Organization, Productivity

Becoming a digital convert

I’ve been using a hybrid paper/ digital planning “system” for a long time now. My paper option is the Wonderland 222, and then I use Google calendar.

But I’m finding myself actually “needing” my paper planner less and less lately.

I do still use it, but it has slowly dropped into being my more secondary option, versus my primary, or master calendar. Also, I am finding that many weeks I end up sitting down and essentially just copying things into my paper planner from my Google calendar. Which is….redundant, and quite possibly a waste of time.

I LIKE my paper planner, but I’m suddenly wondering if I really need it!!

Also, we are just pretty darn busy. The monthly squares on my A5 planner get really, really full. Too full! I often end up cramming things in there. Between various activities, events, etc for all 4 of us, it’s often just not enough space.

I don’t really want a larger planner, though.

We also face a lot of schedule changes! I frequently get “updates” to the team apps, etc with time or location changes, or game cancellations, etc. Changing things in digital format is just so much easier.

The kids and Ivan also have access to the family Google calendar- which syncs to our refrigerator electronic calendar, and they each have it on their phones.

Here is a peek at this week’s calendar 😳:

The kids didn’t have school yesterday. Don’t worry, I didn’t have Ethan skip school to work at McDonald’s. He wanted to pick up a shift since he’ll be gone all next weekend.

Another thing I traditionally have used my paper planner for is for keeping track of to do items. But Google tasks is honestly so much more convenient!! And it already lives right next to my Google calendar… which I have open on my desktop all day long.

Here is a snippet of that. I have a whole bunch of different task lists, but the top one is titled “Do TODAY”. I have another one below called “This Week”, and then a bunch of other categories. I try to look at the This Week list each morning and then move a few items to the Do Today list.

This upcoming weekend is nuts for Asher. Ended up with MULTIPLE games between soccer and VB.

Typically, I have always done this by hand, in my weekly planner pages, like this:

But as you can see…. yesterday I never even filled it out! And I haven’t had a chance to update the rest of the week yet, either. This seems to be happening more and more often.

And really, why do I need to write it all there, when I can just have it in the sidebar of Tasks in Google calendar??

Those top items I like to track = W (walk), R (read) , my workout, plus what’s for dinner at the bottom… but couldn’t I just add those to the “Do TODAY” list, too?? Like this, see below:

I’ve made a separate Meals task list in Google Tasks where I list meal ideas/ meal plan for the whole week.

Anyway, just something I’m noticing and thinking about. I like the idea of using paper. It feels quaint and the idea itself is lovely. But as we seem to get busier and busier, it’s just making more and more sense for me to lean into DIGITAL!

My paper planner is becoming less truly functional and more redundant (yet, enjoyable to putter around with…. 🙂 )

I also don’t always have my planner with me (say, at the orthodontist). But I do always have my phone with me….. hence I always have my Google calendar AND my Tasks list with me. Just kind of makes more sense.

It also helps that the swim team, school, volleyball team, and even the school lunch menu! have a shared Google calendar, so I can literally see all of those (when I want- I usually keep them unchecked most of the time) at a glance too, which is SO AWESOME.

Final note: I keep my work stuff mostly separate (in work Outlook calendar), but I do love that I have the SPACE in Google Calendar to easily add important work meetings to my personal calendar, too. On my monthly paper calendar, with so much kids’ stuff on there, I wouldn’t have room there for work stuff, too, even if I wanted to!

Are you using a paper calendar, digital, or both??

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for having my windows open today!! And sunshine.

33 thoughts on “Becoming a digital convert”

  1. I’m 100% digital and have been really since like…. oh, 2005 lol. I did use a paper planner always during college but that was pre-iphone. After college but pre-iphone (a dark 5 years haha) I must have just used my work outlook to keep track of things? I don’t recall having a paper planner then. Once I got an iPhone in 2009 I was fully digital and used Google Calendar for everything, and then in 2013 I started at my current job that uses Google so I can see my work and my 5ish home Google calendars on one calendar. My husband and I share access (to everything but our individual work cals) and mine looks pretty much like yours except add on my work meetings! Everything is color coded. I don’t use a to-do list but sometimes keep emails in my work or personal inbox I need to deal with (I archive anything else I don’t need to see or have dealt with).

    ALSO yes SERIOUSLY grateful for the WARMTH! In Minnesota today there was a collective giddiness that almost makes the past 6 months worth it 🙂 I truly do love SO MUCH the joy that everyone here feels those first few warm days!!!


