Paper Based or Electronic Planning?

Paper Based or Electronic Planning?


Can you believe how quickly this year is moving? And as the time passes quickly by it’s now more important than ever that we organise our time and plan efficiently!


Without doubt the most asked question in my coaching sessions is “Should I use a paper based system or an electronic solution such as Outlook.” Unfortunately there is no simple answer nor is there a right method or a wrong method. At the end of the day it really comes down to:

  • Personal Choice
  • The nature of your work ( i.e. are you at your desk each day?)
  • Do you work from home and the office?
  • Are you the creative type who loves to write?

Unfortunately many people use a PC syncing to a PDA (i.e. Blackberry, iPhone to name a couple)because it is cool despite finding that this isn’t really the best solution. (You would be surprised to know how many IT professionals use pen and paper!) In reality there is no right or wrong solution it boils down to what works best for you considering how you work and where you work.

Today many people have decided that a compromise solution – commonly called the hybrid model – works best for them. This often sees people relying on their electronic devices for contacts and calendars but planning their activities with pen and paper. Personally I love Outlook’s simple ‘to do’ list for my master list of activities (especially the categories) which tracks all tasks for months ahead. It is then a simple task to transfer weekly and daily schedules to paper that can easily be taken with me ( I have become a moleskin devotee and their simple diaries work a treat)!

One of the biggest problems with electronic ‘to do’ lists is that for some reason we become blasé about items that appear in red or recurring lists of uncompleted tasks – there doesn’t seem to be the same urgency compared to a written task that needs to be ticked or crossed off the list as it is done.

I have never been a fan of printing off my outlook ‘today’ page it just doesn’t seem right and we seem more reluctant to scribble on the very organised & beautifully presented print out. I tried this for a few months and found tasks were slipping through the cracks on a regular basis.

Perhaps the tool is really very unimportant it is after all what gets done isn’t it? I remember reading an article by Mark McCormack founder of IMG who managed a frightening schedule by simply using a yellow legal pad with space for calls, ‘to do’s’ and appointments. He used this religiously for many years without a glitch.

Whatever you decide you must be consistent and place total trust in your system or you will miss critical actions and appointments.


Rob Golding

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