Most don’t think about it, but aside from finding the best productivity planner for ourselves, the very paper planner (a/k/a agenda, diary, journal, scheduler, notebook) didn’t even exist until roughly 90 years. What did humankind do for the prior millennia upon millennia?! It wasn’t until Gustav Grossmann came around with his own 200-page manifesto and leatherbound planning notebook in the 1930s, that the modern organizer was born.
Today, we who pay attention to our productive lives take it for granted at the plethora of options for planners on the market, as well as learning how to use them effectively. In this week’s episode, the ProductivityCast team discusses the factors that make the best productivity planner the right one for you.
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In this Cast | The Best Productivity Planner
Show Notes | The Best Productivity Planner
Resources we mention, including links to them, will be provided here. Please listen to the episode for context.
Levenger Circa system
Staples Arc system
Casts referencing BuJo:
- 035 What Is the Bullet Journal? How Does It Work? – ProductivityCast
- 051 Managing Digital Notebooks
- 047 Reflections on Getting Things Done (GTD): What I Wish I Knew When I Started GTD, Part Two – ProductivityCast
- 024 Can Productivity Be Fun? – ProductivityCast
- 022 Productivity Pet Peeves – ProductivityCast
- 016 The Power of Reflection – ProductivityCast
- 013 Getting Unstuck! – ProductivityCast
Revo Journal (caveat: site was not loading, or loading very slowly, when we were trying to visit it: http://revojournal.com/)
Raw Text Transcript
Raw, unedited and machine-produced text transcript so there may be substantial errors, but you can search for specific points in the episode to jump to, or to reference back to at a later date and time, by keywords or key phrases. The time coding is mm:ss (e.g., 0:04 starts at 4 seconds into the cast’s audio).Read More
Voiceover Artist 0:00
Are you ready to manage your work and personal world better to live a fulfilling productive life, then you’ve come to the right place productivity cast, the weekly show about all things productivity. Here, your host Ray Sidney-Smith and Augusto Pinaud with Francis Wade and Art Gelwicks.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:17
And Welcome back, everybody to productivity cast, the weekly show about all things personal productivity, I’m Ray Sidney Smith.
Francis Wade 0:20
I’m Francis Wade.
Augusto Pinaud 0:23
I am Augusto Pinaud.
Art Gelwicks 0:24
And I’m Art Gelwicks.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:25
Welcome, gentlemen to this episode of productivitycast. And today we are going to be talking about something that a lot of people use every day. But they probably don’t give very much attention to it. And so the people who are listening to this podcast you listening to this podcast, are you probably more aware of the concept than not. But I thought what we would do today is we would talk about the productivity planner, the what we would call a personal organizer, or a day planner, that idea of something that helps you organize your day, your week, your month, your year. So on. To start us off, what I thought I would do is read from an article that was called the day planner by and Schmidt and I’ll put a link to this in the show notes. Because I I actually highly recommend you read the full article. But basically, it’s a little bit of history of the development of the day planner by this gentleman good stuff Grossman. And what I’m what we’re going to do is talk a little bit about the history, I just want to read a little bit of this as a background and precursor to cover why the personal organizer came about and, or how it came about. And then we will get into a discussion on different types of planners that are out there. What really makes a productivity planner, great what what really sets one apart from from the other for you and your own personal productivity systems. And then we’ll talk about some of the personal productivity planners that are on the market today. There are actually a plethora of them, and each of them are unique in their own right. While we won’t do a full comparison today, at least piquing your interest in terms of the options that are available. So let’s start off with the day planner, by and Schmidt just a small segment of it. She writes here, quote, in its beginnings, the planner wasn’t much more than a bunch of loose pages size a five held together with some binding. The Economist, industrial psychologist and ex advertiser Gustaf Grossman, published a leather bound version of this predecessor to our modern organizers and time management systems in the 1930s, and wrote a 200 page User’s Guide to go along with it detailing how buyers were supposed to use the binder book in the most efficient