Daily Planning - Why, How, and Digital vs Paper Planners

What to choose when the options are endless?

Most people go through life without realizing how important daily planning can be. At some point, right after we get our first real job, we set our life on automatic mode and follow through the motions. Some people realize it halfway through their life -- the so-called midlife crisis -- while others won't understand it until it's too late.

Daily planning is a powerful way to get a hold of yourself and walk the path you were meant to. Not only you can achieve much more in a day, you'll be getting one step closer to your goals, every single day.

The great thing is that there are so many different ways you can choose from to plan your day. Whether you're a digital aficionado or prefer the old pen and paper, I got you covered. Just remember, you should have a flexible planner which allows you to organize your day as you see fit. After all, no one knows your life better than you.

Paper Planner vs Digital Day Planner

When it comes to digital day planners, you must try out the different applications to figure out which one works best for you.

Maybe you'd like to access your day planner from anywhere in the world; maybe you're a bit concerned about privacy and prefer an offline software, or you could be one of those who switches between devices all the time.

With paper planners, your options are even wider. You can go with blank notebooks, or even make your own folder.

Or you can opt-in for one with a daily planning template, there are numerous options available out there. I mentioned before my preferred Bullet Keeper -- which I'll tell you more about in a bit -- but you can go with whichever fits your style better. Another good example is the 5-Minute Journal, though this one focuses a lot more on appreciating your day, not so much on daily planning.

The Digital King, Evernote

There are several benefits to using Evernote. Its interface is pretty straightforward and easy to manoeuvre. All you need is to set up an account and you're pretty much good to go. But that's just the beginning.

1. Accessed Anywhere

As long as you have an internet connection, Evernote will be there for you. Left home in a rush? No worries.

2. Easily Searched

Whether you wrote it yesterday, last month or last year,  you can easily search through your notes. Use simple keywords or longer phrases, as long as you've written it somewhere, you'll be able to find it.

3. Categories and Tags

You can easily organize all your notes with categories and tags -- great for organizational freaks! You can group your notes into specific categories while assigning different tags.

4. Alarms

If you have an important appointment you're afraid you'll forget, you can easily set alerts with Evernote. You can either set it to alert you at the time of the appointment or however earlier you wish.

5. Different devices

If you're constantly switching between your laptop and your smartphone, Evernote has your back. All your notes will seamlessly synchronize between all your devices.

6. Backed up

Whether you lose your phone, or your laptop is rendered useless after a virus attack, your notes will always be safe. Evernote backs-up all your work so you can retrieve it from any device.

The Daily Planning Template, Bullet Keeper 

I've tried many different planners in the past -- ever since I was in school. I tried the cartoon-themed planners, the massive daily/weekly/yearly planners my mom used -- including time-zones, metric systems, bank holidays, and all sorts of useful information.

I also tried the 5-Minute Journal I mentioned before. While it did make me appreciate my day a bit more, it wasn't really helpful in structuring and organizing my day. After much trial and error, the Bullet Keeper is the one I've been sticking with for the longest.

1. No Power Needed

All you need is a pen. You don't need to worry about having a stable internet connection or having your smartphone charged up.

2. Writing down is easier to remember

It has been scientifically proven that writing down by hand will boost your memory of it, as opposed to typing. If you struggle with remembering information, you might want to opt-in for a handwritten daily planner.

3. Straightforward

With the Bullet Keeper, you have all you need on one page. You don't have to search through different files or entries.

4. Isolated from distractions

When you open your Bullet Keeper and start writing down your notes, there's no risk of being pulled out by push notifications. Whatever is happening in your digital world, your Bullet Keeper is disconnected from it.

5. Can be easier to use

Some people find it easier to just flip through the pages, rather than running keyword searches.

6. Physically secured

No one can hack it. Unless you leave it lying around for anyone to read, there's no way for anyone else to access it.

Tony Robbins Rapid Planning Method

Now that you have a clear idea of which daily planner best works for you, it's time to put it to use. As always, there are thousands of different methods you can choose from. So far, I found Tony Robbins' RPM to be the most effective. His method goes like this:

  1. Result
  2. Purpose
  3. Massive Action

You need to start with visualizing what the end result looks like. What is it you're trying to achieve? Once you have that figured out, ask yourself "What's the purpose behind it?" Why is it you want to achieve this one thing?

A strong enough reason can give you the necessary encouragement to achieving a goal. Finally, you need to write down a list of actions that will ultimately lead you to your Result. Does it sound simple? Sure it does. But it's also effective as hell.