Paper-Based Time Management

Each week my wife and I meet to discuss our calendars and to-do lists.  She has commented lately that my newest form of time management has been the most successful to date.  What is my latest technological innovation?  I use a paper-based system.

Sound ridiculous in today's world?  Perhaps even more absurd considering my passion for software and development?  At first glance it has surprised even some of my peers.  But I do not hide behind or feel ashamed of my working system.

Here are some benefits I have from using a paper-based time management system:

  • Batteries or power supply unnecessary
  • Mechanical pencil has a powerful "undo" feature called erasure
  • Physical attachments - example: tickets to the concert or ball game
  • Manual sync.  That's right.  I consider this a benefit.  I manually sync my Outlook calendar to my paper-based system.  This has disciplined me to keep in touch with what is going on.
  • Less distractions.  I am not tempted to browse the Internet when managing my time.

To be fair, I do not use paper-based contact management.  And I certainly don't use snail-mail.  But for calendar and task oriented items, the technology of paper has been working the best. 


  • nothing beats a post-it on the fridge :)

  • Mladen,

    True... We did upgrade to a dry erase white board.

  • A dry erase white board??

    WHOAA!!!! total respect!! :))

  • Two other benefits are instant on, and instant access. I have never seen an electronic device beat me for speed of access to today, a phone number, back to today, tomorrow, my plane ticket, then to business cards in the back...

    I used to use a Casio B.O.S.S. and the speed thing of my paper based DayTimer always had me wondering why I went electronic. After I wasn't able to connect the device to my computer I went back to paper based and never looked back.

  • Martin,

    I can't believe I forgot speed of start-up. While we are on that topic, speed of navigation is a benefit too.

  • Will future upgrades to your time management system support exporting to Excel 2007, what about support for WPF & Silverlight? Seriously, there is nothing like using the right tools for the right job & KISS.

  • KK,

    With my brilliant manual sync option, I am 100% assured I can integrate with any new technology :-)

    As far as KISS - I don't see how much easier my time system can be. That is another benefit - no training required.

  • I am so totally with you my man! I have multiple white boards in my house (couple in office, kitchen, class room {we home school our 6 kids}, and in each of the kids rooms {3 boys = one room / 3 girls = one room}). This paired with magnets and magnet backed baby white boards and we have quite a system in place. Just don't lean on the board while chatting with someone...serious down side to our system is that a brush with of your shirt is just as good as a squirt and wipe!

  • I found paper required more time to plan- why? because I was really thinking and possibly thinking creatively too. When I was hooked to electronic systems my to do lists was real quantity with little consideration of whether I could finish the list. With paper, I contemplate, think of ROI, think of my energy levels and best of all I can physically score my achievents. Its like my visual conscience or my own mobile PA. The system I found suitable for todays work life scenario is PLANIT ORGANIZER. It beats all other systems- I tried DayTimer for ten years, Franklin and Planit Organizer came up trumps.

Comments have been disabled for this content.