way. Consumers could personally order the planner with users guide from Gustaf Crispin himself, and it seems that more than a few of his contemporaries did so self employed as an advisor, occupational coach, and author word of advice literature since 1927. Grossman also sold a planner set in the decades after the Second World War. I’ll just go on to the to the next paragraph and then I’ll leave it to you to read the rest of the article, which is I think, very interesting. But going on, quote, Grossman conceived with the day planner, as an instrument that was supposed to support its users on his path to growth that is, so long as it was used in accordance with the User’s Guide. It did this by helping him lead his life in a rational way. And part of leading one’s life in a rational way, was the right kind of emotional self conduct. I would like to discuss how the day planner was supposed to assist ambitious individuals live a happy life by getting them to organize their feelings in a particular way. To what extent could writing down wishes and keeping track of engagements give rise to feelings that enabled users to constantly increase their productivity? How are users supposed to better themselves climb the ladder at their jobs achieve economic success, and thus achieve happiness simply by using the day planner in the fashion prescribed by the user’s manual? Which feelings did Grossman see as being necessary and why? Which feelings was the use of the day planner supposed to generate? And which was it supposed to block out and quote, and so I will leave it there for you, I will pique your interest to go check out what Gustav Grossman expected of others in the way in which they were to use the manual. And this is really, as an Schmidt said, this is the precursor to the modern day planner, this idea of having a booklet that was basically blank pages, and a highly detailed set of instructions on how to manifest it. And we’ve come a long way from that artifact to today, where we basically have these planners, these organizers that are pre printed with instructions for how we should organize and manage our calendars, our events, and our tasks and projects. What’s your history, what, when, and what types of planners have you used in your systems over the years,
Augusto Pinaud 4:55
I was never a big paper planner, my first planner that I can recall was cash to Data Bank, okay, that has a little keyboard kind of, I think was two or three lines of a screen. And that was my first the first product that I use similar to to a planner, at some point, I carried Morrison notebook, dinosaur planner, 11 years circa that allows me to move pages around and carry my notes and all that. So most of it, at least on the early ages was digital, I went from that Casio to was called Palm Pilot professional stay on lb for many, many years, then went to iOS. That said, I have worked and helped coach many people into making this planners work. And more recently, especially with technology and how technology, you know, has an important roles on everybody live understood really is so dynamic that there are certain things that are hard to keep up on. On a paper planner, I tend to advise people to keep the paper planner more for reflection point i connection between the speed of input and the ability of processing, that actually carrying a paper planner as they was intended at the beginning, especially the Franklin gobies and those things.
Art Gelwicks 6:27
Yeah, for me, it’s easier to say what ones I haven’t to use than the ones that I have. Just because it for the longest. I mean, I literally have cedar chest full of notebooks. It’s just that bad of a sickness. I’ve been using paper systems for forever. I mean, ever since I was in, I want to say junior high school. Yes, I’m, I’m a geek, I’m okay with that. But those those types of systems regardless of which frankly comes day timer, day planner, you name it, staples arc. To me, it always came down to two brackets, they were either planner systems that were structured, or planner systems that were flexible. And the structured ones like the Franklin cubbies and the daytime hours in the day runners, try to give you that framework of template, the pages, whether they were calendars or task lists or whatever, to help you take those first beginning steps, the open structure ones ones like staples arc, for example, had those template pages, but the design is much more make it your own move stuff around. And you see aspects of both in almost all of the system. But to me when it comes down to an analog bass planner, and to go along with what a gusto was saying this is actually carried over into the digital space to you find really two different types of players, ones that are trying to give you the structure, and ones that allow you give you the tools to create your own structure.
