People often ask me how I manage to stay so organized. Actually no one’s ever asked me that and I’m not sure why. Obviously, I’m on top of things, in control. And I owe it all to my two personal assistants. Thanks to them, my life is a perfect testament to efficiency and organization with just a touch of delusion.
Meet assistant number one, my smartphone. It can do everything except write my column and with a few more updates it might be able to do that too.
Assistant number two is my old-fashioned calendar/planner. In the age of electronics, some people think a paper planner is unnecessary. Careful observation will show that those people always know where their smartphone is.
I could never part with my paper planner. For one thing, it’s too big to lug around so it’s less likely to go missing than my smartphone. And it never needs charging. And I know how to use it.
I may never completely understand all the features of my smartphone. But I do love it. Its calendar looks so clean and neat all year. My paper planner only looks that way in January and maybe February, depending on what my New Year’s resolutions were and how long I kept them.
By March, the pages are crinkled and covered in stains, scribbles and even an occasional shoe print because I leave it on the floor beside my chair. But that’s only because I depend on it so much.
I need it nearby because my fancy smartphone has a way of disappearing when I need it most. On the bright side, it rings every time I get a spam call which is pretty darn often. So I’m able to track it down in the couch cushions or the linen closet—or underneath my planner on the floor.
My planner doesn’t ring, ding or vibrate like my phone does, but it does make seeing the big picture easier. I like having the whole week laid out before me complete with appointments, tasks and the occasional shoe print.
But my planner can’t remind me when it’s time to leave for appointments like my smartphone does—when it’s charged. And electronic reminders are very helpful when you pay attention to them.
I prefer my paper planner for to-do lists though. I love crossing off tasks so much that sometimes I write down things just to cross them off. Ate lunch! Done! Putting a task in my smartphone just to delete it isn’t nearly as satisfying.
Together my planner and smartphone are a team, backing each other up, making up for each other’s deficiencies. My smartphone is with me when I leave the house. My planner steps in when the smartphone is missing—or dead.
I’d like to say the result is a perfectly organized life, but I don’t like to lie during the holiday season. You see, there’s a flaw in my system. As clever as my two assistants are, they can’t talk to each other. That means when I’m out and about and I make an appointment on my phone, I have to remember to add it to my planner when I get home. And when I’m at home and make an appointment in my planner, I have to add it to my phone—if I can find it.
The result is I occasionally double book myself or miss something altogether because it’s not on the calendar I’m using at that moment. I’ve solved this problem electronically, though not satisfactorily. I’ve set a reminder in my phone to remind me to sync my calendars once a week. This works well as long as the phone is charged and I can find it.