E-Calendar or Paper Planner: A Comparison

We all have our favorite way to planning our hectic lives, whether it be on a paper planner or an online calendar. Or if you’re me, it’s both! I use Google Calendar (as well as just about every other function Google offers) for my online calendar and a Passion Planner for planning on paper. They offer different options and I’m going to outline some differences between the two.

Society is moving greatly to a fully electronic record nowadays. Its scary, but it sort of works, which is wonderful. I find my online calendar very useful as I can always access it, don’t have to worry about carrying it around, and can easily repeat events instead of writing them in every week. However, probably my favorite aspect of an electronic calendar is the ability to block off times. For instance, if I’m working from 7am-3pm, I can’t really plan anything during then, so having this type of layout allows me to see my available and busy times. As someone who tends to be on the busier side, seeing my free time is a breath of fresh air that I didn’t exactly find in a paper planner.

Paper planners come in all different shapes, sizes, and forms. The one I use has space to make to-do lists, note-taking space, goals for the week, and so much more. It’s meant to plan your life in a more goal-orientated manner, which works really well when I have plenty of projects to do. However, it’s not the best layout for planning all of my time.

That’s why I use both. I have one to plan my time and one to plan my projects and outline my weekly tasks. Having them separate allows me to make sure it all matches up and gives me options depending on the task at hand. For work tasks and projects, I tend to use paper planners, as I usually have projects and tasks to do. For scheduled shifts and class times, an online calendar is my best friend.

So, use one, use two, use none, it’s your choice! I do recommend using at least one as planning your day-to-day activities is crucial to staying on top of your tasks.

Images from: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.calendar and http://www.passionplanner.com/buy/passion-planner-undated-compact-sunday.

Motivation: A Practice

Motivation is something we all need to keep us plowing through whatever the task at hand may be. Currently for me, it’s about the finals that I describe as slaying me. It might be a bit harsh, but I definitely need motivation to keep me going through this entire finals week. For you, it might be a hard deadline at work or a tough project that you just can’t seem to get it done.

I call motivation a practice because it’s not something that just happens naturally. Motivation is how we all keep moving forward in whatever it is that may be in our way to the next thing(s). Motivation, however, is something we have to practice. It seems silly, but keeping your head up throughout tough tasks is not easy. I find it easier to keep myself motivation once I’ve already started, but how does one motivate him/herself to start?

Break it up into smaller pieces. A lot of us tend to think of a large project as one thing, and while yes it is one thing at the end of the day, break it up into its smaller, more manageable components. For instance, I might have to write a report, so I have my introduction, conclusion, and everything in between, from methods, results, and analysis. If I think of it as a paper, I get scared. If I think of it as writing my methods and then results first, then the introduction, and finally the analysis and conclusion, it is SO much more manageable and any anxiety I had reduces immensely.

Make an outline and plan out the time. It helps to create an overarching plan for what’s ahead. I’ll write out in a notebook what I plan to do everyday for a week or so, especially if its a busier week than most. I’ll relax about it and know what I have to focus on that day. This will help also break down the project(s) (see above) as you’ll only be working on smaller parts each day instead of one big thing.

Head up, practice that motivation, and you’ll get through it! Be like a bird, you’ll fly right through it.

Think Critically About Job Applications

Applying to jobs doesn’t mean finding a cool company name and just sending in your resume. That might be a good way to get your foot in the door, but actually reading the job description, listening to the full offer, and really getting into the interview can determine if the job is right for you.

Reading a job description sounds so simple. I’ve read hundreds of job descriptions on my current co-op search the past month or so. But reading them critically and focusing on what you will be doing is super important. Having had a few jobs previously, I find that I know what I want (and what I don’t want) when applying to jobs. Furthermore, if the job description is unclear, and you have an interview, ask at the interview! Just explain that you’d like to know more about the day-to-day activities of your potential job. This is what you might be doing for quite some time, so take that into thought! Use an interview to analyze the employer, the job, and the interviewer. As much as you are being interviewed, you are also interviewing the employer. Ask yourself: “Is this right for me?” and carry that thought throughout the interview.

When you receive a job offer, consider all aspects of it. From the benefits to the hours to the pay to the time commitment, all of it is 100% relevant. Honestly, I’ve turned down a job offer because it wasn’t what I wanted or needed that time. And I’ve accepted a job offer because of the benefits that came along with it (and of course, the job itself!). If you aren’t sure what something means, write it down and do some research. You aren’t the only one with these questions and delving into that offer is important.