Benefits of A Printed Organizer/Day-Timer

It doesn’t matter whether you are a full-time businessperson, a stay-at-home mom, a nine-to-five office worker, or a shift worker, you need a system in place to plan your day, and to organize and prioritize all your events and tasks.  No plan means things get left undone, urgent jobs get pushed back, and you forget to do things.

We used to have a notepad and pen or a pile of post-it notes, but these days, digital devices have taken over. Can you remember the last time you wrote yourself a reminder? Most of use our digital devices as a calendar and reminder system, but is it the best way to go? Has a good old pen and paper been banished?

I still use a pad of paper and a pen. I even have a whiteboard on the wall by my desk, with all my daily tasks on it, but many think that’s an odd way to do things these days. I get asked, “Why don’t you just set reminders on your phone?” Apart from the fact that I don’t like my phone pinging at me every five minutes, there are scientific benefits to using a paper planner rather than a digital one. So, if you’re a die-hard digital planner, just cast your eye over these benefits.

Fewer Distractions

Most people automatically think of reminders and notifications when they think of digital planners compared to paper planners. I mean, how convenient is it to have your phone ding at you when it’s time to go somewhere or do a recurring task? But think about this – how many notifications, on average, do you get every day? And how many of those reminders or notifications do you take notice of? Do you wipe them off your screen?  We hear so many dings and notification popups, we’ve become desensitized, to the extent that half the time, we don’t even look at the reminder – we know that those dings are annoying, and they distract us.

Studies show that spending too much time looking at your phone screen harms your brain, so while it seems convenient to use your phone as a planner, all you are doing is compounding the issue. And be honest here, how many times have you started reading a reminder and got side-tracked by a Facebook notification? So much so that suddenly an hour has passed, an hour of wasted time.

When you use a pen and paper to write your daily plan, you give your eyes a rest, and you rest your brain from the seemingly endless number of emails and notifications you get. In short, your focus improves, and you give your brain a much-needed rest.

There’s more to pen and paper than you think, so read on!

Better Memory

You’ve heard this before, but probably you just brushed it aside like an old wives tale – writing things down helps you to remember them better. It is true, but there’s a bit more to it. Not only will you formulate your plans better, but handwriting also stimulates specific brain cells located at the base of your brain that help to increase your focus.

Writing is a physical activity, and that action is what triggers that part of the brain and pushes it into the high-focus mode. When you write a goal down, your brain works hard to make you remember it. A study done at the Dominican University in California found that when people wrote their goals and shared them, making themselves accountable for them, they were more than 30% more likely to stick to them than those who made mental notes about their goals.

Using a digital screen stops that brain triggering from happening; it’s like having a shield in front of you, blocking you from what you are doing. So, in simple terms, writing your planner by hand engages your brain much better than just typing them on a screen.

Better Motivation

When you write longhand, it takes a lot more effort, but it also ensures you are to the point and concise. Sure, typing is faster and easier, but it does make it hard to refine your thoughts and be selective. If you are making the switch from paper to digital, or vice versa, check out your notes – I bet the handwritten ones are more to the point and make more sense than the digital ones.

When we write, we can clarify things, and we can connect mindfully with our tasks and goals. When you draw up a written to-do list, you can abbreviate certain things, but for long-term planners and goals, it’s better to be precise – the relationship between what we think and the language we use is very strong, so when you write a goal down, it sticks in your mind. And how convenient is it to have your goals written down, staring at you in the face?

Less Stress

There are far more benefits to writing your plans than just better organization. It may surprise you, but Japan, probably the top country in the world for digital technology, thrives on using pen and paper. They refer to it, in wit, as a “techno planner culture” and virtually all Japanese people take time to use pen and paper, stickers, drawings, color coding, and so on, to organize their thoughts and their day.

Lots of studies link handwriting with mindfulness and many people who seek therapy for stress-management recommend keeping a hand-written journal, simply because of how therapeutic it is. Much like meditation, writing by hand helps you to sort your thoughts out, and because it takes so much more effort, you learn to be selective about your words. That improves how you define things, such as your goals, attitudes, and feelings. As you write them down, you learn how best to deal with them.

A Healthy Habit

In the same way as writing your plans makes you more inclined to commit to them, writing in a planner is a commitment too.  We tend to cling to the physical more than the digital, simply because it is real. With the digital, with a screen separating you, committing to notification or a planner tends to be lost among all the other notifications, apps, reminders, and other stuff on your computer or mobile device. When you have a physical planner or a notepad and pen on your desk, you’ve got a physical reminder to use it.

