Friday, 12 October 2012

A dying breed??


I recently came across this video on youtube:

This woman is apparently an 'organisation expert', who works with clients to get them more organised. It seems she works for high-powered business type people... OK, not like me, but I still took exception to what she says in her video!!

She says that she thinks Franklin Covey planners- and by extension, all paper planners of similar type, including Filofaxes- are dated, and a dying breed!!!

The main problems she identifies are:

  • The need to transfer (by hand) all to-dos etc to another day if you don't complete them on the scheduled day
  • Her clients have 50+ to-dos on their to-do list, and as such they need a list that can be easily updated. So she's implying they need an electronic to-do list, instead of a paper one.
  • That paper planners aren't suitable for to-dos, notes etc that come from emails- she says electronic planners are better because you can drag and drop info, to-dos etc from them into an electronic system, and not have to keep writing everything onto paper multiple times.

In my opinion, I think her argument is flawed. Paper planners, like Filofax, Franklin Covey, etc etc, aren't just for to-do lists- they are for planning your time too, and so much more. She thinks that FC is a dying breed because of her issues with the to-do lists etc- but that's not the main thing that paper planners like this are used for! I think there is a future for paper planners- just not in the way she assumes people should use them.

But I think what she says about emails is interesting. I don't receive many emails, but I guess for people who are being bombarded with emails all day long, it would be easier to use a 'drag and drop' electronic system. 
What do you think? Do you manage to deal with lots of emails effectively using your paper planner?

What do you think about what she claims are 'problems' with paper planners? Do you think that paper planners are a dying breed?


  1. I had to laugh. I guess corporate America or wherever would have to shut down if ever there were a regional or national power outage. Putting all your eggs in one basket is never smart and I for one, although an owner/user of all the latest techy toys and gadgets, would never totally rely on technology. Sure, a planner can be lost but so can electronic data.

  2. I couldn't actually bring myself to watch the whole clip - I managed one minute and that was enough... I love my filo and how much it helps me keep all my balls in the air so to speak. The leadership team where I work (or at least some of them) have used the services of a professional time manager to assist them in their organisation of their work and have started using paper planners to do so. They started this a while ago now, but all seems to be going well, and I have to wonder if she actually knows anything about actually using a planner successfully (to do anything other than making lists...). But as I say, I didn't watch the whole clip (I seem to have a very low attention span when it comes to watching clips with people talking - even when it's something I want to see...) so I should give her the benefit of the doubt... bleurgh, I hate doing that when she's clearly dissing our wonderful planning methods :o)

  3. Thanks for sharing this & I did manage to watch all of it. I agree with her that it's time for me to re-evaluate my filofax, but not to stop using it but make it work better for me!

    I'm just about to create a new list called 'from email' to capture tasks from my emails & think that a mixture of both paper & IT works the best for me anyway.

    Also, I don't have the transfer issues she mentions. A la GTD, I have lists by context & then pick out what I'm going to do during the upcoming week.

  4. Earlier this year, I transferred all my tasks to Outlook aka GTD but it just didn't work for me. My screen became a blizzard of electronic reminders that was very stressful.

    After two weeks, of not getting much done beside transferring tasks from one day to the next in Outlook, I transferred all my tasks back to paper.

    I use a week to view and a separate task page so that it can be moved forward without re-writing everything. However, if I find myself moving a task forward several times, it could be that something more urgent came up or I am trying to squeeze too much into a day/week. Or it could be a task I just don’t want to do!

  5. We remember details better if they are paper as apposed to being on a computer screen. I believe this has to do with the text not moving around to new places as it does on an electronic screen. In this regard, paper is superior to the electronic. As we as a culture integrate computers into our lives, I think that we will find a proper balance between paper and electronic driven information. There is room for both.

  6. Sadly I'm forced to use Outlook for my calendar at work - and on the basis of 'one calendar one life' it has swallowed all my personal appointments for want of an officially sanctioned option which would give me the flexibility to mix and match personal and work appointments in more than one calendaring application and still see a unified view; IT policy at work forbids internal information being allowed to be published to the internet anywhere. I end up sending my partner meeting requests... and printing out weeks of my calendar onto A5 paper.

    However I draw the line at using Outlook for task management and planning - that way lies madness. Give me paper any day! I have yet to find an electronic tool which is anywhere near as rapid to use as a fountain pen an a piece of paper, and after dalliances with Outlook, Palmpilot and plain text files in the past I've returned to a nice leather A5 filofax, some decent paper and a selection of fountain pens. So much less to faff with! And the carrying forward of un-done to-do items acts as a useful filter - review as you go, and if that to-do is no longer relevant or needs to be amended or rethought then it's a great way of keeping on top of what your real commitments are.

  7. I loved the drag and drop Outlook method. It really, really worked well for me. But after two different times where the server failed or Outlook didn't work at my job for a while, I went back to a paper based system. I know that either system can fail but I just feel like if my Filo gets wet or if I lose it then it was me that made it fail. As opposed to being beholden to the vagaries of the IT guys at my job who usually aren't that concerned about Outlook being down for a few days.

  8. For a while I used google tasks for my work items. But it started to not work properly, and I have too many deadlines to take a chance on missing something.

    I have never heard of this professional organizer, but seeing as I have an interest in the field, I have read and listened to many of them. Any good PO will tell you that a system is only as good as the person who uses it, and what is good for one person won't necessarily be good for another. Some people, based on their type of work, need to use paper. Some need to use technology. Some need both. It all depends on the person and how they think and learn -- that is what makes the difference in how successful any organizing system will be. So aside from any preference I have, I don't think it's fair for any PO to say what people should be doing without interacting with them to know what works for them.

    With that said, it doesn't matter which system I use if I'm not using it to its full capacity or in a way that works for me. So if I have 50 - 60 to do items and I find that I'm transferring them over too often, maybe I have too many items on my to do list. You can have all of them on a master list and pick and choose which ones to work on each day and transfer what doesn't get done. But if it's too many a day, maybe I'd need to reevaluate what is realistic for me to get done in a given day. And no system -- regardless of whether it is paper or electronic -- will work on its own. I have to be working the system myself. I have to make the effort.

    As for myself, everything I do (both work and personal) goes into my planner. I don't get hundreds of emails a day, but I do get many that require some act on my part. I have made a "to do" label so that I know what needs to be done. I write a short name for it in my planner, and when it comes time to do the item, I refer back to the email for the details. It takes all of two seconds to write it in my planner. Of course, this might not be suitable for someone who has 100+ emails coming in a day, but then all that means is that system doesn't work for them.

    Her video does offer insight and a good suggestion to anyone who is having trouble with a paper system. But the way she presents it is that everyone should switch, and as I mentioned above, no good PO would say that any one system is good for all people.

    Thanks for sharing this!