Ye Olde Planner:
Step Out of the Past and Into More Productivity
& Peace of Mind
I have a file in my home office that holds the Outlook calendar print-outs of each month of the 8 years since I started my business. It’s a little file I started as a back-up in the early years and then it turned into a fun memorabilia file as the years flew by.
It’s not a file I look at regularly, but once in a while, I look in there for some reason and the other day was one of those days… and I was in for a BIG surprise.
Right away I noticed that in my first year of business I was still using a Franklin Covey planner! Gasp! I couldn’t believe it. I had completely forgotten.
And then I remembered… when I was in my last corporate job, they wanted us to use the Franklin Covey planner. It had been my trusted system for a couple of years and I took that planner everywhere I went. I didn’t create my new system, the one I teach to my clients, until after the first year of my business. And my system – Taskology™ – is based on using Outlook for a calendar, not a Franklin Covey planner.
What was interesting to me about finding these pages was how greatly my perspective had changed over the years. What jumped out at me instantly were all the burdens and costs of using a paper planner versus using a system like Outlook. I want to share with you The 5 Biggest Costs for you to consider in case you’re still using a planner to manage your calendar.
1. Black and Blue… and Wite-Out All Over
When I looked at my old planner pages, I noticed the mess of black and blue ink I had used, but more importantly the incredible amount of Wite-Out I used! It was everywhere. And it was a little crazy.
When changing appointments in a planner, you have to erase, scratch out or use a lot of Wite-Out, which can create confusion and chaos, ultimately creating a risk of missing appointments. (I wonder if I ever missed any?)
Using an Outlook calendar, you can quickly and easily make changes to appointments and keep your calendar up to date and easy to read so you’ll never miss an appointment. And you won’t have to waste time grabbing for the Wite-Out.
2. Color Can Cost You
I used to spend time using highlighters to make certain appointments stand out. You may be doing the same thing and wasting the same kind of time.
In Outlook you can color code, too, as you set up your appointments – just faster and more accurately. And when you use the Outlook Week or Month view, you’ll get an outstanding snapshot (at a glance) of all your commitments… instantly.
Plus, if you ever move an appointment, the color goes with it. You’ll save lots of time because you won’t be getting out a variety of colorful highlighters to decorate your paper calendar again and again.
3. The Old Ball and Chain
I got SO tired of carrying that planner around. Ugh. And it wasn’t even the biggest one Franklin Covey makes! It was the medium sized planner, but it was still too much. To home, to work, to wherever I went that planner went too. And it got old.
If you use Outlook, you won’t have to carry a planner – in your pocket, in your purse, or in your briefcase. You can sync your calendar from Outlook to your phone and you’ll have everything you need at your fingertips. Ahhhh, the simplicity and lightness of being – and traveling!
4. Losing Touch with Reality
Some planners are SO small you can’t see you’re writing. When I see the small paper planners of others, like my clients, I see a little block for each day, but there are no lines for hour or ½ hour increments. If this sounds like your planner, you might second-guess yourself and wonder, “Are appointments really written in the right places? At the right times?“
Depending on how small your planner is you may lose a sense of accuracy and total committed time when you don’t have the exact times blocked out for every commitment you’ve made. Not only can you over-book, but you can double-book or miss appointments entirely. Using an electronic calendar properly will help safeguard against this.
5. Don’t forget the details
While it’s not always possible to do away with certain papers and files needed for upcoming appointments, I find that all of my clients can eliminate many post-it notes, invitations and other bits of paper from their desks as well as add entire e-mails to their appointments in Outlook for easy reference. Using an electronic calendar allows you to consolidate and eliminate lots of paper. Why hold on to more, when you can work with less?
If you’re still using and toting around a planner – big or small – consider what it’s costing you. Consider the time lost, the energy expended, the damage done and the chaos caused.
Without using an electronic system like Outlook – one that’s easy to use and syncable – you could be missing out. But with it, you won’t be missing appointments.