Francis Wade 8:02
I think I went through a similar evolution that I used to use a bone dairy actually have a few that I have from high school, just like art does really geeky. I have my study schedule in there and four numbers and and these were these were pages that you couldn’t remove. And I remember I think I use the same system all the way through college just because I didn’t know of anything better. And it wasn’t until I got to my first job at at&t that I there was a class that was being offered and with the class came a book. And I think the book was was the timer. But I couldn’t take the course because I was traveling or something. So I went to my boss and I said, Why don’t we skip the course and just give me the book, she actually started to buy the book that I could I could buy the flexible spiral, not spiral bound, but three punch kind of paper where you could buy the inserts and put them in. And this was a lot better than what I had before, which was a fixed pages. Because now I could move and throw things out and buy specialized inserts and and I kept that all the way through the 90s. But to underline what I’d said, The reason I avoided the class was that I talked to one of my buddies who had attended that class. And he said, they tell you exactly what to do, which is like a bunch of an enemy. He didn’t like the fact that the lady who taught the course was prescribing specific behaviors and a lot of them. And the idea that prescribing specific behaviors to adults in big doses is a big fail is something that has stuck with me all the way throughout my career, even when I’ve been in the position of being forced to teach people specific behaviors, and a lot of them still fails. Because I think the the approach doesn’t match the way adults learn. And I think that’s true for planners that they have to be taught or coached into new behaviors in a very particular way that matches adult sensibilities and the fact that they’re not actually looking to don’t know what they’re doing. So I give up I’m using planners after I lost a planner on a plane, somewhere in early 2000s. And then I’ve been digital ever since. But that’s that’s my history.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 10:19
Yeah, so I, I used organizers, since as long as I could remember. I mean, I was fascinated by the idea of being able to structure one’s life before there were competent mobile devices to be able to do that. And yeah, so I remember having and being marveled by my mother’s address book, as a, as a young child with the idea that you could contain this knowledge inside of a little tidy, black book. And, and so the idea of the personal organized, right, I can’t remember a time in my life, when I didn’t have one, which is remarkable because either My memory is terrible, which is not or I’ve just really been in interested in and engaged in, in being productive for way too long. And so the idea is, is that I, I certainly had one in, in elementary school, and it was actually one that I had, I had, I don’t remember how it came to be, but I had a Trapper Keeper, and, and then I there were like inserts for the Trapper Keeper. And it must have come with the Trapper Keeper, I don’t remember or I, I it was it was like kind of an add on that you purchased. But either way it came with a section, you know, sections that you could divide the chapter keeper up into, and and these you know, kind of calendars and task list type templates that were there inside it. So I think that’s my earliest one. And just for our listeners, you know, the idea behind an organizers that it would contain diary, calendar address book, as probably some blank paper and some other pieces all kind of mesh together, there is this idea that the organizers should be able to manage generally all the areas of your life to be able to know what you’re supposed to do and where you’re supposed to go and have access to useful ready information when you need it. And of course, today we have fast forwarded to using what we’re personal information managers or Pimms of the old, you know, yesterday year to now with smartphones really doing a lot of those functions. I mean, I think my I think my android where where iOS watch does a lot of the functions of my, my personal organizer that that my personal organizer once did. And so, again, I think I think it’s important for us all remember that everyone has a personal productivity system, whether it’s working well or not, is completely, you know, kind of inconsequential to the fact that they have one. And so whether or not there is a system that they appropriate for purposes of making their personal organizing tools come together, or whether there’s one that’s prescribed, and whether someone rejects it or not, as Francis talked about, we all have these tools available to us. And picking and choosing the right ones for us is really the the ultimate goal, I suppose. And that’s where I wanted to take us next, which is beyond just the day planners and the personal analog assistance and the Rolodexes of the world that all get mashed into these personal organization systems. Specifically, when it comes to the planner, what makes a planner? Great, what makes it the best planner for you? And so I throw that question out to you, gentlemen, what makes a personal planner, best for you?
Augusto Pinaud 13:42
It is it is interesting, a couple of the things you you mentioned before I answered your question of what personal productivity by you, you make you remind me my grandmother phone book that was completely useful, useless. I mean, and it’s if if anything was an inspiration to find a system that works much better, because if you will find Ray on there, my grandmother phone book, it probably will be on the F as friend of agosto array. Okay, so anything that will make it more effective than that planner, it’s already a win on my book, what make a personal planner really, really effective is what the person needs and tribes on to Trapper Keeper, I had my Trapper Keeper never work as a planner, guess we had the the school pages for the calendar and put the school work and all that. But my handwriting To be honest, has is so awful that any input I did was completely wasted. Because I will not be able to read it again to this day. I mean, my handwriting, it is not great, I have some adult make a significant effort to improve my handwriting, but it’s still awful, not really useful as a tool. So that’s part of the recent of part of the attraction, the attractiveness for me, for the digital world, that I can write something and come back and read it again. That said, That’s me, there is a lot of people that I know and that I work that I coach that need that pen and paper interaction that need that, you know, as I said, slow down for reflection, I gotta go to another screen and reflect and be okay. Not everybody can accomplish that. And that’s where the planner is so important. I love what you said early on is everybody has a productivity system. Regardless if it works or doesn’t work. The question is, why are we can bring this planner again and make it work better for you. And maybe not as final solution. or once a that will come and rain all you know, since we are talking about gigs like the Lord of the Rings and The Lord of the Rings. But what little piece can you bring to improve? And I think when we talk about personal plan, especially paper planner, okay, that’s where people sometimes get hung on the on the wrong place. And okay, well, I can have my calendar, I have three calendars. Okay, two from work and the personal family calendar. I will never, that’s fine. You know, keep that part electronically, and then bring the elements that you need to bring to that paper Did you need? Or did you have the need for certain things that will work better on paper? Or no, you know, what, I’m a digital being, I’m okay. Everything been digital, that’s fine, too. But then which elements? Did you need to make small improvements? To really get more out of that?