    1. Can you expand on how you don’t really have a to-do list of any kind? Do you just keep track of things in your head? I don’t feel like I’m 100% on my to do list system, but I feel like I NEED to have some place to dump things that I think of that I need to do! Google Tasks has been working for that, though like I said, I’ve also used paper planner pages or just a notebook in the past, too.


  2. Oh man Kae… I could have written this post, maybe I will! I’m in a very similar position and not sure how I feel about it. More and more, my paper planner seems to be a creative rather than a practical outlet. I’m using my Hobonichi Weeks to put appointments in (and I have the cover that acts as a card holder so it’s really handy) but I’ve just set up a Google Calendar. And I’m loving Todoist for my actual tasks. Very conflicted about this!!!


    1. I feel like my current favorite way to use my paper planner is actually more for the tracker system (in my Wonderland there are Habit Tracker pages), and then I have other little sections in the front where I can track certain other things as well. In the notebook/ daily pages, I use those kind of as a journal- so I jot down like what I did that day, my workout, what I read or listened to, etc. Those are the things I think I most want to continue on paper! But in terms of the actual calendar part, I definitely am leaning way more towards digital! Would love to see a post on how it’s all looking for you these days. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hahaha.. hmmm! That’s a good question! I had never really thought about it. I could see it being useful to have the habit tracker history easily accessible, versus paper that eventually gets stored or thrown away. Maybe if there were a Google Habits app I could get on board, to keep all my systems linked. 😜

        Liked by 1 person

  3. My husband says – and it’s mostly true – that he lives and dies by his online calendar. He never uses a paper planner – EVER – but if something isn’t in his digital calendar…it isn’t getting done.

    I have actually stopped planning digitally, and am back to exclusively paper. I just love it so much and find the act of working in my planner restorative and a nice mental break from screens. I know it’s not productive in some ways – for example, I write down the same recurring to-do list of 15 items EVERY month. But it takes me 2 minutes and I digest what I’m going to do, ponder new ways to approach certain tasks, etc., while I copy it from month to month.

    I do think that if I jumped in with two feet to digital planning I’d love it, but I’m just so happy with paper and love the aesthetic and the sensation of looking back and forth between months, getting our different coloured highlighters…and even being able to paperclip in notices from the school.

    When I did a combo approach – some digital/some paper – I felt like my paper planner looked so…sad! Haha!


    1. That is interesting! I can see the benefit in writing down the to do items. I think the biggest hurdle for me is that my kids are in a lot and have many games, practices, etc., and it literally just does not fit that well on a normal calendar grid! And then like I mentioned, there are a good number of changes that seem to occur all the time, so digital is so much more practical. I still like using my daily pages as journals though, and I still love the trackers, but the actual calendar part is where I’m having issues with paper.


      1. Yes. My kids are still young enough that their activities are pretty manageable, especially during the school year. They have recurrent things on Tuesday – Thursday, but I don’t even need to write those things down because they are fixed times that, unless there is a cancellation due to holidays or weather, just never ever change!


  4. You seem so organized digitally!! I can see why you wouldn’t want to repeat everything on paper. I LOVED planning on paper until I had kids. I could never actually keep track of my planner and then, when my daughter was old enough, she would scribble on everything. Now we have a wall calendar and a weekly dry erase board- so, I guess that’s kind of still on paper. But it feels much different than using a physical planner!


    1. Haha, well I’m not sure I’m “so” organized!! But I’d say I’m “kind of” organized digitally, and I think I’m getting better and better as I have been using more digital tools and sort of settling into them a bit more lately! (Combo of Google Cal plus Google Drive/ Sheets/ Docs/ Tasks/ etc.)


  5. Same! I love the idea of paper, but I 100% just copy things and then wonder why. I’ve been thinking of switching to Artful Agenda ( because it’s digital and shows all your calendars at once (so my personal Google and work Outlook) and has spots for meals and water tracking and whatnot and is prettier than my Google Cal.


    1. Ooh, I’ll have to check that out! I’d never heard of Artful Agenda. I do find I sort of enjoy sitting and copying things into my paper planner. It’s something I can do kind of mindlessly, like if I am listening to a random inservice or something and I can kind of “multitask”. 😉


  6. Team Digital! Paper comes and goes, but I can get to my digital stuff from any device.

    The only time that I use paper is when I’m having trouble concentrating at work. Sometimes it helps to write out a task list and then cross stuff off as I get it done.


  7. I am 100% digital. I find that, increasingly, I cannot function without my calendar. If it doesn’t go into my phone, it doesn’t exist. Which is… problematic, but that’s how it is.

