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Confessions of a Webmaster: I Organize My Life in a Paper Planner

By Eva Wallace

Mail PileI know you have one. We all do. You know that pile of mail on the kitchen table - the grocery store fliers, the bills, the credit card applications, the coupons…

I used the kitchen table method of organization for years. But as my kids got older and my “things to do” list grew, I found myself forgetting things like paying the phone bill. Not good.

Since I’m the web administrator at Stacks and Stacks, you’d think I’d have a great online way to keep track of it all. But I don’t. I’ve never found anything that let’s me keep track o my life like my trusty paper planner.

Old fashioned? Maybe. But there’s something about writing it down. Makes me remember it, I guess. And I like to see everything on one page.

I don’t have to worry about the privacy of my data, or a website going down, or a company going out of business with the contents of my life.

My other trusty organization tools: the shredder and recycle bin
I actually spent a few years before I found the planner that, for me, is “The Perfect One”. It has monthly tabs and is large enough to hold bill sized envelopes, and snaps shut so I don’t lose anything.

Now, I sort the mail as soon as it enters the house. Junk mail goes into the recycle bin; the coupons I will use go into my wallet; those tempting credit card offers go straight to the shredder; and I write all my bill amounts and due dates into my planner so I know when to pay them online, (see, I DO use the Internet) then I shred those too.

It’s all life stuff
In my opinion, there is no “work stuff” and “home stuff”. It’s all life stuff. So every morning I check my planner to see what needs to be paid, what appointments I have to keep, where I need to take my kids, and what fun thing I get to do with my husband when it’s all done.

How do you keep your life in order?

Posted August 1, 2007, filed in Living Simply, Clutter Hacks

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23 Comments

From Havi Brooks, August 1 2007

Wait! Wait! More details on the planner please. Name, number, etc. I've been searching for the right sized planner forever.

I'm also a web-fiend who has a secret tie to the world of paper. And also believe in Life Stuff vs the home/work division. But right now my tickler/binder organizing system needs some work. Your mysterious but alluring Planner sounds perfect. Please share exactly what it's called!

My clients will all want one too …

Havi Brooks — The Fluent Self

From Eva Wallace, August 1 2007

My planner is from a company called Blue Sky. I found it at my local Office Depot. I can't seem to locate one online anywhere, but I did find this website where you can contact them:
http://www.blueskyimg.com/
Mine is the tan one on the left :)

From Lyn, August 2 2007

I'm very much a paper planner person too, so I understand. It's much more visual & easier than using a PDA or the computer.

The best and easiest system I have found is from www.thebusywoman.com. You don't have to purchase every type of page and can use just what is applicable to your life. I prefer a compact size that I can take with me wherever I go.

From Kelly S, August 2 2007

I used to be heavily into using electronic methods of organizing, but I found that pen and paper was the way for me. I never had to worry about charging, etc.

I like smaller planners with larger spaces.

The most important thing when using a planner, regardless of format, is making sure that you check it every day, otherwise it's useless! For a while there I would forget to check it thinking I knew what was going on, but I started missing a lot of important things, so I try to at least check it once before bed and again when waking up the next morning.

From katy smith, May 9 2008

phew, im not the only one still searching for 'THE PLANNER' - ive tried every possible calender/organizer/notebook, even a combination via my ever increasing habit of taking apart perfectly good calender/organizers/notebooks and trying to fix whatever issue is letting it down, because without doubt something will be. 'If only it had a section for notes /addresses etc etc…' well believe me, ive tried to answer those problems but to no avail….

Even the expensive ones don't quite cut it - im currently trying to re-work my lovely filofax….

From Eva Wallace, May 9 2008

LOL - you sound just like me, Katy! Hope you find something wonderful - let me know if you do!

From Carla Alvarez, May 16 2008

I laughed when I read the title of the post. I can't tell you how many people are shocked when I pull out my notebook. They think I would be all digital.

Carla Alvarez's last blog post..Get Extra Marketing Mileage from Charitable Donations

From Eva Wallace, May 16 2008

Lol! Thanks for the comment, Carla!

I tried a digital planner once, but there's just something about having the whole shabang on paper and laid right out in front of you…

:) Eva

From Mary Espinosa, June 6 2008

My winner for the past 2 years is the "Planner Pad" notebook. It's logical and I customize it to meet my needs as they change. Finally, a notebook that works, and at a reasonable cost.

The website address is: www.plannerpads.com

From Eve, August 3 2008

I just found an online calendar (I know you said they're not exactly your favorite). They never were mine either - I was addicted to planners until I found cozi.com, which has super user-friendly.

There's a list feature, which eliminates all those stickys and loose (and potentially LOST) pieces of paper. And, it helps save trees.

I haven't tried the texting feature or the toll free services, but that might work wonders for some!?!

The picture collage screensaver is my family's favorite!

Check it out and see what you think. At first, I overlapped my paper planner and cozi (I was very skeptical!) but now I love it!

Eve's last blog post..Wordless Wednesday #3

From Misty, October 30 2008

I've just purchased (and love) the Weekdate weekly planner.

What's so great about this calendar is that you only write things that repeat one time… like my son's soccer &; baseball schedules and also my monthly book club. I'm thinking about also purchasing their wall calendar. It's pretty neat.

Their website is www.weekdate.com

From F1 news, January 26 2009

Very useful story for me. Much thanks.

F1 news's last blog post..Olympic Sailing Regatta Day 7: Railey Match Races France to Nearly Guarantee Medal

From salvia divinorum, March 11 2009

Great post about webmasters. Thanks for it!
freshsalvia.com

From Sharon G., April 4 2009

I have a WeekDate too. I've been using WeekDate for 3 years and can't live without it. Once you're hooked on writing your set schedule on the top and bottom, it's hard to go back to anything else. Keeps my life straight, my kids straight and my business-on-the-side straight. I'd go insane without it. THeir website is www.weekdate.com.

From falz, April 12 2009

Great post about webmasters. Thanks for it!

falz's last blog post..Wordpress Rss'leri Kapatmak

From Twitted by StacksAndStacks, August 3 2009

[…] This post was Twitted by StacksAndStacks […]

From Strata Scheme, October 21 2009

I am exactly like you…I write down the next day's programs and things to do, the previous night…I also set reminders on my mobile to remind me certain things.

From Portland Heating and Cooling, October 29 2009

My reminders are stuck on the fridge the previous night…so that I can see it in the morning.

From matt, August 3 2011

a paper shredder is all i need :D
matt's last blog post..Halo 2 Theme Metal by Steve Vai

From Sara, August 6 2011

I love the photo of a woman under a pile! That was me before I started keeping my life organized ALL ON MY SMARTPHONE. The one problem I have is when I lose my phone - Oh, and I am not so good about backups either!

From Addies, August 9 2011

Agreed with @Sara, really love the picture. And yes, its indeed all life stuff.
:)

From Nupur, July 22 2012

I loved your honest post about relying on paper-based planners. I am where you were a few years ago - trying to pin down the perfect planner for me. I have been trying to use a mixed-model where I note down all my to-do's (daily, weekly, monthly and yearly) in Google Tasks or Asana {but I am looking for something better. I note down appointments in my paper planner (Franklin Covey). This planner is expensive so I am looking for cheaper options. I got some really great ideas from you and the commenters. I am certainly going to try these out and come back here to comment when I find the perfect one (which i'm guessing will be a while).
BTW - I really like your blog.

From Eva Wallace, July 23 2012

Thanks Nupur! Good luck to you!

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