This is a follow-up to a post I wrote in January which you can read here.  It’s the beginning of April and the end of the first quarter of the year.  I started the year with the intention of keeping myself, my biz and my life more organised than I had been last year.  To achieve this, I bought a traditional paper planner with a glittery turquoise cover, and started to plan my work and life weekly and monthly.

I filled in the important dates, and decorated it with a few stickers and some washi tape – because do I even need to justify the use of washi tape and stickers? Didn’t think so.  And then I got right to it.  I filled in the weekly spreads with to-do lists and filled out the month calendar spread with appointments.  Most importantly, I was checking things off the lists I was making, and getting real stuff done.  Proper progress that was visible quite quickly (by “quite quickly”, I mean within a month).  Super exciting stuff.  Special tea was made in celebration.

I was feeling all fancy and productive and organised.  Like a sparkly unicorn boss with my glittery planner.  I kept up my habit really well.  Not like most of my new year’s resolutions.  Who has the time to read a chapter of a book every day?  Really.  Nope.

But then I remembered that I had used Trello for a few months back in 2015.  I enjoyed the system when I used it, but didn’t really see a huge use for it in my life since then.  I decided, out of curiosity, to give it another chance and incorporate it into my evolving organisation system.  I jumped gleefully into the software and have been using it every day since early February.

I have created a system of well-planned boards that hold information about various aspects of my life and business.  The boards work together and reference each other.  Some boards are for summary and overview purposes, and other boards are for breaking down projects into step-by-step processes.

Safe to say that Fox & Owl HQ has been far more organised without my having to spend huge amounts of time fine-tuning an elaborate system.  I’m more confident about my ability to stay on top of multiple projects at the same time, and I’m not worried about misplacing information.

What I’ve Changed

I no longer write daily to-do lists in my paper planner.  Instead, I have a weekly Trello board with days set up as columns or lists.  I type much faster than I write, and for longer lists of text, it’s just easier to type it out and put more details in the relevant card on my Trello board.

Instead of making a new board each week – the equivalent of turning to a new spread or page – I recycle the board.  That means I never lose track of what was done the previous week and what should be done in the new week.

I used to keep scattered documents of lists of blog post ideas, articles I needed to read and references saved in various places on my hard drive.  Now that I have organised the information into Trello boards, I know where to store new pieces of information that are similar to the information I already have saved.

What I Love about My Paper Planner

I still need that feeling of a physical book planner – it’s deeply satisfying to write appointments into a calendar.  I also use my monthly layout to get an overall idea of my commitments without having to turn to a device.

I don’t have a laptop, and so I don’t take one to meetings.  I usually take my planner and a notebook so that I can make project-specific notes as well as mark off dates in the planner calendar.

What I Love about My Digital System

A digital system is easy to reorder without crossing out and rewriting things.  I also love the inherent neatness and tidiness of a digital system that I can expand and adapt as my needs evolve and change.  There are no random, flappy post-it notes and bookmarks everywhere.

I also love dragging tasks from one day to the next if I need to, or from this week to next week – basically, dragging a card from Friday back to Monday.  I also love moving tasks from the top of my list – the To-Do” part, to the bottom – the “Done” part.

I’m on my computer almost all day every day, so it’s convenient for me to switch browser tabs and touch base with my organisation system.  That’s also much easier than to reach for a book and pen, clear the desk space in front of me, break my train of thought to write things down and then input them into a workflow.

I’d highly recommend that you give Trello a try.  It’s completely free for all the standard features, and you can upgrade to Trello Gold which is insanely cheap for such a great service.  If you would like to sign up for a free Trello account, click here.  This is my affiliate link.  If you decide to sign up for a Trello account using my link, I get a free month of Trello Gold.  This post is not sponsored by Trello, I just genuinely love the software.

melissa de klerk

Melissa De Klerk

Writer, Web Designer, Digital Media Strategist, Typophile, Inspiration Junkie, Yogi

Melissa is the owner and creative brain behind Fox & Owl Media. She loves creating content strategies and has considerable experience with Website Design and Brand Management.

You can contact her here, and find her on social media by clicking the links below.

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