    Like Birchie, I sometimes hand write a to-do list because that feels more in my face than a digital task list (plus, I can hand write things my KID needs to do, too, and that helps both of us stay on top of things). But I still have most tasks — especially ones that need doing months out — in my phone, scheduled to remind me when I need reminding.


    1. I am interested to see how many people are team digital! I guess I thought more people were still into paper planning, for some reason. I always say I am kind of a “disorganized organized” person. I’m really not super duper organized in many ways. But I’m really leaning a lot more into things like digital reminders, putting notes to myself on my calendar, etc. For example, my older son went on a class trip last fall, and we had a meeting about it a month or more prior. They gave us the special group luggage tags at the meeting- a whole MONTH ahead of the trip, mind you- and said we absolutely had to make sure to bring them on the morning of the trip. Well, that stressed me out… totally seemed like something I could forget, after setting them aside for an entire month. So I put a reminder in my Google Calendar to alarm the night before the trip “don’t forget luggage tags”… and sure enough, had that alarm not gone off, I NEVER would have thought about those luggage tags in the file basket ever again! They were completely out of my head. ha. I was so grateful that I had thought ahead to put that reminder in my digital calendar! Anyway, things like that I’m doing more and more of, and it seems to pay off generally speaking.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I am like Birchie and Suzanne; I love the idea of a paper planner and I do like all of it right in front of me on a page, but I find it to be more inefficient now. However, I have a backpacking checklist on paper that I do like to manually check off each time I go, BUT I also have a digital one for that too and so I guess I am torn….I can say that everything is 100% digital BUT some things I still romanticize about and still do (redundantly) on paper.

    I did look back and I can find calendar items from more than 10 years ago, so the search function of the digital tools are unbeatable. Although my Mom still thinks she can find someone address in her rolodex faster than I can on my phone!


    1. One of my goals for this year was to make more digital lists in Google Drive, like holiday lists, packing lists, etc. So far I’ve really only done a Christmas spreadsheet. But I love the idea of slowly developing a bunch of personal tools like this. I can see printing a copy and then manually checking it off for each trip though- that totally makes sense!

      And hahaha about your mom!! Too funny! She’s probably right. 😉


  9. When my husband I first lived together, we only had one car. It was crucial we know each other’s schedule, so we both switched to a digital calendar and never looked back. We really like the Google calendar (which it looks like you use, too) because we can both use them, despite the fact that he’s an Apple and I’m a PC.

    I DO use a paper journal for tracking my quarterly goals, though. I have two monthly calendars for each month in there and I track my workouts, my communication goals, and progress with the dog in there. This works for me because I like to have a visual representation of these things, but no one else needs to see it but me!


    1. The whole ‘shared Google calendar” thing is pretty new for our family. The boys have only had phones since like last year, and my husband is not much of a calendar guy, generally speaking. eye roll. haha. But I’ve been pretty consistent about updating the Google calendar this last year, and everyone is getting used to it. The boys rely on it a lot now and look at it on our electronic fridge all the time (or their phones). My husband has/had(?) a habit of calling me on his way home from work almost every day to see “what’s going on tonight” (i.e., do I need him to pick anyone up from any practices, and if so, where and what time?). I recently started saying, “you know that’s all on the CALENDAR, right???” And he did at least admit that he could be better about checking it. I have noticed that lately I haven’t gotten as many of those calls, or at least if he calls to check in he seems to already know what’s going on that night, so I think it finally sunk in!


  10. i use both. for work only digital. for kids schedules google calendar. for planning vacations, household to-do lists I use paper. I find reviewing paper easier given the layout and I like to write it down when new tasks (for example when to review passport) in future months. I feel soothing to review/write, than doing it digitally which is more like a to-do if you know what I mean.
    when I open my paper calendar in the morning to set for the day, it’s a moment to mentally acknowledge the start of the day.
    I also like to track what I read/watch/goals in my paper calendar, as well as physical symptoms as it’s easy to look back in one page.


  11. I use both. Google aps are blocked at work so that really prevents me from embracing the google cal. I could use my phone but don’t like working off a really small screen when looking at my calendar so I still really rely on my W222. I have never used my W222 as heavily as you have, though. Like I don’t write out a daily page for example. I use the note pages in the back for things like notes from client meetings (nothing confidential of course) and it’s where I write out to do lists there, too. So I kind of have a hybrid approach but can’t imagine doing away with my W222. I love the review pages for writing out highs/lows and accomplishments. I really rely on those pages when writing my annual review at work.


