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Productivity tips, calendar hacks, & product updates from the Reclaim team.

9 Reasons to Switch to a Digital Daily Planner Today
November 16, 2022

If you’ve ever seen a beautifully curated paper planner on social media, you might have been tempted to start using one yourself to get on top of your endless to-do list and overwhelming weekly commitments. The hashtag #planneraddict has a whopping 157.3 million views on TikTok, and features countless stunning planners, bullet journal to-dos, and hand-colored time blocked calendars in the most aesthetically pleasing handwriting out there. But is it really the most productive way to plan your valuable time?

The reality is that today’s professionals are absolutely slammed at work. The average employee is sitting through an average of 25.6 meetings a week and with heavier workloads on top of that, individual contributors are managing to complete only 53.5% of planned tasks every week on average. It’s not surprising that this increasingly demanding work environment has been fueling job burnout rates and contributing to movements like quiet quitting and The Great Resignation – piling even more pressure on teams across industries.

Paper planners are an age-old method of managing your days and keeping track of appointments and priorities. But in recent years, digital planners have established themselves in the space with advanced features specifically designed to help the busiest professionals of today make the most of their limited hours every week. 

While planners are powerful tools to help manage your time every day, the question is – do paper or digital daily planners offer more benefits to maximize your productivity in the long run? In this blog post we’re going to take a look at the overall benefits of using a daily planner, and break down 9 top reasons to consider switching to a digital planner to better organize your time and hit more goals in your professional and personal life.

What are paper vs. digital planners?

Whether you’ve been using a paper daily planner up until now, or are currently weighing the choice between that and a digital calendar app to help you stay on top of all the things you need to do – it’s important to understand the difference between the two options. Let’s first go over definitions of a paper vs. a digital daily planner. 

A paper daily planner is a printed tool in which you can manually write down your appointments and to-dos for the day and/or week, typically designed with dated entries and in a yearly calendar format. These planners are published in countless styles and sizes, and can include additional space for things like lists, goals, habits, and events.

A digital daily planner is a downloadable app or online platform that allows you to virtually schedule all your tasks and commitments in a calendar for the days, weeks, and months ahead. Digital daily planners are typically accessible across devices, offer a variety of automated features, and can be virtually shared with others.   

Benefits of using a daily planner

You might be surprised to learn that up to 82% of people actually don’t have a time management system in place at all. And when you don’t have a clear plan of where your time is going, it’s easy to get distracted by non-important urgencies or scatter your efforts across a bunch of to-dos. In fact, individual contributors average 1.96 hours of unproductive task work every day – almost 25% of their entire workweek! 

So how does using a daily planner help counter this productivity pitfall? Between juggling a heavy meeting load and massive to-do lists, taking the time to develop a daily action plan ensures your focus is always dedicated where it matters most. The strategy is simple – you map out your to-dos and meetings for the day ahead in your planner, and then follow the plan to meet deadlines, be where you need to be, and keep any responsibilities from slipping through the cracks. Spending just 10-12 minutes planning your day can save you up to 2 hours of time you would have otherwise wasted thanks to a lack of planning, and spares you the mental exhaustion of being spread to thin trying to remember and do everything at once.

Planners are a tried and true time management tool and offer many benefits to those who adopt them.

5 Top benefits of using a daily planner:

  • Boost productivity: Planning your daily goals in advance boosts productivity by aligning your efforts to your priorities and ensuring nothing important is forgotten.
  • Reduce decision paralysis: Writing out an action plan for the day ahead limits decision paralysis in trying to choose what to work on next.
  • Improve focus: A clear daily plan helps facilitate single tasking to complete one objective at a time, with less time wasted context switching during the day.
  • Reduce stress: Creating a realistic daily plan reduces time anxiety by keeping you on track with deadlines and making consistent progress towards your goals.
  • Prioritize wellbeing: Scheduling time for healthy habits, regular routines, and personal commitments helps you defend time for your own priorities and goals. 

So while both paper and digital daily planners ultimately have the same goal of helping users organize all the things on their plate so they can get the most from their weeks – what are the benefits of choosing a digital daily planner over a paper planner? Let’s take a look at 9 ways digital planner apps outperform paper calendars.

