When so much information comes to us digitally, how can you keep up with it using a paper planner? One simple trick makes it easy.

Prior to 2001, if you saw me, you saw my Day-Timer. That book and I were inseparable. When a thought occurred about a place I needed to be, a thing I had to do, an idea, or there was information from a conversation, it went straight into the book.

In 2001, I set aside the book in favor of the Palm synced to Outlook. Remember the Palm? From that day forward, my system has been digital. So, what happened in 2001 that caused me to set aside something that worked well?

More and more information was coming to me digitally. My use of the Internet had matured. Often, when we tackle a task, we have reference information we need to have at hand. Writing long URLs in your paper planner is awfully tedious and invites error. When it comes time to do the task, keying the URL back into the browser is equally tedious and invites even more error.

With a digital system, I can copy and paste the URL right into the note section of the task. That technique works in just about any digital task manager. When it’s time to do the task, I’m one click away from having that information in front of me.

For those who simply like the feel of the paper and the act of writing in the planner, I have a very simple idea for you that minimizes the tediousness of hand-copying URLs.

One Google Sheet

We’re going to use a single Google Sheet. We’re going to make that Google Sheet ridiculously easy to access. Create this Google Sheet on your computer and then make a shortcut to it on the browser toolbar or on the desktop.

Go to your other computers, navigate to that Google Sheet, and create the same type of shortcut there. On your mobile devices, save that Google Sheet to the home screen. On any of your devices, you’re now only one click away from this spreadsheet.

We’re only going to be using one column of the Google Sheet. Furthermore, we’re going to leverage the fact that the rows are numbered.

When you have a to-do that’s going to involve revisiting a website, copy the URL. Instead of writing it in your planner as part of the to-do, go to this one Google Sheet you’ve created. Paste the URL in call A1.

Now, go to your planner. Jot down the task you want to perform. Beside it, put the number “1” in brackets. When it comes time to do the task, the “[1]” tells you to go to your Google Sheet and click the link in row 1. No need to handwrite URLs or rekey URLs.

What About Email?

How many times have you read an email, and that email required action you’ll need to take later? When you go to do the task, you want to put your hands on that email. How do you make that happen easily?

If you use Gmail, every email message has its own URL. Copy the URL. Go to this Google Sheet and paste the URL in the next blank row. Write the task in your planner and put the row number for the email’s URL beside the task and include the number in brackets.

You can safely archive the email to remove it from the inbox. When it comes time to do the task, your planner sends you to the correct row number on your Google Sheet. Click the link, and you’re viewing the email.

When a link is no longer needed, delete it. That row is now available for another URL.

Virtually all digital information you need can be accessed through a URL. That principle includes information in OneDrive, iCloud, Dropbox. Google Drive, Evernote, and many more.

So, write your task in the planner. Put the link on the Google Sheet. Connect the two by putting the row number beside the task and enclosing it in brackets. It’s that easy.

If you love your paper planner but have found it tough to navigate in a digital world, this one technique could be extremely significant for you.

Life is too short and time too precious to waste one more day. If you are someone who stumbled upon this site for the first time, let me help you take a major step forward right now. When you join my email list, I’ll give you two free gifts. The first will get your desk clean. The second will put everything you have to do in one place. Plus, each week you’ll hear from me with nuts & bolts tools and strategies to make life easier and more productive. You’re one click away from making it happen