Art Gelwicks 16:55
See, this is where I struggle with this. Because anytime we talk about planners, whether they be digital or analog, it really comes down to what are the needs that the individual is trying to be? And this got mentioned earlier about, you know, how specific people work when I think about sitting down and talking with somebody about this and say, Oh, yeah, I’m going to buy a plane, or what should I buy? I’m like, that’s like coming up to me and asking me out of the blue, what car should I buy? it? What do you want to do? I mean, if you’re going to haul stuff, maybe a pickup truck, you know, if you want to go fast a sports car? Well, it’s the same type of logic that applies to planners and digital or analog, use a goose example of having three calendars. Well, are these calendars that are just yours? Are they calendars that interact with other people? Are they something that updates frequently? Are they something that happens? Rarely? Are you trying to keep track of just regular daily notes or things that you need to do? Do you need to reference back and see that those things were done? These are all things that have to come into play when we start to decide on what’s the right type of planner with that thing, though, this almost always pushes me away from recommending anything that’s a bound style planner, a blank notebook, I will recommend any day over one that’s already pre laid out and bound and fixed. Because this goes back to what you mentioned. Right? This, or I’m sorry, you ago. So this, this goes to this whole thing, I’m sorry, knows, Francis, please, there’s too many people on the call. This comes back to this whole thing of forcing a structure on people we all know the product of productivity is probably the most personal thing we have to address when it comes to getting work done. Our style of productivity, and these kinds of bound guides don’t help us because they force us to change rather than changing to us. Just out of curiosity, I did an AMA Amazon search on the term productivity planner and get 2000 results back a good portion of those are pre bound setup, notebook style planners. And you’re going to go through those time and time again and not find one that matches. So for me figure out what you need it to do, before you start digging into the different types of planners that are out there. And I think what you’ll find is that a lot of them either have way too much stuff in them that you’ll never use, or they don’t address key things that you do need to accomplish. I’ll
Raymond Sidney-Smith 19:21
take the devil’s advocate perspective here, art, which is to say that for those people who are coming into your life, and I’m presuming that most of our listeners are fairly productive people and or you, you have a pretty good idea on on kind of good control on the various productivity systems that are out there, as we discussed them here on productivity cast, and you’re, you know, you’re you’re pretty savvy, you’re probably a pretty aware listener, you’re listening to a podcast, for example. So you have some level of technology, you know, prowess that others don’t have. And so the the idea here is that the person who’s looking for a planner, likely doesn’t have a lot of, they either come to the system with already an awareness of their, of their needs and wants as it relates to a system. And so they’re going to self select, that is they’re going to do their research, they’re going to find the appropriate planner that has the pieces they want. And maybe that requires a little bit of modification, but we satisfies. And the other side is the person who has no idea what they’re doing. And any organization will do, right? The idea that, you know, if if you have less organization, and a system gives you a weekly, or monthly calendar and a sheet for tasks, that’s better than a bunch of posts in 15 different locations all over your house, and always being late to meetings. So I take it from the perspective that were wearing you are and the organ organization tool that you find is where you need to be at that moment. And it’s Think of it as Kismet, or some grand coincidence, but but the idea that you’re not going to find the tool is is kind of choosing to reject organization, we all use the analogy of a great craftsmen say a sculptor, right, if you give a sculptor, any tool, they will still make they will resurrect from a piece of marble a masterpiece. And that’s because of their skills, not because of the tools. So in the personal organizing realm in the diary or planner realm, I feel like the best planner for someone is the planner that they have. And what they really need to do then is understand what skills they need in order to be able to be productive in their world. And then the tool is is not inconsequential. But it also not necessarily is is not the reason for them being productive or not being productive. I think, you know, that’s that’s kind of where I’m coming out from it. And just to take the maybe not. Yeah, just to take the devil’s perspective, devil’s advocate perspective there. That’s, that’s, that’s my argument for the other side of that coin.
