Earlier this summer, I started using Google calendar for my calendar/planner instead of the paper planner that I’ve used for years. As much as I prefer a paper copy of almost anything, I’m trying to make best use of the tools I have. I’m using Google drive more: my Substack content calendar is there instead of stuck in a notebook. I got a Rocketbook (and I love it). I wanted to be able to sync calendar items with Justin, make as many entries as I needed without running out of space, and have my calendar with me all the time so I could check it and put deadlines and dates in right away instead of making a note to do it later. It was an experiment.
Almost anything is easier to start if I phrase it as being “an experiment.” An experiment is where you try something, get something wrong, tweak it, try it again. You’re not set on it turning out a certain way; matter of fact, you’re not certain that it will turn out at all. It’s the experience you are after. “This is an experiment” is what I told my boys about our vegetable garden this year. It’s also what I said about this swap from digital to paper. I don’t have to like it. I don’t have to keep doing it. I just need to try it.
However, it turns out that I do like it. I do like syncing calendar items with Justin. I do like having my calendar more readily accessible and being able to put things in it right away. It’s even given me space to efficiently meal plan—and make as many notes as I want—without taking up too much space for the day. I’ve added in birthdays and set them to repeat every year. I put in reminders to text people. I set repeating deadlines for forum posts for seminary classes. It sends me reminders before events. It’s made my life simpler and I intend to continue using it. Tech should be a tool that helps us and, when it is, I love tech.
The only downside is that my paper planner has a lot of space for notes and I am a notes person. I want to scratch out ideas and goals and lists and happenings from the day. I debated keeping another notebook before realizing I already had the perfect solution.
I opened my planner to the current week and divided it into four parts. One part for tasks or goals for the week, one part for ideas, one part labeled “for next week,” and one part for questions. I feel like these categories are fairly self-explanatory and they have given me space for thinking and planning that is not tied to a deadline but that I don’t want to forget. It’s dreaming space for what’s next. It’s a place to clear my head. It fills the lack that my digital planner has. The planner lays open on my desk and I scribble in it all week (and keep up with the books I’ve read in the back) but I don’t need to carry it around. I’ll spend the money for one next year just for this use.