Are my digital planning days over?

The last year has seen me embark on a journey through a new world of ‘Planning’ that I discovered really by chance. As well as starting the evolution of my system of organisation, it has sparked an interest in some new crafts and spawned a series of experiments with some materials I’ve not used before. I plan to show some of those experiments in future posts, but to start with I feel I should give a little background (well, actually a bit of a ramble, sorry) to what started me on these, very enjoyable, crafting tangents.

It all started last summer.  It was a rather stressful year, one way and another, things seemed to be getting on top of me and I was feeling pretty swamped. Up to that point I seem to have managed with just the calendar on the computer to remember the odd appointment at the dentist or trip to visit family. I kept all the day to day tasks that needed doing in my head. Now its not as if I have a high octane career to manage or many young children to marshal, but suddenly I seemed to have too many strands to my life on which to keep tabs in my poor, ageing brain.

I’m not a great one for self-help books but I came across David Allen’s book ‘Getting Things Done’ and gave it a go. The idea, that we shouldn’t keep all that stuff in our heads because it stops us getting on with what we should be doing, struck a chord. Arguably, what he says is just common sense, but knowing something to be common sense doesn’t always mean we know how to act on it. I thought his practical methods of putting the ideas into practise seemed worth a try.

One very large mind map on a very big piece of paper later and I was already feeling better. The next stage was to get all these tasks, to-dos and projects logged somewhere. Being a fan of any shiny piece of technology, the obvious place was an app that would remind me exactly what I had to do and when, wherever I was. That’s where ‘technology’ left me a bit underwhelmed. I tried many different apps, programs and services, none of which really did absolutely everything I wanted. Either it wasn’t available on all platforms or it didn’t handle recurring tasks well or it was very expensive or not pretty to look at… I did find Todoist (todoist.com) and thought this was very good indeed and I’m still using it for my dated, household tasks.

But I still felt there was something missing. I got this same feeling with the myriad of note taking apps that I tested for logging my notes, ideas and random thoughts. I realised it wasn’t a failing of these programs but to do with the fact that a screen cannot act in the same way as real paper in book form. Scrolling down or clicking tabs just doesn’t work for me as well as flipping the page. I’m probably far more of a 20th century gal than I like to admit. So, it was at this point where I began to think the unthinkable and considered returning to the positively prehistoric, paper planner. And that’s when my planning journey got fun…