Art Gelwicks 22:18
Okay, now, I’m going to counter you on your devil’s advocate thing, and I don’t know if there’s a name for that. But okay, here’s my question, isn’t this how how a lot of the listeners that we have have gotten here, they’ve gone out, they’ve tried to find a system, they’re comfortable with the idea that they need to be more productive, they start to look at these tools, these pre made ones. And these pre made ones consistently failed them. They’re partially successful, they sort of do what they want, but they never actually achieve the level of success that they’d like to get to. So they keep delving, and they wind up like me with a footlocker full of these blank notebooks of different structures that none of them ever actually met with the
Raymond Sidney-Smith 22:58
So did you learn something, though, from the experience of coming into contact with them is probably my bigger question. And, and it’s a rhetorical question, in the sense that you, you learn something about what didn’t work for you. And it’s through that experimentation that has led you to where you are of knowing what does work for you.
Art Gelwicks 23:20
Yeah, but that’s a really, that’s a hard and expensive lesson to get to, if you’re not careful. I mean, what we’re talking about here is starting at a basic level, understanding our own needs before we start digging into these things, like, if you don’t start off before you buy book one, and say, Okay, I need to track Tat, why? Because I have things I have to keep track fine. If you haven’t made that basic analysis, and then you go and buy three different planners, and none of them have task tracking capability, you haven’t done yourself any good, because you didn’t know your base requirements.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 23:53
Right. And I’m not arguing with you there. I think you’re absolutely right. I think that it’s that what I’m, what I’m saying is that 80% of the people will say 99.9% of the people on the planet, you know, those who don’t listen to this podcast are, are out there, you know, potentially buying planners, and they are doing exactly that they’re doing it without, without an understanding of their own needs and wants their their requirements for the tool. And so therefore, they’re picking anything. And I’m just saying that, with that in mind, we should be understanding of the fact that they’re going to be a little bit more productive. And they’re going to learn a lesson from all of that.
Augusto Pinaud 24:33
So I agree with you. The problem is, you know, we as we sometimes tend to think well, you know, BU said oh, I was the high school kid was a planner. I was too. Okay. So we’re, when i minus star, it was an elementary middle school. I may be willing to I don’t think I had it on Elementary, sixth grader, the sixth grade Elementary. So okay, maybe Elementary. Okay. But the thing is, as you said, you know, we were if you go back, you know, 20 years, okay? And you look for a planner, okay, the first thing, the planner, my my first paper planner, okay came from my parents, okay, it was the same thing. My dad used to work basically had calendars one page for the calendar on the back had a place where you could put phone. Okay, that didn’t work for me. Fine. Then from there, I went to something similar to a Franklin planner can read my handwriting. Okay, from there, I went to the Trapper Keeper from there and I went to the digital world. Okay. The problem is, as you said, Okay, I was trying to solve a specific problem, okay. And that’s what produce that evolution, but also at the time. Okay. When do you go back into the literature and what was available hard to harder to find them today, but available? Okay, you basically, were finding literature that says, in order to be productive, you need for tools, okay? You need a calendar, or the equivalent of it, you need a place to have your context, you need a place to have notes, memos, or information and you need a task planning. Okay, that was the basic of any product, Franklin planner time design. Did even even later on as a Palm Pilot and the Microsoft, smart beginning of the smart planners came in, you know, most of them has four buttons, okay, calendar, task notes and context. Okay, the problem. Now, 20 years later, is not so much our generation, okay, but the younger generations when you look, you know, an Android phone, okay? Or you look on iPhone, for that matter, out of the box, okay, calendar, notes, tasks, and context are almost hidden. The only reason you find context is because you are in a phone. And it’s not not to as a contact to keep information that was relevant, but more as a story, the phone number so you can communicate with these human beings. Okay? If you look on the opening books of any of these devices, okay, some of them don’t even have a task management. So when when you said art, and I agree with you, but when you said, Well, people don’t look at you know, there is people that don’t even have seen the concept of a task management, then when they go and how I’m going to where I’m going to put this they don’t have the calendar day, they that basic preparation, okay? doesn’t even exist, they jump from that to email, it is the same thing. When you think on email zero there. Most people have never seen email zero, because when they go into open a new account on Google and opened an open finally get to the inbox, they already have three emails and they have not shared their email address with any human being. That’s part of the problem. The basics as we got them, we got lucky, maybe, okay, to be able to experience those basics of this are the basics and let’s let’s build from here, okay, the people who