How we write things down

A couple days ago, I talked about the power of writing things down. The age old “If I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it.” Writing down something, whether it is an appointment or an item on the grocery list, is important. Probably just as important is how and where we write it down.

With today’s technology, it isn’t just putting pen to paper. I have an aunt who keeps a pad of paper stuck to her car’s dashboard to write things down. A few years ago, people were using voice recorders to record important ideas. Now, with certain smartphones, we can write it on our phone’s screen and save it for a later date. Some people use Post-It notes like they own stock in 3M.

How we keep track of notes and ideas and appointments says a lot about us as a person. The tech person won’t bother with traditional pen and paper – everything is on their phone or tablet. Remember Blackberries and Palm Pilots? I admit, Blackberry was my first foray into the world of texting and smartphones. I kept everything on there. I now have a Galaxy 8 and love it, but I don’t keep everything in my phone. It’s too easy to lose. Now, if I lose or break my phone, at most I lose all my phone numbers. Easy to remedy – I haven’t changed my phone number in 14 years, so I just send out a general message on FB asking people to text me so I can save their numbers.

But it hasn’t always been this easy. I grew up in the 80s and 90s where we had to memorize people’s phone numbers or keep an address book. (Yes, I just dated myself, but I still remember some phone numbers)

Some people still use address books. They refuse to rely completely on technology and/or refuse to get a smartphone. Yes, there are still people out there who do not text or have internet at their fingertips in the middle of nowhere. But that doesn’t make them less organized than the rest of us.

Some people I know (I won’t name names) have the latest gadgets but still can’t remember an appointment or wander aimlessly through the grocery store trying to remember what they just ran out of, only to remember seconds before they walk in the door. And I know people who have a planner, address book and flip phone with no texting capability who are more organized than me. (yes, it is possible)

It isn’t what you use. It’s how you use it and if it helps you to remember things. I used to keep everything on my phone – phone numbers, appointments, shopping lists, etc. But it didn’t work for me. I was always using Post-It notes (like they were gold), then losing said Post-It notes and becoming increasingly frustrated. I like the physical act of writing things down (muscle memory). So I switched to a physical planner that I carry around with me everywhere. I still keep some things on my phone. I copy all appointments from my planner into my phone, but that’s because I have a teenage son and have to manage 2 schedules. My grocery list is on my phone because my son has access to it on his phone and can add things he needs. Phone numbers are in my phone, only because it is easier to find a person’s name in my phone and tap it to call. Otherwise, notes, to do lists, appointments, passwords, trackers – all in my planner. I go to my planner before I go to my phone. And, I admit, when my son leaves for his dad’s for the summer, I only use my planner for 8 weeks.

How you keep track of things is so important. If it isn’t efficient for you, you need to change it up. Find a system that works for you. Might take some trial and error, but organization can be learned and adapted to your lifestyle.

Please feel free to share below how you keep track of appointments and important thoughts. I’m curious to see what works for you.


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