Going Digital: How I Started Using My Laptop As My Planner

I know this is kind of contradictory to what I preach but this year I started to give mobile/tablet/laptop organizing a try. I did not get to finalize my custom planner before the school year started and I was anxious to jot down notes. So, I turned to my trusted Google apps and explored them more. It happened to work out nicely for my first two weeks of school. My phone has now become my little personal assistant, giving me reminders and organizing my tasks. Yes, I do organize it as I want, but using the tools available to me makes sense. After all I do have the Google Nexus 6, might as well take advantage of it.

Here are the successful things I have been doing:

Calendar
I have two primary emails, personal and school, and I organize my schedule the same way. All personally scheduled items like weekend activities and travel go on this calendar. Whereas, school related items such as my GA work shifts and classes go on my school calendar. I also label my items. For example, classes appear on my calendar as such, “Class: Behavioral Economics”. This helps me quickly identify what item I am looking at and helps anyone else looking at my calendar whom I’ve shared it with.

The calendar has been most helpful with reminders at work. I do a lot of follow ups with my GA position and having those reminders keep me on track. I also created a work specific calendar within my school email account to better organize it.

Homework Assignments
This was the trickiest one to incorporate since I’m mostly used to writing things down. I started to use Google Keep to log assignments. I make sure the items are listed with check mark boxes that I can clear when the assignment is done. By the end of the semester I will have a list of all checked items from the entire semester. I chose this option because it will be easy to go back and find assignments that were actually given, and I can easily set reminders to come back to an assignment.

This one has been the shakiest of them all so it may change again soon.

Other reminders and lists
For all lists of things to buy, do or keep track of, I put these into Google Keep as well. I color code the notes and even set reminders for many of them. This has been most effective because my phone is usually in arms reach when I think of something and want to remember it. The categories I color code include: lists, work, work reminders, personal reminders, and future references.

Google Keep works effectively sorted by email as well. Of course, all GA work related and school items go under the school email account and personal matters under the personal email.

Why You Should Try This
Obviously technology is taking over, we are all becoming more dependent on our phones, but there are great tools out there. I realized many more tools through Google by keeping everything digital. Also I don’t have a big fear of my information being stolen because I can access all of these notes on any computer through my email, and wipe out my phone from a remote location. I definitely still use pen and paper when I go grocery shopping (its something about having that paper in hand) but I have become more comfortable with adding events and reminders to my calendar, and typing up lists on my phone.

Give it a try for just a week, that won’t ruin your system too much. Go digital with your planning and tell me how it works! Eventually I will be creating an eBook about digital planners and organization so stay tuned!

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