Ask Jeff – Tip for Using Outlook with Paper Planner?

Jeff Doubek, Day-Timer SpokespersonWe continue to ask readers to send comments and questions to Jeff Doubek, Day-Timer Spokesperson. Your response has been fantastic. Here is an answer to a user question that might be of interest.

Hi Jeff,

I use the folio weekly planner and love it. But I have to use Outlook so my assistant at work can keep track of my schedule (and that’s synced to my cell phone app).

I much prefer the paper version planner but am in a trap it seems. How can I get away from making three entries into my planner/Outlook (one entry on the monthly calendar in my planner, one for the week/day, and the Outlook one)? My life doesn’t feel like it’s simple anymore despite how organized and planned out I get.

Any suggestions? – TC

Hi TC,

Doesn’t it always seem like technology presents advantages accompanied by new challenges? That’s ok, I can offer a few helpful tips.

Because you use Outlook in your office planning and you sync it to your smartphone, it seems natural that you should use your digital calendar as your main scheduling tool. It can be easily updated and it offers digital reminders – two great advantages. This leaves your paper planner for your to-do list and note taking, but that’s not all…

Here’s the important part:

With any planning system you must spend at least 5 minutes preparing your day.

  • This is when you can write out your to-do list and write out your daily schedule using your digital calendar as your main reference.
  • I don’t consider this a redundant activity because your weekly or daily schedule should include events such as daily routines, and blocks of task time you set aside.
  • In doing this, you can forgo updating your monthly calendar and instead use it for an alternative use, like monthly goal planning, family and social activities, project deadlines, or workouts and other personal growth activities.

Once you dedicate your tools to a specific purpose and utilize a morning planning session your system should feel less like a trap and more like a time management asset to your day.

Enjoy your time, Jeff

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Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek can be reached at jeff.doubek(at)

4 thoughts on “Ask Jeff – Tip for Using Outlook with Paper Planner?

  1. I’m in the same Outlook boat and pretty much do what Jeff suggests. One important part of my system, however, is that I use my monthly calendar as a diary to record major meetings/events of the day after they’ve occurred.
    Sometimes it can be hard to remember on which exact day a certain meeting occurred but I can usually pin down the month. When looking for old notes, I first look to the monthly calendar to find the meeting I’m looking for then I can go right to the daily page to see the actual notes. I’ve been doing this for a couple years and it works very well for me. I do, however, need the two-page monthly calendar instead of the one-page monthlies that come with the refills to fit all the necessary detail.

    • Phil, I really like the idea of using your monthly calendar as a record of events. Not a week goes by that I don’t look back at my calendar and piece together the timeline of events. Smart tip!

  2. I don’t always enter my appointments on my daily planning pages. I print out my weekly calendar from outlook, use the appropriate paper punch and insert it right into my daily pages, and move it as the week progresses.

    • That’s a great system Laura. thanks for sharing. It’s good to hear tips and tricks that others make work. Printing from Outlook is a fairly easy task, especially to Folio and Desk size planners.

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