Digital + Paper
Most task and project management systems are either paper or digital. It took me a while to figure out that the best system is a merge of both the paper world and the digital world.
Planning: Moving from Paper to Digital
I have always been a planner. Ever since I can remember I’ve been using paper planners. When I went off to college I found my local Franklin Covey store, applied to be an associate and stayed with the company all throughout my education. I dutifully used the 2-page per day planner for years.
Upon graduation and entering into my career, I started to get serious about moving to a digital system. When January rolled around, I commitment myself to getting rid of the paper planner and being “totally digital” for the year.
During that year I found some wonderful digital solutions for task and project management that never worked well with a paper planner. (You can learn about these digital systems in my course). However, I still found myself constantly grabbing post-it notes, scrapes of paper, and notebooks that I still had from my Franklin Covey days and scribbling various things on them. I didn’t have anywhere to store this information because I was “totally digital” so they’d just become a disorganized mess. However, I would keep the pile and then every week I’d need to go through all of these random and miscellaneous notes and process them into my trusted digital system where I could use the information.
The Problem with Trying to Always Capture Digitally
The moments when I most often reach for a piece of paper are when a random thought or task pops into my head that I don’t want to loose. I’m usually in the midst of something else when one of these thoughts appears. If I’m working on my computer, no problem — I’ll keep the information digital by inputting the thought into Evernote or the task into OmniFocus. If I’m not at my computer I nearly always have my phone on me so I do a fair amount of capturing directly on my phone.
However, these days I’m frequently playing with my daughter, out on an adventure with her or in the middle of cooking dinner. At these moments, I don’t want to open my computer or my phone to capture the information. I just want to write it down and continue with what I was doing.
For a while, I continued with the system described above: grab a scrap of paper, jot the thought down, then process the information later into my digital system. However, processing the notes started to become cumbersome.
The Problem with Capturing on Paper
I have a lot of thoughts and tasks that I’m writing down throughout the day and when I write them down on blank pieces of paper the volume of information can quickly increase throughout my week. Then when I’d be ready to process on Friday (see my schedule here), I’d have to comb through all of those notes to find what were upcoming appointments that needed to be entered into my calendar, what were grocery list items, where I wrote down a project idea and more. This processes could take some time.
My Solution: Capture on Organized Paper
This year, I started to organize the inside of my notebooks into categories so when something comes up that I need to write down, I now have an organized location to place that information. Now when I process, it’s really simple and fast! I have all of my appointments in one location and ready to enter into my calendar, all of my tasks in one location and ready to enter into OmniFocus and all of my general notes and reference information in one location and ready to enter into Evernote.
It doesn’t take any longer to capture information using this method and processing it at the end of the week is so much faster. I also have just one notebook where the information is going. Not spread throughout random pieces of paper. (Although, I still reach for post-it notes sometimes. =) Now I just stick them inside of my notebook).
Using this method is also a great way to take notes in a meeting. You’ll walk out of the meeting with all of the tasks associated with that meeting outlined, appointments outlined and reference materials outlined, all in their own categorized section.
The Clarity Notebook
I’ve loved this systems so much that I created a notebook specifically designed for the purpose of capturing information on paper. The Clarity Notebook is designed to capture life’s important information in an organized and structured way. Subscribe here to be notified of it’s release. Coming early 2016.