Before we look at your specific recommendations, let’s discuss a concept we have pioneered here at ScheduleU.
The idea is simple: the volume of tasks you can manage varies with the setup of your habits, practices, apps and devices.
But that’s not all. There’s a corollary: when your current task volume exceeds the capacity of your setup, you inevitably experience a number of unwanted symptoms.
The good news is that you can change your setup, but the bad news is that most people don’t know where their setup came from, or what task volume it’s intended to handle. Therefore, they struggle.
As a current user of either a paper calendar or task list, you began a transition from the use of memory some time ago. Perhaps it started as early as your teens, when you realized that your memory was an unreliable place to store more than a handful of flexible tasks. Now, many (if not most) of your tasks are written on paper.
Over time, you probably have taught yourself to use as few task lists as possible, discovering that having too many floating around is a recipe for disaster. Consequently, you may only have a single list in a planner or journal which you have learned to take everywhere with you.
However, even if you are a highly skilled paper user, you may be facing unwanted symptoms that remind you of times past, when all you used was memory. You are not alone. Millions have also discovered that no matter how skillful they become in the use of paper, it has its limits.
For example, paper is difficult to back up: a single adverse event can lead to a catastrophic loss. This makes the technique risky.
Furthermore, it’s just easier to learn to take a phone with you everywhere than it is a planner. We live in a time when a smartphone has become indispensable and can replace a planner. So it’s just more convenient to make the switch.
Finally, paper doesn’t scale well. Even though the medium has a comfortable familiarity to many Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers, a phone can be used to manage far more tasks. Apps supercharged with AI, cloud and the internet are taking task management to unprecedented levels.
For instance, there are many who use paper calendars to do their time blocking. But they face the same challenge everyone faces: how do they respond to a sudden or surprise change? In other words, how long does it take a paper time blocker to respond?
The answer: longer than a user of any other technique.
Finally, someone who uses paper is forced to review their task list over and over again, just to gain an updated view of what remains undone. Once again, for a small list that’s not a problem. But a list of tens and hundreds of tasks would make teh feat impossible.
So if you use paper and currently experience unwanted symptoms, how should you proceed?
The typical next step is to make the transition to an app on a digital smartphone. This is the transformation I recommend.
Others choose to skip a step from the “normal” transitions shown below.
That is, they go directly from Level 2 to Levels 4, 5 or even 6. There are pros and cons to doing so and the decision should be weighed carefully. Unfortunately, most people don’t possess this knowledge and make random jumps based on what they read on the internet, see their friends doing or happen to notice in a banner advertisement.
In any case, the transition from Level 2/Paper isn’t one that we cover in detail here at ScheduleU. Instead, you can find specific assistance in the other courses and content developed by 2Time Labs listed here. They are focused on expanding your ability to diagnose your current setup with a view to making the improvements needed to secure your peace of mind.