What’s your preference for planning? Is it paper or digital? I have been organizing my life digitally since 2001 because of the amount of information I started receiving digitally. A system that kept digital information digital just made sense.

However, many people prefer a paper planner. The feel of the paper, the ability to have it always “in your face,” and the freedom to choose the right page layout makes paper the preferred choice.  Used correctly, a paper planner is a great tool to put everything which requires your attention into one place.

Perhaps a paper system is your choice, but you have not found page formats which suit you. Perhaps you don’t want to spend money for commercially-prepared pages. If either of these descriptions is applicable, this post is for you. Click the links in this post to download the needed pages.

Paper Planner Daily Page
Time ManagementThe layout for this page matches the concepts I teach regardless of whether you are planning with paper or planning digitally:

  1. Items should be worded clearly.
  2. Like items should be batched together.
  3. You will find a space to list your “Fab 5” for the day.
  4. Of course, the page provides a space for appointments.
  5. An entire page to take notes from phone calls, meetings, or other information you need to trap. It takes the place of the memo pad beside the phone. You can become the master of documentation!
  6. You have a dedicated space to answer the all-important question, “How did you make today count?”

The page size is 8 1/2 X 5 1/2, meaning you will get two pages per sheet.

Print a copy to use as your master. Duplicate as many pages as desired front/back. Put the pages on a paper cutter, punch holes, and you are ready to go. This page is where you take notes from meetings, phone calls, etc. Documentation is easy when you have this space available.

Monthly Calendars
Click the tab for each month and print. Put the pages on a paper cutter, hole punch, and insert them into any notebook designed for pages that measure 8 1/2 X 5 1/2. Use the back of each page for additional information related to that month.

Goal Planner 
Goals or projects are different, in that they are accomplished through a series of tasks. We need a place to house all of the tasks and related information for the projects we undertake. We then “farm out” the specific tasks to specific days. Having some Goal Planner sheets in the back of your book gives you control of the big picture.

Master List
We all have those tasks we want to accomplish “sometime,” but do not want to assign a specific date. The “Master List” provides a parking place for these items. Put some of these sheets in the back of the planner, and you will never be at a loss for a place to trap the random tasks which come to mind.

1-on-1 Agendas
You likely have a few key people with whom you have on-going communication. Each page gives you space for 16 people with a block to list topics. The next time you get that person in front of you, work the whole list.

What tool do you use to stay organized? Is it paper or digital? For those who organize with paper, what commercial pages do you use (if any)? For those who organize digitally, what software do you use?