tammy b said...

good on ya! quick question for you since i'm new to the online world of alluded to sticky notes in point 8, and I see them all over peoples question: why? i have theories, but would love to hear resins! thanks!

Giftie Etcetera said...

Tammy B...they are not all over my pages! I actually use sticky notes pretty rarely.

I use them outside of the planner for a couple of things. Sometimes, I use them for reminding me to take stuff out of the house with me. For example, in the first couple weeks that the kids go back to school, we will prepack backpacks at night, but leave a sticky on the door reminding me to get lunches out of the fridge, since that can't be prepacked. The other reason I use them is because I am an attorney, and some of the documents that I have to file can't have anything written on them. Normally, I take my filing to a coffee shop and organize it altogether. On each paper, I write the File Name and the Date. Car, 07/12/13. House, 06/21/13. When I get home, I simply put the items in my files. (Note that I have a master list of my files in my planner for reference when I do this.) If the item that needs to go in my car file is a cancelled promissory note, it gets a sticky note that says where to file it. If it is a reminder that I got it serviced, I just write on it directly.

The way I use sticky notes in my planner is solely for extra space. Generally, I use a weekly planner. But for the first day of school, I will need to remember to pack a lot of stuff - more than can fit in one fourth of a planner page. So I'll put a sticky note on the clear divider between the pages to list all the extra stuff I need to send with the kids to school.

Hope that responds to your question! Thanks for asking.

Unknown said...

A master's in education AND a law degree? You must be some kind of super-student!

Giftie Etcetera said...

Super student loans :(. And I'm a SAHM right now, so the degrees don't help much!