Many (many) people are surprised to discover that I use BOTH a digital calendar AND Simplified Planner TOGETHER!! (I guess I talk about my love for the Simplified Planner more than I talk about my love for a digital calendar. 🤷🏼♀️) But you should know that they are both equally important to my weekly planning process and everyday life and business.
I’ve been using both for as long as I can remember (since I started using the Simplified Planner probably) and can’t imagine NOT using them together. The system I have for using both helps me stay focused (and sane), organized, and crazy productive.
Simply put, using a digital calendar AND Simplified Planner together helps me consistently get things done. 👊🏻
And today, I’m taking you BEHIND-THE-SCREEN to share my system (the how and the why) of using them together!!
Related Post: How to Use the Simplified Planner (And Why I Love It)
(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase using these links.)
WHY I USE A DIGITAL CALENDAR AND SIMPLIFIED PLANNER TOGETHER
The NUMBER ONE reason I use a digital calendar and Simplified Planner at the same time is because digital calendars have NOTIFICATIONS AND REMINDERS. If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that I don’t have notifications turned on for anything except text messages (which I actually switch off during my workday) and iCal.
I can get so wrapped up in a task that I completely lose track of time so it’s helpful when that little notification pops up and reminds me that I have a call in 20 minutes or that I have to leave for the doctor, dentist, vet, or hairdresser.
Related Post: How to Never Miss a Deadline, Appointment, or Meeting Again
The SECOND REASON I use a digital calendar and Simplified Planner together is because I HATE time blocking on a digital calendar. I LOVE time blocking!! It’s my favorite time management technique and I can’t imagine scheduling my day any other way. But time blocking on a digital calendar is overwhelming and confusing for me. 🙅🏼♀️
I know A LOT of people swear by time blocking on their digital calendar, and I did give it the good old college try… but it didn’t work for me.
Each day looked CRAY-CRAY and I was dizzy just looking at it. I also found that the important things (i.e. appointments, deadlines, meetings, events, and projects) didn’t stand out as well when I was scheduling EVERYTHING in iCal. I like time blocking with in my Simplified Planner way better!!
Related Posts: Why I Love Time Blocking (And You Should Too) + My Favorite Planner Accessories (And How I Use Them)
Now, the reason I LOVE using a digital calendar is because it’s EASIER to re-schedule events, deadlines, meetings, and appointments when things change. It’s a fact of life that not everything will happen on the date or at the time it was originally scheduled. But making the change on a digital calendar is way easier then making the change on a paper planner. All I have to do is click-and-drag. No fuss, no muss, no white-out, and no cross-outs. 👏🏻
That doesn’t always mean everything happens the way I originally planned when I time block and schedule my day in my Simplified Planner either. (Especially since I always plan my day the night before.) When something in my day changes, I just use white-out (tape, not liquid) and update it. You’d think that would push me toward doing everything on a digital calendar, but it doesn’t. 🤷🏼♀️ Which leads me to…
Related Post: How to Use ONE Planner for Life and Business
The reason I LOVE using a Simplified Planner is because NOTHING beats putting pen to paper and actually checking something off of my to-do list. Even though I started using the emoji checkmark (✔️) on my digital calendar to keep better track of what I’ve done and not done, it doesn’t come close to the feeling I get when physically checking something off of my to-do list.
My Simplified Planner sits open right beside me all. day. long. so I can clearly see my schedule and check off to-dos as I do them. I’ve even made this process FUN by using only black pen to write in my planner and pink pen to check off the tasks and to-dos. I do this because it’s easy to see what’s been done and I LOVE that it looks like a celebration!! 🎉
Related Post: How to Make the Most of Your Paper Planner
HOW I USE A DIGITAL CALENDAR AND SIMPLIFIED PLANNER TOGETHER
Now, my system for using BOTH a digital calendar AND Simplified Planner at the same time is really quite simple…
Anything with a set date and time gets put on my digital calendar with all kinds of reminders. That means every business or personal event, meeting, appointment, due date, deadline, and project timeline gets color-coded and emoji defined. (I love using emojis to better describe the stuff I have scheduled so I know at a glance what each thing is.)
I then use my Simplified Planner to time block and schedule everything into my day. That means my morning routine, my evening routine, my workouts, my meals, my meetings, my appointments, and my top 3 tasks get scheduled into each and every day. (Because if it’s not scheduled, it’s not getting done!!) I use the to help me know at a glance what each scheduled thing is.
Pro Tip: The hour-by-hour schedule on each daily page of the Simplified Planner is BEYOND PERFECT for this system. I love being able to see my day mapped out from start to finish and that I can keep track of minor (miscellaneous) tasks on the to-do side of the page (like what I’m posting on my Instagram feed that day, calls I need to make, and emails I have to send).
Related Post: How to Set Up Your Simplified Planner (Or Any Planner Really)
MY SYSTEM FOR USING BOTH TOGETHER SUCCESSFULLY
At the end of each workday, I pull up iCal (and Asana so I can see my priority tasks for the week) to review what got done that day, what needs to get done tomorrow, and if I need to make any changes for the rest of the week. Then, I write out my to-do list and schedule for the next day in my Simplified Planner.
I do this every single day no matter what. Because it helps me:
- stay on top of things,
- prepare for what’s coming up,
- focus on the right things,
- and be insanely productive every. single. day.
Related Post: How to End Your Workday for a More Productive Day Tomorrow
I hope you loved this little peek behind-the-screen of how I plan my days using a digital calendar and Simplified Planner together!!
It really is simple, easy, and downright wonderful!! 🥰
If you give this planning system a try, I’d love for you to come back and tell me how it worked for you!! Better yet, take a screenshot and tag me (@theproductivityzone) on Instagram so I can cheer you on and celebrate your new planning system with you!!
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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. I only share about the products and services I personally use and love most and think you will, too!!
I loved this article – thank you for sharing! I have a quick question. I also use the ELSP (LOVE!) and the Artful Agenda digital planner. I want to color code as well but I’m curious what your SP looks like at the end of the year with so many color-coding dots on each page. I just went through and placed them similar to you, but I’m a little concerned about what my planner will look like with SO many dots! : ) Should I be?
I don’t think so 🙂 I mean, I wouldn’t want to count them at the end of the year… But the dots are just to make things easier for you!! You can use as many or as few as you want!!
I have a question! Do you fill in the monthly calendar in the Simplified Planner or do you only use the iCal?
Because there’s limited space on the SP monthly spread, I only jot down things that I know won’t change like birthdays, anniversaries, and my Florida vacation in May. Everything else goes on my digital calendar for flexibility and ease of use + accessibility.