came much later into this productivity world, okay, found something different found devices that didn’t even have I mean, if you look at the iPhone, okay, that graph for for whatever recent from 2009 going up was consider a productivity device. Okay? Didn’t have a out of the box place to put task on too much later into the world. Okay, I’m talking about 12 or 13. Okay. So on reminder, reminders is not exactly incredible. So suggest you could install remember the mail, you could install on the focus, but then now that puts you into the geek world? And I believe that’s one of the problems right now, in general productivity is for most people, would you have nothing on the world to productivity? Or do you have now this world of what we do, where we can talk about productivity applications and all that, but it is a real challenge from persons from people to go from? I know nothing about productivity, and how I can get to understand what remember the milk only focus or even the bullet journal is, I think one of the successes of the bullet journalistic concept is that is the first planner who talks about the most basic things for people.
Francis Wade 29:50
Yeah, agreeing with everything everyone is seeing so far. I just wanted to add a little perspective, I think that people’s understanding and can what we’ve been talking about understanding of their own systems is exactly as it goes to set it remains Nessun Dorma missing, or they have no clue as to what they’re doing, they just go ahead and do, they don’t have an overall sense of where their skills lie with respect to the tools that advertisers are asking them to use. And as a result, you get I think we’re re described, which is that you just jumped from one bright, shiny object to the other without having an understanding of the underlying skills that are needed to be effective, they’re essentially just responding to whatever comes across their radar, their friend is using this while use it to, oh, look, there is a nice review. Or look, here’s a nice ad on Facebook. So I’ll try that, that they don’t have a map of the world that they need to navigate. And they need one is letting the, the argument that we’re all making is that you need to go beyond just behaviors and jumping from one behavior to the next. And thinking that this new behavior will is needed. And this new and or new tool is needed, to some kind of understanding of where you are at right now, which is what Ray was saying. And I think that understanding varies by task volume, that a very low volumes of tasks like you know, preschool volumes, if you’re 10 years old, you have one thing to remember each day, which is do my homework maybe so ranging all the way to, you know, what a overloaded CEO might have or an entrepreneur might have, which is hundreds of tasks easily. And the navigation to go from one task today, per day, one task to manage to hundreds of tasks to manage is what we don’t understand, for ourselves, and we don’t adapt or techniques, or thinking or skills. We don’t even know that there’s a roadmap, we just sort of Bumble along and hope that it’ll all work out. You know, back in our day, I think what you guys are saying is right, in our day, we part of the bumbling along involved the planner. So that was a necessary stop on the way to, to get to the hundreds. Because that’s you know, we grew up at a time when there were great planners coming out and they replaced the diaries of all and there was no digital, there are no digital solutions at the time. So that’s the path that we took. However, the path exactly what goes to saying the path that the new new teenager is taking is not the path that we took, they’re not going to go out and buy planners that start in their destiny, they’re going to use the tools that are available to them. However, having a super fast fancy tool, and not without understanding the underlying behaviors. And the role that it needs to play just means that you’re automating. More inefficiency, I think that’s what what a gusto is saying is sort of the big problem is that you could put a in every you know, every task manager, given every teenager, and the number that would actually be able to use it effectively or even understand what it is with before using it is really small. And there’s a basic building block that needs to happen somewhere from my point of view, in your mid teens to mid teens, the college years. And if it doesn’t happen, then you’re left solid just running and chasing, running or liquid chicken with your head cut off, so to speak. If you’re if you restrict the question only the paper planner, then it’s a it’s a hard question to answer. Because the answer from my point of view is inevitably you don’t need Paper Paper planner at all, eventually, you will move on because the task volume that paper can manage is lower than that which a digital system can manage. But if the question is what combination of tools and practices do you need to do to implement that’s best for you? The question is always contingent on the number of tasks that you’re trying to manage. And the change that you need to make is always a small step. So it’s never to, you know, burn all the people, planets that you’ve ever used and flip immediately into some fancy, super digital auto scheduler which runs an AI, the answer is never that to make some quantum leap, the answer is always to use what you’re using now, as much as you can and make an incremental change, and only make quantum leaps when you are painfully sort of it’s impossible not to make that jump. So it’s a small, it’s all about small managing yourself making small behavior changes, or small tool changes, but not about chasing after bright shiny objects.
