Combine Digital and Paper Planning Tools for the Best of Both Worlds

digital and paper planningPeanut butter and jelly couldn’t be any more different, but together they make one tasty sandwich. Think about it, aside from being sticky and coming from a jar America’s two favorite food spreads offer divergent strengths. When they combine forces, however, they make a harmonious experience that everyone loves.

Paper and digital planning tools can combine in much the same way. Together they create a powerful hybrid planning system for those who wish to go that route. The key to successfully using them is to capitalize on the strengths of each tool.

Digital tools offer a mechanical advantage. They simplify the management of planning data by making storage, collaboration, and organization all easy, push-button processes. On the other hand, paper provides a more human experience, which compliments the personalized nature of planning. Paper and pen inspire creativity and emotionality, perfect for defining and pursuing your dreams and goals.

Your reasons will differ for using a paper and digital planning system. Some do it by necessity — their business uses Microsoft Outlook but they still enjoy using a paper day planner. Others are evolutionary types who enjoy digital technology such as the iPhone, yet find planning more effective on paper.

Planning is never a one-size-fits-all process, so you must find which tools work best for your individual needs. Here are some tips to creating a powerful digital and paper planning system: 

– Maintain a digital master task list. Enter all the details, including due dates and task notes, into your digital planner.

On a daily basis, write out a to-do list in your paper planner. The act of writing your tasks reinforces your commitment by creating a higher level of personal investment into completing the task.

– Digitize all appointments. Transfer from your daily notes and conversations into your digital planning calendar, such as Microsoft Outlook, or your Day-Timer iPhone app. This now serves as a master schedule that can be synced with and accessed by web calendars and mobile devices.

On a daily basis, write out your schedule into your Day-Timer. Or print it using Day-Timer’s Print Your Own planner refill pages, if you prefer. While keeping a second calendar is slightly redundant, creating a daily schedule in your day planner is a helpful way of reviewing your day. It also affords you the flexibility to write-in task times and last minute appointment changes.

– Use digital reminders. Having a bell chime 15 minutes before a meeting is a powerful notification tool. Set them on appointments in the master schedule of your iPhone app or Outlook program as a back up alarm to your paper planner.

– Balance work and home. Maintain your business schedule digitally and your home/personal calendar on paper. That way, on weekends and vacation you can rely on your day planner schedule.

– Maintain a key contact list on paper. Store your important phone numbers on paper in case your digital system fails, or is lost, stolen or damaged. Again, you can use Day-Timer’s Print Your Own pages with Outlook, or simply write them in directory pages by hand.

Digital and paper tools offer you distinctly different benefits. When used in a system, they offer a flexible and dependable planning system that caters to a wide spectrum of people and their lifestyles. If you have any thoughts or ideas on how you incorporate a hybrid planning system in your life please share them with us by commenting below.

Return to July 2010 eTalk: US edition | Canada edition

Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek can be reached at [email protected].

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23 thoughts on “Combine Digital and Paper Planning Tools for the Best of Both Worlds

  1. I just wanted to agree with those who miss the Digital Daytimer 2000. It was a great computer software, and I would love to have it back.

  2. If you are running Win7 x64 Professional or Ultimate, you can run XP Mode (WinXP SP3 in a virtual machine)and run Daytimer Organizer 2000.

    1. Thank you for sharing your knowledge Barbara. It’s great that we have a community that cares enough to help each other.

      — Jeff

  3. I use both Two page per day Daytimer and Outlook Express. While trying to keep both going seems redundant, it really comes in handy during job review times. It assists me in keeping better track of daily results. Plus, I archive the Daytimer for quick reference. The computer may be fast, but they do not last forever. My Daytimer notebooks have saved my skin more than once when the computer didn’t have a clue. In defense of the computer, the reverse is true. The computer is fast and has a huge memory.They are both indespensible

    1. Great perspective Larry. Thank you for contributing!

      — Jeff

  4. If you are using a Blackberry, I recommend Pocket Informant. I have been using it for years. It combines appointmant, tasks and contacts in one app. It also syncs with Outlook seamlessly!

  5. I use a Blackberry 8330 and would really like to have an app that utilizes the functions available w/Daytimer software. The calendar on the BB looks very much like Daytimer’s format, and is in fact what enamoured me to the BB over other multitasking devices.
    Any plans to offer a BB friendly platform?

  6. I agree. Thank God I was still able to install Daytimer 2000 on a new computer last summer

  7. I agree. Thank God, I was still able to install Daytimers 2000 on a new computer last summer. It is a great calendar, etc. programming tool.

    1. DTO 2000 worked with Vista but I lost the ability to print with Windows 7. This is a problem as I use it for a hard copy of my contacts.

  8. Thank you for all your comments, Dawn, Jim, Craig, Glen, Jerry, and Cheryl. We do hear you, and we are responding with new products that we believe will organize and plan yourselves.

    Thanks for your feedback!


  9. Why is everything designed for the iphone? I work for a school district and you are missing a market with this total Apple mentality. We use Androids, Blackberries, and Microsoft Mobile. We are talking about communication between employees in the 2nd largest school district in Texas and in the top ten largest in the country. You are missing an easy market. Yes, we have a great number of students that have iphones. However, the majority have regular or microsoft mobile. The educational field is now planning items that can be pushed down to those phones and also and let’s not forget the research.

  10. I wish you would use a format which eliminates appointments section but retains “To Do”, “Phone Calls”, “Notes” etc. sections…

  11. I tried mover and shakers on iPhone. It is not really business like. I really was looking forward to your digital version of day timer. I know you are working on a two way sync with outlook. Sure wish you would look at the comments on your app. It could be so much more.

  12. I fill almost every page of my indexed two page/day. I have to see my plans in order and during the day i fill the lines w notes of how things went. I use my Device as an audio reminer of events coming up.

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