You may have seen the television commercial in which a group of people are assembling in a conference room for a meeting. They make fun of the fact that one of their co-workers uses a paper and pen rather than an electronic tablet for taking notes. The shamed employee tells his colleagues to ease up on their attack because he’s just gone online and purchased a tablet so he can be just like them.
This commercial bothers me for a number of reasons, but mostly because it perpetuates the erroneous sentiment that one must use the most current technology to be successful. Never mind that pen and paper probably worked just fine for this perceived luddite – his associates couldn’t fathom that anything but the latest and greatest technology was acceptable.
Let’s consider the world of planning tools – paper planners, cell phones, tablets, computer-based programs, etc. Many of my clients are surprised to learn that I, a time management expert and coach, use a paper planner – and not one of those convenient, portable, purse-sized planners. I use a big 8-1/2 by 11 inch planner with a page per day – it’s big, it’s bulky, and it works great for me. And that’s the phrase that pays – “it works great for me.” It’s big enough for me to capture all of my appointments and to-dos, it allows me to easily plan my day and subsequently view everything I have to do on a particular day, and it allows me to carry with me any supplemental documents that I might need during the day.
When choosing your time management tool, don’t feel compelled to use any one format just because everyone else is using it. First and foremost, consider how easy it is to enter information into it. Are you ok with typing your appointments into an electronic device, or would you prefer to hand write them directly on the appropriate date? Do you want something that’s small and easily transported, or can your planner be stationary because you typically work from one place all the time? Do you need a lot of space to write lists, appointments and other information, or is a small space for each day adequate? Are you comfortable with having all of your information in one place, that, if lost, is probably not retrievable, or do you prefer an electronic device that can be backed up?
Don’t be pressured to conform to anyone else’s perception of the best planning tool. Find the one that’s right for you and enjoy getting things done when they need to be done. And feel free to kid me about my big, bulky planner.

Author's Bio: 

Internationally known professional organizer, author, and speaker Sue Becker is the founder and owner of From Piles to Smiles®. She enjoys helping people from around the world live better lives by creating customized systems to overcome their overwhelming paperwork, clutter, and schedules. She specializes in helping people who are chronically disorganized - those for whom disorganization has been a lifelong struggle that negatively impacts every aspect of their life, especially people with AD/HD. Her hands-on help, as well as her presentations, have helped thousands of individuals create substantial change in their lives.

Sue is Illinois’ first Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization. She co-authored the book Conversations on Success, and has appeared as an organizational expert on NBC News and the national TV show, Starting Over. A CPA, Sue has an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.