9 Reasons to switch to a digital daily planner

1. Save time by optimizing your planning 

Say that between planning, filling everything out, and managing any changes to your schedule, you spend about 30-minutes manually writing out your calendar on paper every day. While it might not seem like a lot, that actually adds up to 2.5 hours come Friday. And when you’re managing a massive task load and a demanding meeting schedule – those few hours can be the difference between hitting your goals and not meeting your deadlines for the week.

Optimizing your planning process by switching to a digital calendar app can effortlessly boost productivity during the week by automatically creating a schedule around all your priorities. That way, you can stay on top of your busy calendar and win back time during the week for more focus time on your high-value tasks.

2. Automatically time block all your priorities

Time blocking your calendar has been shown to boost productivity up to 80%. And while some people do time block on paper, digitizing the process is ultimately much more efficient with benefits like having editable time blocks and notifications to keep you updated on what’s coming next.

Want to save even more time? By taking advantage of productivity apps like Reclaim.ai, you can actually completely automate the time blocking process for your tasks, habits, recurring one-on-one meetings, and even regular breaks and travel time – so you always have the perfect daily plan, around your ever-changing schedule. And with custom color coding for event types and even emoji features, you don’t even need to sacrifice the fun of personalization when switching to a digital planner.

3. Efficiently plan around future goals

While a paper planner can work for planning for the day or week ahead, they don't efficiently accommodate bigger picture planning. When you’re planning around future goals and big projects, using a digital calendar can help provide a more comprehensive overview than a paper planner.

A digital daily planner allows you to easily view your schedule by day, week, month, or even year, so you can better prioritize tasks according to what’s important to your current and long-term goals. By being able to create a productive weekly work plan in your digital planner around things like future deadlines, dependent tasks, and your always-changing availability with new meetings and appointments – you can stay on top of all the things you need to do today, and keep course for where you want to be tomorrow.

4. Be flexible to changes (no eraser needed!)

Adaptability to changes is one of the biggest benefits of using a digital planner. Especially if you’ve put in the effort to time block all your priorities for the day, pulling out the eraser to reorganize your week around a change in plans can become a major time and energy sink.

By using a digital planner you can quickly move around your week when an inevitable change like a meeting conflict or personal commitment comes up. And instead of having to pull out an eraser - or even rewrite your carefully planned week altogether - you can simply drag-and-drop time blocks to accommodate. To save even more hassle playing calendar tetris, smart planner apps like Reclaim automatically reprioritize your schedule for you when something important crops up, no elbow grease required.

5. Better communicate your availability 

Ever write out your perfect day in your planner, only to have a spontaneous work meeting throw a wrench in your productive plan? Another major benefit of a digital planner is that it facilitates more transparency around your availability. Your team, clients, and even family or friends don’t typically have access to your paper planner to see when you’re free to meet or collaborate. This can make for a frustrating experience for everyone involved.

Switching to a digital planner allows you to effortlessly share your plans to make scheduling time with others easier, because they can at a glance see when you’re free and when you’re busy (with things like deep work on important tasks, for example). There are plenty of availability calendars on the market that make switching to a digital planner easy, and open the door to other time-saving features like scheduling links to book meetings without the back-and-forth. You can even sync your personal and work calendars with custom privacy settings via Reclaim, so your perfectly planned day doesn't get double-booked over again.

6. Integrate with other apps you’re already using

If you’re new to the world of digital planners you might be wondering – what even are integrations? Integrations connect separate apps to sync information from one system to another. This is especially beneficial when you’re already using apps like a team calendar or task management platforms at work. Most of these apps offer native integrations to help optimize your workflow even further.

For example, instead of having to manually write out your to-dos from your assigned tasks in a project management platform – you can automatically sync time for tasks before the due date right to Google Calendar with Reclaim’s native integrations to popular work tools like Asana, ClickUp, Todoist, and more. Or, try integrating your calendar with Slack to update your status to what you’re doing in real time so you can reduce interruptions during the day. 

7. Automatic tracking & auditing

Tracking your hours in a paper planner is challenging because even the best-laid plans end up changing over the course of a busy day, and might not get updated for accurate tracking. With a digital planner and automated time blocking, you can quickly look back at the weeks and months to see exactly where your hours were dedicated across meetings, task work, habits, personal commitments, and anything else you had going on. 

Whether you’re a freelancer or contractor that needs to track hours across projects, or even if you’re just committed to improving your time efficiency at work, regularly auditing your calendar can offer awesome insight to where your time is spent (and misallocated). This can help you better plan your capacity in the future and effectively deprioritize commitments that might be pulling you away from important goals. 

