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First, everyone at AT-A-GLANCE would like to thank you for following our blog throughout 2013 and providing excellent input on our posts and content. This is YOUR blog as much as it is ours, so never hesitate to give us your thoughts, ideas and suggestions on organizing, productivity and planning.

Second, we want to highlight the most popular post of 2013—and, as it turns out, one of the most popular topics year in and year out. This post—Digital or Paper Planning: Why Not Both?—looks at the strengths of both planning systems and gives you the foundation for starting your own “hybrid” approach. Enjoy and let us know your own thoughts on the best planning systems.

Many people see technology as the problem behind the so-called digital divide. Others see it as the solution. Technology is neither. It must operate in conjunction with business, economic, political and social system.

This is how former HP CEO Carly Fiorina looks at technology, and I think it’s safe to say that the same can be said about planning. Is technology the best platform for keeping calendars and notes, or is a paper system your best bet? Like Carly said, it’s neither.

Certainly, all of us have a preference or system of planning and organizing that works best. In fact, many people who say they are completely digital in these respects may not realize that written notes, reminders and to-do lists place them in the “paper” category as well. Herein lies the dilemma when choosing a planning system: Do you want the flexible nature of paper planning, or are you enticed by the speed of digital solutions?

Why not simply use both—it’s what we like to call a hybrid.

Capitalizing on the strengths of paper and digital planning tools, a hybrid system gives you the best of both worlds while avoiding the pitfalls associated with either of the mediums. Let’s take a look at the unique strengths of each type of planning tool.

Paper Planning Strengths:

  • Greater flexibility for recording thoughts, sketching out ideas and brainstorming
  • Virus- and crash-free, and it doesn’t need charged!
  • Better retention of information through written notes
  • No document transfer, syncing or compatibility issues
  • Gives you the “big picture” with a large, physical view
  • No need to wait for your planner to start up or re-boot
  • No learning curve to become a proficient user

Digital Planning Strengths:

  • Instant productivity features like sorting and automated reminders
  • Once proficient, users produce fast and legible input
  • More secure with use of passwords and encryption of data
  • Vast app market enables a digital device to be used for more than planning

There are several steps you can take to make sure a hybrid system works for you. Check out our post on balancing digital and paper planning systems for a list of tips.

A hybrid planning system is as unique as its user. By taking the right steps to develop your system, you’ll be well on your way to higher productivity and better time management. What are your thoughts on hybrid planning? We encourage your comments and ideas.

For more productivity, planning and organizing tips, visit the AT-A-GLANCE Planning Center.

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