Why & how I switched to a digital agenda

Discover the reasons and process behind switching to a digital agenda, including the benefits and challenges faced during the transition. Learn how adopting a digital approach can enhance productivity and streamline daily tasks.

The reasons why I switched to a 100% digital organization.

Organization is my hobby, as this article show! I’ve often talked to you about my paper diary, my favorite format for so many years to note down my appointments or my work schedules.

Despite the appearance of my Bullet Journal in 2019, I never managed to detach myself from this little notebook that follows me everywhere: on my desk, in my bag… until last January!

The state of play

The situation was simple: it was becoming complicated for me and my family in general to organize and schedule our weekends together, for example. For your information, I am a nurse and therefore regularly work on holidays and weekends… Here are the problems that arose:

following my work schedule: very chaotic – I have about 10 different schedules depending on weekends, nights, different times during the day…
difficulty in scheduling family events: my darling never knew when I was working or not.

reasons why I switched to a 100% digital organization

organising Ines’ care: depending on the day, it’s either Quentin or me who picks up Ines and puts her down at the nursery.

planning our holidays: always complicated when we have to anticipate the future and put our agendas together

How I used to work

I think I was a bit in denial about my previous organization: it seemed to suit me and I didn’t see any reason to change it. And yet, there were many problems! This is how I divided up the tasks on a daily basis:

  • Compact paper diary: I told you about it in this video! It was a simple paper diary, organized by the week and in columns. I had been using this system for years. The format allowed me to slip it easily into my handbag (no matter how big it was), and I could really take it everywhere.
  • Moleskine diary: the diary dedicated to my blog, with upcoming and scheduled publications, pending packages, phone appointments…
  • Bullet Journal: for daily tasks, various statements/listings/accounts. It’s the only tool I’ve kept as it is after this change of organization, and I still like using it on a daily basis (my use remains very similar to what I presented in this video).

On the other hand, my darling used to organize his personal diary (90% of which was made up of professional tasks) and ask me, on a monthly basis, when he should pick up our daughter from the nursery, or how to anticipate my weekends at work.

The problem of mental workload

You probably haven’t missed this incredible comic strip about the famous mental load, and so revealing of our daily life as women! I never feel like I’m being “left behind” by my partner or that I have to manage everything.

But I am forced to admit that these different platforms cluttered my mind, prevented me from being productive, and made the tasks appear only to me and not to my darling.

So he was constantly asking me: “what are we doing next weekend?”, “how are you working next week?”… it was a very good feeling on his part (he was trying to help me and probably didn’t see the problem – and neither did I for all these years!) But, on my side, I just felt that my brain was saturated with information…

I had to check our schedule all the time, to organize ourselves for the next week, to plan our holidays… The tasks were not 100% my responsibility, but the planning was.

So I looked for a way to put all our schedules together:

  • My darling’s professional and personal schedule
  • My personal schedule: my appointments, my sports classes, a lunch with a girlfriend…
  • My professional schedule: all my work schedules (each schedule has a letter code M, H, E depending on the day)
  • Our family schedule: holidays, family meals, weddings, nursery schedules…
  • My blog schedule: deadlines to be respected, publications to be scheduled, time slots available for filming / writing my articles, conference calls…

Choosing the right platform

I tested several, all available on the App Store:

The iPhone calendar “Calendar”: too “flat” an interface that I didn’t like. I find it not very visual and not practical at all.
Quo Vadis Cal: full of useless features that cluttered the interface. This app has the advantage of being very complete, but unfortunately not adapted to my practice.
Google Calendar: the one that convinced me by its clarity, its various connections (mail app, maps) and its hyper practicality.

How does it work?

I will only talk about the Google Calendar platform, which I have been using since the beginning! The features I’m going to present are specific to it – I can’t promise you that they can be transposed to other applications.

switched to a digital agenda

The good thing is that all my email accounts (business & personal) are addresses, so all emails received that contain an appointment date are automatically transposed into the Google Calendar app. So my next flight dates to Brighton, for example, are automatically entered into the app, without me having to think about it.

Another positive point is that Google Calendar automatically translates the data into the iPhone Calendar application! This same calendar automatically syncs to my Apple Watch, without me having to do anything. This allows me to see my appointments at a glance on my watch, ideal if my phone is not nearby.

So we created several diaries: pro Quentin, personal Quentin, personal Mariel, family, blog… each with its own color code. Then, you are free to choose whether to display only one agenda (when I am resting, for example, I only display my personal agenda + blog) or to have a global view of the schedule of all the participants.

Objectively, planning a task or an appointment takes more time than scribbling it down on a piece of paper. However, you can optimize this time to make your life easier!

For example, write down an appointment, and write a note with the exact address (so that you can use the GPS of your smartphone, for example!), why not write down the door code in the associated notes, or schedule a reminder a few minutes before the appointment!

How do you get used to it?

It took me a month to switch completely from one organizational mode to the other! During this month, I made a point of writing down my appointments and schedule on paper and in digital format.

I was afraid I would miss things or mis-schedule appointments, and this dual organization reassured me. To this day, I don’t use my paper diary at all… and I don’t regret it, or very little!

The negative points

I did find a few as I used it:

  • Impossibility to create templates: I would like to be able to enter, for example, pre-defined templates of my working hours, to be able to add them in one click.

This is not possible at the moment: you can only duplicate tasks already in the calendar.

This saves some time but is not ideal! So I waste a lot of time writing down my work schedule month after month.

  • Bugs on the computer: the Google Calendar application often bugs when I use it on the computer. It’s a pity, because the screen is bigger and it’s sometimes easier to do everything on my computer than on my iPhone.
  • Reminders: see that little “Notes” box on just about every calendar page? I used to use it for just about everything: jotting down an idea, a piece of music I heard on the radio, a shop I want to go to… I’ve now switched to the “Reminders” or “Notes” app on my iPhone, but the transition was a bit complicated as I was really paper-bound!
  • Appointments: I make 99% of my phone calls from my mobile phone. So it’s sometimes difficult to talk to the person I’m talking to while making an appointment on the same device!

Several tricks are possible: make the call from the landline, use a headset with a microphone to keep both hands free, stand in front of your computer and write down the appointment at the same time…

After 3 months of testing, the results

Everyone has their responsibilities: if it is written on the joint schedule, the burden falls on everyone. This makes everyone responsible and “spreads” the stress!

Fewer stressful moments: “What do you mean, I have to pick up Ines from the nursery this evening? But I’ve got too much work to do”… this is a conversation that no longer exists in our house!

Each of us visualizes our own schedule and adapts to that of the other: when my work weeks are busy, my darling organizes himself to postpone his business trips to pick up Ines or to do the shopping, for example. And vice versa when my weeks are calmer and I have more days off! This leads to a lot of understanding and a real “team spirit” within the family.

The three of us optimize our time: an empty weekend where nothing is scheduled for the next week? Perfect! We take advantage of this to plan two quiet days, without any imperative noted on the timetable. And we can enjoy life to the full!

Much less forgetfulness: my blog is not my main activity, and I often forgot to do draws for contests, or to contact press agencies when they had asked me to. Nothing serious, as I don’t make a living from my activity… but still annoying!

Now I’m more organized about my blog and my networks (which are still a secondary activity).

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