  12. Kae, I haven’t commented before, but your system is so similar to mine, it made me chuckle. I know I am late to this but… I’m also in healthcare, have a hybrid schedule, and have 2 younger kids. Google apps are blocked for me at work. I use Outlook for my work calendar. I use Google for our master family calendar that my husband uses as well, Google tasks, and Google Keep for long term projects/ideas. I used to use W222 but switched to a Hemlock and Oak Weekly which I have loved for the slightly wider design and the layout. At the end of the week, I put my following week work meetings, family events, family to-dos, and habit tracker into my H&O. All of it may change during the week, but writing it all into one place forces me to look at potential schedule conflicts between work and family, what I need to prep, and what I need to prioritize. I try to look at my H&O at the end of each day to update or see what is the next day, but this is still hit or miss. I keep a separate to-do list for work where I use a color scheme for prioritization. I make a fresh list at the end of each week. It isn’t a perfect system, but I found just looking at my electronic calendars wasn’t keeping the events in my head well enough so I would feel flustered and anxious during the week. The ritual of writing was what I needed. I don’t know if this helps but another perspective.


    1. Yes, that’s so interesting! I can totally see how writing things down helps. I think maybe you’re right, and that’s why I still do continue to write things on my calendar too, even though it’s basically a duplicate at this point. Or maybe I just enjoy that process, I guess. Do you keep your work to-do list on paper then? Or is that digital?


      1. I have reoccurring digital tasks but one-offs on paper. I can get caught in my emails becoming my task lists so creating a written list, helps me get out of emails. I just read what SHU posted from Zen Habits on organization systems. I wholeheartedly relate to what he is saying about the fear of dropping the ball. I don’t like disappointing people or myself. I have to remind myself, aim for my best, not perfection. Instead of one to-do list as Leo mentions, I have a written master list for work and Google Tasks as the master list for home. And prioritize on a weekly basis from those. As you can tell I like thinking about this stuff. Lol.


  13. This is so interesting! I am probably more of a “digital native” than most commenters – I had an iPhone when I started college, and once I graduated I stopped paying for Microsoft suite and just use Google (docs/sheets/etc) at home. So, I have never used a paper calendar (or calendar planner pages) in my adult life. Instead I tend to use paper as a mental way to think through what I need to do and when, in ways that the tangible paper is more helpful to my thoughts processes. Examples:
    -In college I would often print a weekly view of my calendar, write my assignments/to-dos with due dates along the side, and then fill in the open spaces as I go through the week with bubbles suggesting when I can work on different tasks.
    -Now I have the Get To Work Book to-do list sticky notes, which I use for my daily-ish to-do list. I like it because it keeps me off of screens when looking at my to-do list (so I don’t pick up my phone to look at my to-do list and get distracted), and also because it’s aesthetically pleasing and because it limits the amount of items to a reasonable amount of daily tasks. I brain-dump my goals and at-some-point-soon to-dos either into a notebook or whiteboard, star anything that needs to happen soon, and then transfer onto the notepad when I’m deciding what to do today. That’s also when I check my digital calendar in case there is anything I need to do based on that (anything that needs to be done at a specific future date goes in my Google calendar).
    -My grocery list has never been written down on a sheet of paper in my entire life – it has always been on my phone.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that instead of starting paper and moving to digital over time, I assume things will be digital unless I want to do them on paper for some reason.


    1. Hi Jess! I just realized that for some reason this comment went into my Spam folder, so I hadn’t seen it. I hope you see my response. Anyway, this is so interesting! I think I am feeling more and more this way, too, in that I think I’m starting to assume that there exists a digital option for basically anything I need to do. I have always struggled with paper to do lists, at least in terms of master lists, because I never knew how to like, move the old things out and make room for new without it getting really messy or needing to rewrite a whole bunch of things. That’s why I love Google Tasks, because it’s just so nice to have the multiple lists! Like I said in my post, I keep a list at the top called Do Today and then another one title This Week, so I can go through my various other category lists (Household, Kids, etc.) a couple times a week and see which items I should move to my more prioritized lists for that day or week. That being said, I think paper still works for me for a very specific to do list, say, like if I’m making a list of things I need to do before a vacation, for example. Something I’m going to list, do, and then can just throw away. But for ongoing tasks or recurring items, etc., I am really preferring the digital format!


  14. I use both and I hope to keep it that way. One thing my paper planner sadly can’t do is send notifications (to me or others), sync calendars and easily accept “changes of plans’. Sigh. I am still working out the best hybrid way to use both.


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