Your paper and digital planning tools can combine to create a powerful hybrid planning system. The key to successfully using them is to capitalize on the strengths of each tool.

Digital tools offer a mechanical advantage. They simplify the management of planning data by making storage, collaboration and organization all easy, push-button processes. On the other hand, paper provides a more human experience, which compliments the personalized nature of planning. Paper and pen inspire creativity and emotionalism  perfect for defining and pursuing your dreams and goals.

Your reasons will differ for using a paper and digital planning system. Some do it by necessity—their business uses Microsoft Outlook but they still enjoy using a paper day planner. Others are evolutionary types who enjoy digital technology such as the iPhone, yet find planning more effective on paper.

Planning is never a one-size-fits-all process, so you must find which tools work best for your individual needs. Here are some tips to creating a powerful digital and paper planning system:

  • Maintain a digital master task list. Enter all the details, including due dates and task notes, into your digital planner.
  • On a daily basis, write out a to-do list in your paper planner. The act of writing your tasks reinforces your commitment by creating a higher level of personal investment into completing the task.
  • Digitize all appointments. Transfer appointments from your daily notes and conversations into your digital planning calendar, such as Microsoft Outlook or a smartphone app. This now serves as a master schedule that can be synced with and accessed by Web calendars and mobile devices.
  • On a daily basis, write out your schedule into your day planner. Or, if you prefer, print it out. While keeping a second calendar is slightly redundant, creating a daily schedule in your day planner is a helpful way of reviewing your day. It also affords you the flexibility to write in task times and last minute appointment changes.
  • Use digital reminders. Having a bell chime 15 minutes before a meeting is a powerful notification tool. Set them on appointments in the master schedule of your iPhone app or Outlook program as a back up alarm to your paper planner.
  • Balance work and home. Maintain your business schedule digitally and your home/personal calendar on paper. That way, on weekends and vacation, you can rely on your day planner schedule.
  • Maintain a key contact list on paper. Store your important phone numbers on paper in case your digital system fails or is lost, stolen or damaged. You can print them out and stick them in your planner or simply write them in directory pages by hand.

Digital and paper tools offer you distinctly different benefits. When used in a system, they offer a flexible and dependable planning system that caters to a wide spectrum of people and their lifestyles. If you have any thoughts or ideas on how you incorporate a hybrid planning system in your life, please share them with us by commenting below.

Get more tips on planning, organizing and productivity for every facet of your life by visiting the AT-A-GLANCE Success Center.

[photo by koalazymonkey]

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