Paper versus digital organization

Thursday, August 21, 2014

As I've transitioned from student to working adult - HA, adult? - I've noticed a change in the way I organize my schedules. In high school and college I put everything in my Vera Bradley planner, then to a Lilly Pulitzer planner. Both were great, since I like having daily and monthly calendars in my agendas, and who could say no to stickers? I always had things to do, homework, football games, plans with friends...but now plans change at the drop of a hat, and work has been thrown into the mix. Yikes!

Though I do most everything on my laptop for both work and play, I've struck a balance between paper and digital calendars to organize my life. I love writing in a physical calendar and seeing everything sprawled out on my desk. For reasons even I couldn't explain, I can't stand looking at my phone to see what's going on for my personal life, though it's become necessary for work. Now I keep my schedule on three - yes THREE - calendars. My wall calendar, daily planner, and my phone.

I picked up this calendar by Sugar Paper for Target last year and I can't wait to pick up another for next year. I've never been one for wall calendars, but I found a great use for it by putting it up with my wall gallery! I don't record my every day to-dos on it, but I keep up with my big monthly plans. This month I scheduled my weekend travels, the start of USC football (only eight more days!) and when friends came to town. Since this wall is right next to my dresser, I look at it in the mornings, which helps me keep track of overarching plans that are easy to forget day to day.

As for my daily planner, I've found my new love in Whitney English's Day Designer agenda. Not too long ago I was worried about finding a planner that had everything I needed (room for notes, to-dos, monthly and weekly calendars, and a space for weekly, monthly, yearly goals), since I knew I would have to transition away from my Lilly Pulitzer planner eventually. I received the Day Designer when I went to the Smart Girls Summit, and I can't tell you how happy I was when August 1st rolled around and I could start using it!

I put everything in my agenda, like due dates for bills, birthdays, travel plans, work reminders, football games, and blog post ideas. I practically live out of the thing. I check my agenda when I first get into the office before starting anything, just to make sure I'm not forgetting some huge plans. The planners are all sold out until January 2015, but make sure to snag one up for yourself before it's too late!

Side note - I get super annoyed with abnormally large or small planners, since they're either difficult to carry around or write in legibly, but, for reference, the Day Designer is just a bit bigger than the Lilly Pulitzer large agenda. A little detail, but important!

Finally, I keep as little as possible on my phone so that it's streamlined and organized. I can't stand constant reminders and notifications going off, so I like keeping my phone calendar work-related only. At first it drove me crazy to use my phone's calendar, but now I've grown to like my system. I know exactly where to find work and play plans, and I don't have to scramble to remember a detail. For daily to-dos if I know I'll be running around and not want to bring a planner with me, I use the Wunderlist app for iPhones and it's great! There's nothing better than checking off an item on a to-do list!

How do you organize your life? I went through tons of systems that didn't work before coming up with mine now. I'd love to hear!


  1. As much as I love technology, I can't shift to all digital for my calendar. I have to write things down! I've been using my Kate Spade planner this year and loving it, but trying to decide if I should go for the Whitney English next. Love the little gratitude space! xoxo

    Annie Reeves

    1. I FEEL you! I've never tried a Kate Spade planner, but I've heard they're great. I'm hoping that the Day Designer stays around forever though! Once I find a system that works I like to stick to it, so maybe this is the one :)