Tuesday, June 7, 2016

How to Ditch the Planner and NOT Have a Total Anxiety Attack in the Process

Okay, I know some of you are probably sweating just thinking about tossing your daily/weekly/monthly planner, but bear with me!

For starters, I wouldn't necessarily label myself as having either a Type A or Type B personality...I'm more of a hybrid of the two. This may make this system work a little better for me.

No matter what type of personality you have, you can ditch that bulky planner and still have absolutely everything organized and used in a functional system.


The Secret - Go Digital and Use To-Do Lists!

Here's How to Make the Transition:

1. Take Said Planner and Burn It! Just kidding, of course, but you can throw it in the trash or tuck it away somewhere for a while if you're having issues completely letting go.

2. Be Prepared to Go Somewhat Digital - This may be a little scary for some of you but it's super easy!


      Here are my suggestions for going digital - 
      1. Figure out what platform(s) you want to use and become familiar with them. Play around a bit. 
      2. Use whatever platform or device you are most comfortable with.
      3. I use my Outlook Calendar for school related tasks/events only and keep my personal items on my Google Calendar. I prefer the separation.
      4. A lot of schools already require employees to use Outlook Calendars for their schedules.
      5. Keep your planner as backup initially.
      6. Use technology in conjunction with the writing system you establish.


Here is how I use Outlook Calendars for school. 



Here you can see how I color-code my week according to school/type of activity. Organization is key!!

When you click on any of those blocks, it opens up a more detailed schedule, as you can see below. 




I make this schedule once in the beginning of the year and just set it to repeat weekly and tweak as needed. It seems intimidating but it's SO EASY to use and you'll get the hang of it right away. You also won't have to rewrite things over and over if there are regularly occurring events.


HERE IS A LOOK AT MY GOOGLE CALENDAR
This is what the calendars look like across devices. When you add an event to any device, it syncs and updates all devices that are connected to WiFi. It's so easy to use and stay up-to-date. (You also don't need WiFi or data to use the calendar if you are just viewing events or adding events without syncing initially)

View from Phone               Adding Event from Phone
 

Everything automatically gets synced to your Google Calendar on your desktop or tablet as well. 




OTHER HALF OF THE SYSTEM

7. Establish a Written System as Well, Especially if You're Just Converting to Digital - This may make ditching the planner seem pointless, but it really is a totally different and more organized way to go about doing things.

      1. Use To-Do Lists - To-Do Lists are AWESOME and I swear they motivate you to keep crossing tasks off! Use a specific notepad or place where you keep your to-do lists. There are also lots of apps for this if you're tech-savvy. 
      2. Use Post-It Notes in Strategic Places - If you need to print an IEP, use the digital Post-Its on your computer or put one on your laptop so you don't forget. It's that simple! You wouldn't write that in your planner anyway as it'd probably get lost in all of the other scribbles of a weekly/monthly planner.
     3. Keep a Consistent Place Where You Write Notes or Reminders - I have a little notebook where I keep all of my to-do lists, reminders, notes, and checklists. These are things that I wouldn't write in a planner or calendar. These are the more day-to-day items. (P.S. I'd lose my head if it wasn't attached so I write down everything! I also just love the thrill of crossing things off.)


Overall, this is why you want to convert to Digital Calendars and To-Do Lists:


- Even if you forget your planner at home, you still have access to all of your events and reminders AT ALL TIMES

- It's one less thing to carry and one less thing to forget (GREAT for itinerant SLPs)

- Digital calendars offer useful audible and visual reminders so you don't even have to look at your calendar to stay on top of things

- You can share your calendar with different people to keep everyone up-to-date

- You can use to-do lists to manage the smaller everyday tasks

- Sticky Notes are a great way for the 'here and now' quick notes and reminders. They are also great for putting in specific locations.




It all may seem a little crazy but I swear this system works for me and I am SUPER organized with minimal effort!

I'd love to hear how you stay organized with or without a classic daily/weekly/monthly planner.