Managing time with an old school pre-digital tool

Whilst trying to organise my day, I have to manage my diary in a couple of places, my work calendar and my clients work calendar, both are Microsoft Exchange Online based, but there is no federation in place so I have to update both manually to ensure they match. I also must keep both my company and client’s inboxes in check with emails arriving in both locations. So, I now set aside half and hour each morning to work through both calendars and ensure they are both the same, and clear down any outstanding emails, moving emails into an archive folder once they have been actioned. After this daily session I have two mostly empty inboxes, with just a few flagged emails which require more than 2 minutes to process, and two calendars that are perfectly in sync.

Then the day begins, and chaos ensues, I started trying to keep replicating changes in calendars, and making notes in appropriate OneNote notebooks, but quickly found this was far too much trouble, and things ended up in the wrong place. Plus, whilst I was recording my thoughts and notes in a digital format, I kept forgetting the details.

One day I had network issues and had to revert to using pen and paper to make notes, I was surprised when I realised once I had written something down using pen and paper I remembered it much more easily. Something I had subconsciously noted whilst studying for exams but never actually thought about. So, I when looking for an old friend, my Filofax. This classic 80s invention has proved to be a life saver; for the past 4 weeks I have been following the same routine each morning getting all my digital world synced and creating a baseline, I then add all the appointments into a paper diary which I use and update throughout the day, and make all my notes on paper in the Filofax. Then at the end of the day I scan all the notes into the appropriate OneNote notebook, and update all the calendars.

I have found this combination of physical (pen & paper) with digital to be a refreshing way to work, and being able to use my Filofax, which had been consigned to storage was a nice benefit. The one thing I did find was I needed to add an extra method to keep more than one pen/pencil attached to my A5 Nappa Filofax, and I found the wonderful Bookaroo Pen Pouch was a perfect addition.

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