So for this blog post, I would like to present to you a productivity hack, that is really working for me. That is going old school with my calendar.

Why go old school?

I have various pain points when using digital calendars and reminders:

  • My setup is complex, so sometimes adding an invite on one device does not correctly sync across all devices.
  • Effectively I some times lose invites / calendar entries.
  • Sometimes entering information on digital calendars just disappears
  • If the data is entered incorrectly it effectively disappears
  • I have so many reminders I basically just ignore them or mute them
  • I’m terrible at remembering events
  • I’m terrible at remembering important dates e.g. people’s birthdays and remembering to get care & presents in advance.
  • Calendars don’t give you a good way of seeing all the items on the agenda for a day, all in one go – or their associated important tasks.

What does going old school mean?

Simply put, I’ve taken a simple square ruled notebook and marked each 2-page spread with a single day, and put dividers in it for months, it currently supports about 5 months worth of days.

This allows me to put the agenda / plan for the day, and scheduled meetings on the right-hand side.

On the left-hand side, I use this to mark critical recurring tasks and responsibilities, and any important tasks / reminders that I need for the day.

When I have something urgent to do the next day, I make it really clear the night/day before in the notebook so I remember it.

It also allows me to put in important personal dates to remember such as birthdays.

Furthermore, it also allows me to put in important dates and hashtags that our company should be using on a particular day.

And in addition, It also allows me to quickly browse through a week to see what’s happening or look back at what happened very easily.

How has this addressed these pain points?

  • I have a main source of the truth now for reference, and committing to something means it goes in my notebook!.
  • There is no more losing digital invites
  • Things only disappear if I cross them out!
  • Data entered incorrectly can be easily found and corrected
  • No reminders necessary, in that I can review the next day, or few days, and this reminds me of stuff I must remember!
  • I’m terrible at remembering events – the notebook allows me to write them down, and review them regularly
  • I’m terrible at remembering important dates e.g. people’s birthdays and remembering to get cares & presents in advance, again the notebook allows me to write them down and review them on a regular basis.
  • I can see all of a single day, or over multiple days or weeks quite easily by flicking through the pages.
  • I can list out my important tasks, which acts as a reminder, and allows me to mark them as complete when done

Resolving all this stuff makes this a favourite productivity hack!

What next?

I intend to carry on using this technique. I still put things in the digital calendar, but my offline notebook diary is my main representation of my schedule and the ‘truth’.

How can you do this?

Simple; buy a blank notebook (or diary pre-populated with dates) – and spend some time preparing it as described above. Then use it in anger, and it will grow organically, and it will become to be a vital organisational tool in your productivity armoury.

It would be fabulous to hear if you use a notebook for your calendar or diary – and any tips or do’s/don’ts you have for using it. Let us know what you think of our productivity hack.

You can see more here about how we’ve used a great productivity tool in our everyday working life too.

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