8. Plan larger workloads 

Some of the busiest professionals are juggling an average of 39.3 meetings a week on top of their demanding task lists. Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can fit in a daily entry slot of a paper planner, or even on a whole page. This doesn’t serve well for those who are looking to plan out heavy workloads every week.

Digital planners offer much greater capacity than paper planners because they aren’t limited to a physical area to record your monstrous to-do list and meeting schedule. That means you never have to worry about running out of space when scheduling your daily plan. Digital planners automatically present even impressive amounts of information clearly so you’re always on top of your daily plan. No more trying to decipher what that scribbled important margin note was supposed to remind you of... 

9. Never lose your planner again

One of the biggest disadvantages of a paper planner is that it needs to be physically on you for it to be easily accessible. And beyond the inconvenience of having to carry it around with you everywhere – forgetting, misplacing, or damaging the only copy of your daily planner also becomes a risk.

A digital daily planner is accessible from anywhere, at any time, across your devices, so you’re always on top of your schedule and can make necessary changes as they arise. And because it’s virtual, you never have to wing the day without a plan because you left your daily planner laying at a coffee shop.

Going digital for better productivity 🤖

Using a daily planner is an easy and effective way to plan your time and stay on top of all your to-dos, meetings, and routines every week. And while paper planners are a great start to better time management, busy professionals need tools that can keep up with their demanding schedules.  

Optimizing your daily planning by choosing a digital planner that works for you, helps you create the perfect plan around your priorities every day and frees up valuable time better dedicated to high-value tasks so you can hit more of your goals. And if you love the creative aspect of a paper planner, there’s still room to enjoy a pen-on-paper experience! Consider starting a beautiful journal to practice more mindfulness, or write out morning affirmations for a more positive mindset to boost productivity. 

What are your thoughts on paper vs. digital planners? Have you made the switch to digital, why or why not? Tweet us @reclaimai to get in on the conversation! 👋

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One on one meetings, or 1:1s, are a recurring check-in between two team members to discuss priorities, projects and goals. But are you using them effectively?
Calendar Heroes: Chris Parsons, Co-Founder & CTO at Lollipop
October 20, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Chris Parsons, Co-Founder & CTO at Lollipop

In this edition of Calendar Heroes, we talk to Chris Parsons, co-founder and CTO of Lollipop, to learn his style, tools, and methods for balancing priorities while leading an early-stage startup.
Calendar Heroes: Vishwesh Jirgale, VP of Engineering at Mindtickle & Angel Investor
October 14, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Vishwesh Jirgale, VP of Engineering at Mindtickle & Angel Investor

VP of Engineering at Mindtickle and Angel Investor, Vishwesh Jirgale, shares how he gets things done and achieves a productive workday. Check it out!
What is Focus Time? How to Prioritize Productivity
October 13, 2021

What is Focus Time? How to Prioritize Productivity

Focus time is a dedicated session for uninterrupted productive work. But with each meeting, Slack message, email and social media distraction, it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back on track.
Calendar Heroes: Philippe Mesritz, VP Customer Experience & Customer Operations at Khoros
October 6, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Philippe Mesritz, VP Customer Experience & Customer Operations at Khoros

VP of customer experience & customer operations at Khoros, Philippe Mesritz shares how he optimizes his time to get things done. Check it out!
Calendar Heroes: Megan Killion, Founder of Coven Cloud & MK Consulting
September 29, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Megan Killion, Founder of Coven Cloud & MK Consulting

Megan is a full-time working mother of four who runs three successful companies, Megan Killion Consulting, newly launched startup Coven Cloud, and a property rental business. See how she makes time!
More Calendar Control for Meetings! Reclaim Free & Busy
September 28, 2021

More Calendar Control for Meetings! Reclaim Free & Busy

Add more productivity and control to your smart calendar with advanced Reclaim free and busy event hashtags. Block time for no-meeting days, focus time, meeting times, and clock-out of task scheduling
Top 7 Time Management Tools (for Busy People)
September 23, 2021

Top 7 Time Management Tools (for Busy People)

82% of people don’t have a time management system, but there are hundreds of apps available to improve productivity for every working style. Find your best fit in the top 7 time management tools list.
Job Burnout: How to Fix at Your Workplace
September 21, 2021

