Does anyone out there share my belief that if I have the proper time management tools (planner and whatnot) I will magically become organized and productive? I definitely think this, however irrationally. Right now, I'm trying to decide if I want a new planner.
For about the last year I have been using my iPod Touch as a PDA. My go-to to-do list is Remember the Milk (free online, but $25/year to be able to sync between your computer and iPod). I really like the way RTM lets you put your tasks on different lists (job applications, Con Law, etc.), but also lets you look at all your tasks at once (Google Tasks lets you divide your to-dos among different lists, and I like the way you can integrate it with Google calendar, but you can't look at all of the tasks at once, so it's not so useful to me). You can also postpone tasks when you don't get them done on the day you'd planned (not that I would know anything about this, of course!), and tag with whatever label you like.
For scheduling, I use Google Calendar, although for most of the semester, my schedule is pretty fixed, so it's not that I have to check where I have to be at a given time; it's more a way to have a record of the things I've been doing, and to plan ahead (for instance, to see how far away finals are. About which I am currently in denial, kthxbai.)
Anyway, I went to these tools because I'm on my computer all. the. time. (since I take notes on my computer, I'm on the computer any time I'm in class, for instance), and the ability to enter something once on the computer and have it show up in my iPod was crucial.
But it's funny how you get bored with your tools, even if they're working (or maybe this is just me?). Because right now, I really hanker after my old paper-based blanner. I used to use this one:
The paper in this planner is nice and smooth and stands up to fountain pens (which I use a lot); I also like that the schedule is broken down by hour and that it's separate from the to-do list section. (I'd always write in my classes for the semester and fill in those blocks of time with different colored highlighters, because I'm OCD like that, but also because then I could glance at any day and see how much free time was left.) And I HAVE to have a page-per-day layout.
I think what I miss most about this planner is physically crossing tasks off my to-do list once I finished them. I really enjoyed crossing-out something I'd finished, and it was always uber-satisfying to look at a day's list and see 3/4 to all the tasks triumphantly struck-out. In Remember the Milk, completing a task merely erases it from the list, which makes sense (having all your completed tasks hanging around would get awfully cluttery, since it's not so date-centered), but just isn't as satisfying, because you always have tasks left staring at you, without any sign of what you have actually accomplished. (You can go back and look at completed tasks, but it's just not the same.) At this time of the semester, when I always have overdue tasks staring accusingly at me, I really miss seeing that I've at least accomplished SOMETHING.
But then, I do go back and forth: when I've been using a paper planner, I miss the slick graphics of the electronic world, where my schedule and tasks look far more elegant and organized than anything I can write on a page, where recurring tasks reappear as if by magic, where I can be a gadget-hipster tapping away with the tip of my finger. When I've been using the electronic planner, I miss the organicness of paper and pen, the way how neatly or messily I've written something tells you about how my day was going, how I could scrawl across the page, coloring outside the lines. I miss the layering of entries, where different inks or different pressure or even different angles of writing show how a day became progressively busier. And flipping back through paper pages is just different from clicking back through computer windows -- although paper is much more vulnerable to loss or destruction.
So. That's my latest retail therapy obsession. What about you guys? Are you paper or electronic planner people? Do you, like me, favor a particular planner because it makes you feel especially productive? Do you have other retail therapy obsessions at this point in the semester?