And if habits aren’t your thing, using a physical planner could be the first step in making a positive change. Research has shown that new habits take anywhere from 21 to 66 days to form which means, you only really have to use a paper planner for a month or so before it becomes a habit – not long at all.

Combining all these steps leads to the critical points of productivity – writing your goals and daily activities by hand will make you more motivated, more organized, and more productive.

Now, have I managed to change your mind? If you are considering taking a paper planner for a trial run, there are a few tips to bear in mind.

Evaluate What You Need

Think about a typical day in your life. Do you get so busy that you occasionally forget things? Try a basic daily planner with dates. If you prefer to draw up long, detailed to-do lists, you want a planner that has the space for that. If you prefer a planner that you can track both long and short-term plans that helps you track things and boost your productivity, look for an appropriate planner – a yearly, page-a-day diary is the most common one.

How Much Do You Want to Spend?

Set a limit. Is a $50 planner any better than a $5 planner? Or a pad of paper and a pen?  You don’t need to spend a fortune, make sure you get something that suits your needs.

Have a System

Think about what you want to write, what you want to track, and then think about how you want to do it. You could use colored stickers for indicating importance, for example. The important thing is not to make it complicated – it’s no good if you can’t read and understand your planner!

Import Your Data

If you have a digital system in place already, make sure you go through every tracking or planning app and your calendar to transfer the data over. If you have recurring goals, make sure those are added in the right places in your new paper planner, too, to make the switch as seamless as possible.

Try it For One Month

Go on, take the challenge. Try using a paper system for just one month and see how you get on with it. Set a reminder to make sure you complete your daily planner every day and try to make it into a new habit.

Productivity is directly linked to your adoption of good habits, great systems, and useful tools, as long as they work FOR you and not AGAINST you. You don’t have to go completely paper; you can have a combined system of paper and digital, again, as long as it works. And if it works, make sure you stick to it.

Some people find using manual paper planners are simply not efficient, but in an increasingly digital world, there is strong evidence in favor of using a paper planner. It could well be one of the easiest steps that you take toward being healthier and more productive.

Quote – The more business a man has to do

The more business a man has to do, the more he is able to accomplish; for he learns to economize his time.

— Judge Hale

Quote – Haste and Rashness

Haste and rashness are storms and tempests, breaking and wrecking business; but nimbleness is a full, fair wind, blowing it with speed to the haven.

— Thomas Fuller

Quote – Don’t let business control your life

Drive thy business, let not thy business drive thee. — Benjamin Franklin

— Benjamin Franklin

Organizing Your “To Do” List Using The ABC Method.

A “To do” list refers to the list or table of the tasks that need to be done in a given time, and the duties arranged according to their priorities. To ensure all the jobs are organized according to the priorities, it is essential to use the ABC method to categorize the task. The ABC methods assign the most important and urgent task letter A and those are the things which require completion first. Letter represent tasks that are not urgent, but they are essential. C refers to the jobs that are not important nor urgent and get the least priority.

Therefore there are several benefits of using the ABC system in your working area or your activities. By using the ABC method, you will be able to attend to the most urgent task before doing the others. Some task needs to be done before the time expires because after the time is over, you will not be able to do them again. Therefore in this article, we are going to look at how to use the ABC method of organizing your “to-do” list. Some of the top tips include  

1. Ensure you keep an excellent ongoing record each day

If you are a very busy person with a lot of things to accomplish every day. It is essential to ensure you prepare a “to-do” list that will guide you on what to do each day. When you do not have a “to-do” list each day, there will be higher chances of doing things that are not essential in that day. Therefore the first thing to consider is to ensure you have an ongoing “to do” list. Since some vital task can arise, ensure you always update your list daily or weekly. 

2. Include the essential things in your list

Some of the essential things that you should include in your list are such as due date of the tasks, name, a brief description of the job, the required time to complete, date and the task name. Those details are essential to ensure you give the right task the needed priority. If you are dealing with office work that involves different people, ensure you indicate the person required to handle a particular job and at what time.

3. Review your “to-do ”list

It is essential to consider your “to do” list before you begin to categorize the list according to the ABC system. The purpose of reviewing the “to do” list is to ensure you have included all the task in your list. Therefore if you are preparing a “to-do” list for one week, assure that the list contains all the functions that you are required to do throughout the week. Also here you can break the immense task into the smaller jobs and indicate the time needed to complete them.

4. Prioritize your list

At this step, it is now the time to prioritize the tasks in the list to ensure you work on them according to their priorities. Make a table which is assigned letters A to C. The table should include the time needed to do specific work. Also, the due date should be included on the table.

