Friday, June 7, 2013

It's About Time

(From paper to electronic planning, with a free resource!)
By Phoebe Farag Mikhail

Starting today, everyone who subscribes to my blog by email will receive a free resource that I developed: “Keeping it together: the essential elements of a time management system.” It’s a one page checklist of the five things necessary for an effective planning system. Please allow 3-5 days to receive the resource when you subscribe. Current subscribers will automatically receive the resource via email. In this post, I’ll share the specific five examples I use in my system, and contains affiliate links to the products I use.

Call me a geek, but nothing beat the feeling of putting new planning pages in my FranklinCovey binder, the excitement of all the future plans that would be recorded on those pages, the inspiration from the quotes on every page, the notes that would be taken during interesting talks and productive meetings …

Those days are over. My husband got a tablet and converted to electronic planning, and it only made sense that I follow suit so that we could share calendars. So finally, I made the move to a hybrid electronic and paper planning system.

For my calendar, we decided on Cozi, a wonderful (and free!) app that allows the whole family to share an online calendar through a common family password. Every family member is color coded so that we know which appointments pertain to which family members, and the app synchs with the online K12 calendars and with Microsoft Outlook, which many people use at work. Its visually appealing user interface and ability to print out calendars to post in the kitchen or on bulletin boards almost replaces that paper planning feeling.

I access my Cozi calendar on my smart phone and my Amazon Kindle Fire, which I purchased mainly for its low price considering all its features, its smaller size compared to other tablets, and its “Free Time” feature for kids. Cozi works on Kindle Fire, Android tablets and phones, Ipads, and Iphones. It took me about two hours to transfer all my appointments and tasks from my paper planner to the online calendar, but the ability to share calendars with my husband (and potentially my kids when they get old enough to use it) has saved us hours and frustration trying to coordinate our daily changing schedules.

I keep my master list on Cozi, but I use these Moleskin Cahier Journals to keep my daily task lists and notes. Some of the pages in these notebooks are perforated, making them perfect for disposable notes like shopping lists. I use this inexpensive pen/stylus combo to keep with me (the package contains five), and keep it all together in this Kindle Fire Folio, which also has pockets to hold things like business cards and my kids’ vaccination cards. 

My planning system

Finally, I store my completed notebooks (and unused ones) in this plastic bin that I bought in a package from Costco:

How do you keep yourself organized? Please share your ideas in the comments!