Augusto Pinaud 34:42
And I’m, and I’m going to be the devil’s advocate in here. I think for some people agreeing with you, there are certain things that digital will go Okay, the calendar to the context that most people will tend to keep them digital, the task the and I wouldn’t we go to the task management, I will say the projects, okay, but this thing can for some people will always be on paper, because there is people who can’t do that is speed thinking that the digital world require and they need that. Let me get the colors let me get or even the color let me get the paper, let me slow down and really think this project. And it’s okay. It’s okay is what your paper planner is, is a reflection tool, you need that reflection tool. So I don’t know if for everybody the elimination of paper. It’s a reality. I think that’s exactly, you know, where the reason we still find them. What we are now seeing with this planners is an evolution, they are going somewhere that we may not know exactly jet where and I think part of that answer is to place where you can use the tool as a tool for reflection,
Art Gelwicks 36:05
you know, there’s an interesting thing that just occurred to me is the fact that the press to use digital ink is a hybrid between these two needs that we talk about our pen and paper use. And yet, I’m sitting here taking notes as we’re going through this conversation using a stylus and doing digital ink writing into a digital system. But it’s basically the same mechanism as a paper based system. So I don’t know that we necessarily need to declare a line of demarcation between the two because I believe technology is getting us to the point now, where the two can very easily be blended. I talked to a lot of people in the education space using one note, and they use it on an iPad with a stylus and do digitally and it just is so much easier for them. So I’m going to go back to that most basic piece of this equation, the best system you’re going to have the best planner you’re going to have the best tool you’re going to have is the one you actually use.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 37:02
Now, that is something I can agree with. And so look, this takes us to the planners that are currently on the market. And we are focused on paper planners today. Although as we’ve been discussing, there is clearly a hybridization going on throughout the personal productivity space, you know, in the industry itself, and clearly in direct response to how people are using both paper and technology, analog and digital. So the I, the products here are not in replacement, I don’t want anybody to go out and you know, take their laptop and throw it out the window just because of these paper planners. But I think that there is something unique and valuable in being able to see what’s out there and paper and use it if that makes sense for you, or see what it’s doing and replicate that in a digital capacity in the tools that you’re already using. So I think there’s just a some really good value here. And so I wanted to start off with kind of an overview of the various tools that are out there. And just a quick overview of some of the old ones we’ve kind of mentioned, which is time design planner, I was a an avid user of the Franklin planner for many years using the Franklin Covey system. And so there’s the time design system and planner that that David Allen implemented as well, there is the Franklin planner, and the day runner was mentioned, we also also mentioned the circus system by lavender and the art system by a by staples. So there, there were a lot of different systems that already existed with pretty much the basics, you had different calendar views, you had task list area, usually, and perhaps maybe an address book. And sometimes I always liked in the back of those books, they had different time zones, you know, different world clocks and other kinds of of basic unit measurement conversions in the back, which are really helpful to have at your fingertips. And so flash forward to today where we have some more interesting planners that are coming onto the market. And I wanted to just highlight some of them. And I can answer any questions that people have about them. But the idea here is that we have the panda planner, which was developed by a gentleman who had several different medical issues come up, and he needed something that could really help him manage his life. And so he designed the panda planner, in what he considers, you know, using science bakkt research. And so the panda planner is is one that’s out there. Then we have the Freedom Journal, which was developed by john Lee Dumas, who is, you know, popular from the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast. And the Freedom Journal is actually really interesting because it uses the SMART goal to create 100 days kind of challenge, and to reach that first goal. So you SMART goal, and then you create daily nightly action plans. And then you have sprints, which he does in 10 days. So he does 10 day sprints, and quarterly reviews. And you keep all all of this tracked within the Freedom Journal itself. So I think the freedom journals and other