What priorities should you assign to letter A?

The task that should be assigned to letter A should be a very urgent one. These kind of jobs are the ones with minimal time and are very important. Also, the tasks which should be included in the A table should be done very urgently.

Priorities assigned letter B.

The tasks that are in the table named B are the ones which are essential but not very urgent as compared to the job in A. the task in this category is not very time-critical. They can wait for some time before their completion. For instance, if you are a business person who needs to deliver customers’ orders, you should start with the ones that need to be performed within the shortest time possible. The duties with few remaining days can be put on table B while the ones with few hours on A.

Priorities assigned letter C.

The kind of task that is included in this category are not urgent and also are not necessary, but they should be done. Some of the things to assign here include the party invites, interruptions, and some social invitations. 
However, if you have several tasks in each of the three tables, AB and C, you can arrange them as follows. In A, you can have A1, A2, A3, and many more. The A1 should be the task that needs to be done urgently, and others can follow. The same thing can be done on the other tables. 

Conclusion

Therefore after considering the above discussed ABC method of organizing your “to-do” list, now the other essential tips you should know to include estimating the time for each activity, ensuring you follow your ABC method in your list, follow your schedule, learn to reject some offers, be accurate and do everything as planned unless unavoidable circumstance arise. Therefore by considering the above-discussed tips, you will be able to organize your “to do” list and succeed personally or professionally.

Related References

Quote – Time is like money

Time is like money; the less we have of it to spare, the further we make it go.

— H.W. Shaw

The Value Of A To-Do List

Let’s face it; we all forget sometimes. With the copious amount of information our brain stores, it is extremely difficult or to just put it plainly, impossible, to recall all of them. For this reason, we usually need something to help us remember what we are supposed to do and at what time. A to-do-list is one of the best ways to do this. So why are to-do-lists important to have? Well, let’s find out.

  1. It helps you save time

The fact that time can neither be stopped nor reversed makes it one of the most precious things in the world. When making a to-do-list, you usually write down when certain activities should be completed especially those with deadlines. This helps you complete them early enough so that you don’t rush hours to the deadline and end up doing poor work that could potentially lead to loss of clients or even your job. Moreover, you get ample time to complete all your other tasks. We would recommend setting time limits for all your activities. This makes you even more productive. 

2. Allows you to set priorities 

Letting your head organize your work as you go is like playing Russian roulette. You are typically leaving everything to chance, and soon enough, you will end up failing to accomplish a more urgent task simply because your head dint have it on the top priorities. Making a to-do-list, however, allows you to arrange your tasks from the most important to the least important. By doing so, even when your head is flooded with other thoughts, you are able to remember what task needs to be looked at urgently. In short, you will never skip an important task.

3. Helps you reduce stress and anxiety

Everyone wants to have a stress-free work life, and the vision of such a life varies for most people. However, we can all agree that when you’re happy, your family is happy and your boss or client is happy then you are less stressed in life. Now imagine a situation where you keep on waking up in the middle of the night to complete work you should have done during the day because well, you forgot. First of all, you will keep disturbing your family with your movements. Secondly, you will be panicking because you’re working on a limited time. Thirdly, the work you will deliver might not satisfy your client. So to summarize this, neither your family nor your client will be happy, and this will, of course, increase your stress level. With a to-do list, you are able to avoid such problems. As a matter of fact, just having it gives you a sense of confidence that you will be able to finish the tasks required of you. This already reduces your stress the moment you wake up in the morning to work.

4. You are able to monitor your progress

We all love it when we put a tick or cross out an accomplished task on our to-do-list. It usually shows progress. Whether it was a personal goal like shedding off some extra weight or a professional one like making your first $100,000, you are able to see your progress and achievements. This usually motivates you to even go an extra step and get that body you desire so much or even make more money from your work. This is the power of writing down what you want to do. It shows you just how far you have come and how far you can go.

5. You become a more organized person

Prominent people like Elon Musk and Bill Gates have a system. They know how to organize themselves in a way that helps them get things done faster and efficiently. That is why they have achieved so much in their life. The main reason for having a to-do-list is to keep you organized. It helps make tasks easier and more manageable. It also shows that you have a plan. A person with a plan is more likely to achieve his/her goals faster and more effectively than one who just dives in aimlessly.

Conclusion

As you can see, a to-do-list not only improves your memory but also makes you more productive, less stressed, organized, and motivated to get on with your work every day you wake up. So get your to-do-list notebook or app and start planning today.