really interesting use of them. And then I’ll put links to all of these in the show notes. But there’s the productivity journal built by intelligent change, which again, is supposed to be science backed and has all of these various, you know, productivity principles built into it, you have the commit 30 planner, the neuro planner, the vault planner, all of them are different flavors on how to manifest your life using good productivity principles. And some level of you know, they always they kind of marketing languages, they put neuroscience on things and then all of a sudden, it’s, it’s more, you know, more impressive than that not as someone who is an avid study of neuroscience, you know, the a lot of of snake oils, you know, in that statement, but I do like the idea that there is some greater embracing of psychological principles and neuro psychological principles in play as we’re working in. And toward better manifestation of planners,
Art Gelwicks 41:18
if I had to recommend a planner to people, there’s two types that I would recommend. And they’re not already pre structured ones. So I’m going to throw that one out there. But one of them is the the 11 juror circa staples are that kind of disk based planner, I find that its flexibility of being the equivalent of a spiral notebook in being bound together. But being able to be repositioned double and reorganize double, like you would have with a three ring notebook is very appealing, there’s a lot of customization options you can have for it. And I and I have found consistently that it’s, it looks different than other. And it acts different enough that it encourage you to encourages you to use it. The other is what’s called the travelers notebook. And if you do a search online for just the phrase travelers notebook, you will find thousands of references to this thing. It’s a longer format vertical format. They’re typically smaller bound notebooks that are put together inside this larger cover. Usually a leather cover, maybe four or five smaller notebooks held together by rubber bands, I know it doesn’t sound appealing, but it looks pretty good. It’s a nice way if you’re very tactically oriented. And you like the feel of that kind of a nice notebook and more of an old school type of approach, I find that some people lend themselves or gravitate towards a traveler and just notebook is also its physical format seems to be a little easier to pack and carry with you. It fits into bags and Pocket Books and things like that pretty easily in various different sizes. So if you’re looking on the analog side of the equation, those are two directions, I would point people to I
Augusto Pinaud 43:00
want to say was that date? Again, I have used the 11 year circuit before you know same thing as they are and all those but answer the question before you go to any of the options that were mentioned, do I need more structure? Or do I need less because if you are the kind of person who need more structure, then they open options of the 11 year solution or the bullet journal, it’s it will be too much. So you are better to go and start on a more pre populated planner and then grow to some flexibility like that, then try to start on the flexibility that is not going to give you that what you are need in order to really move forward.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 43:46
Well, this has been wonderful gentlemen, this has been a really interesting discussion on the use and the factors that make a personal productivity planner and organizer these kinds of day planners more productive to our listeners, then do you have a question or comment about this cast or something we discussed about day timers, agendas, any kinds of diaries, that kind of thing in the paper space. If you’re listening from anywhere other than the podcast website, we invite you to come on over to productivity cast net, and there at the bottom of the page, you can go ahead and leave a comment a question, and one of us will be glad to respond on productivity cast.net. Then you’ll also find the show notes and they’ll have links to anything we discussed. So you can jump to them from the show notes show from the show notes, and you can learn how to subscribe or follow us there on the website. If you have another question about personal productivity, please visit productivity cast.net forward slash contact and you can either type us a message or you can click on the button and actually record a voice message under 90 seconds that will then be sent to us and then we can hear your question. Thanks to Joe Francis and art for joining me here on this cast this week. And also to our listeners if you could please leave a rating or review and iTunes and that helps us grow our personal productivity listening community. So thank you. That brings us to the close of this episode of productivity cast the weekly show about all things personal productivity, I’m recently Smith here’s your productive life Take care everybody.
Voiceover Artist 45:14
And that’s it for this ProductivityCast, the weekly show about all things productivity, with your hosts, Ray Sidney-Smith and Augusto Pinaud with Francis Wade and Art Gelwicks.