Job Burnout: How to Fix at Your Workplace

Over two-thirds of employees have experienced job burnout recently, and more than 50% of all annual turnover results from burnout. See which signs to look for and how to prevent them at your company.
Top 5 Work Habits to Boost Productivity
September 14, 2021

Top 5 Work Habits to Boost Productivity

See the top 5 work habits to try to boost your productivity. If you’re seeking a promotion, trying to pivot your career, or just simply looking to step your game up in the workplace, this is for you.
Calendar Heroes: Chris Hunt, Staff Site Reliability Engineer at Stack Overflow
September 10, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Chris Hunt, Staff Site Reliability Engineer at Stack Overflow

Working on a team that is spread across 10 different time zones and our Calendar Hero, Chris Hunt lets us in on how he is able to do it. Check it out!
Durable Identity: Employee-Friendly SaaS for Life Changes
September 7, 2021

Durable Identity: Employee-Friendly SaaS for Life Changes

The average person changes jobs every 4.1 years, but you shouldn't have to re-sign up for every SaaS app that often. The future of work will be more durable - your identity will survive life changes.
Weekly Status Reports: 3 Steps to Reduce Meetings & Boost Productivity
August 31, 2021

Weekly Status Reports: 3 Steps to Reduce Meetings & Boost Productivity

"This meeting could’ve been an email.” We're all thinking it. Even 71% of senior managers feel their meetings are unproductive. Reduce meetings and boost productivity with weekly status reports.
The Best Time to Meditate? Prioritize Self-Care
August 26, 2021

The Best Time to Meditate? Prioritize Self-Care

The best time to meditate depends on your intention and your schedule. But no matter when you meditate, you can reap the benefits. The important thing is that you make time for this healthy habit.
Top 6 ADHD Organization Tools
August 24, 2021

Top 6 ADHD Organization Tools

Staying organized can feel like a constant battle for people with ADHD before you find your ideal rhythm and workflow. Here are the top ADHD organization tools to help you become more productive.
No-Meeting Days: Top 4 Advantages & How to Start at Your Company
August 19, 2021

No-Meeting Days: Top 4 Advantages & How to Start at Your Company

Are meetings consuming your workweek? 78% of people feel their meeting schedule is out of control - see how one no-meeting day a week can improve your productivity, team morale and prevent burnout.
Calendar Heroes: Ben Hutton, JSON Schema Specification Lead at Postman
August 17, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Ben Hutton, JSON Schema Specification Lead at Postman

Working as JSON Schema Specification Lead at Postman, Ben shares how he balances priorities while developing the JSON Schema strategy and it's tooling, and supports the open-source community.
Calendar Heroes: Shay Kingsbury, Program Manager | Go To Market at Hootsuite
August 11, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Shay Kingsbury, Program Manager | Go To Market at Hootsuite

Shay Kingsbury at Hootsuite shares how she balances priorities while leading merger and acquisition integration and Go To Market for Sparkcentral at the social media marketing and management platform.
Using Slack ‘Scheduled Send’ + Reclaim.ai to Schedule Messages
August 10, 2021

Using Slack ‘Scheduled Send’ + Reclaim.ai to Schedule Messages

Slack released a much-anticipated feature in June of 2021: scheduled sends for Slack messages. This, paired with some awesome Status syncing capabilities from Reclaim, can help you become a rockstar Slack communicator and role model for your team.
Calendar Heroes: Michele Wiedemer, Manager of Customer Education at Snyk
August 9, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Michele Wiedemer, Manager of Customer Education at Snyk

Michele Wiedemer at Synk shares how she balances priorities while developing the education training program for security champions and developers at the open source security platform.
Best Time to Exercise? Morning, Afternoon or Whenever
August 4, 2021

Best Time to Exercise? Morning, Afternoon or Whenever

Exercising for as little as 15 minutes a day can increase your lifespan by as much as 3 years, and you’ll sleep better and feel less stressed too. Here's how to optimize your workouts for the best time of day.
Make Time to Read: 5 Practical Tips for Busy People
July 28, 2021

Make Time to Read: 5 Practical Tips for Busy People

Reading has amazing benefits, and 35% of people want to do it more. It increases verbal intelligence, makes you a better leader, reduces stress, and fends off Alzheimer’s. Here are 5 tips to try out.
Calendar Heroes: Rohini Pandhi, Product @ Square
July 26, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Rohini Pandhi, Product @ Square

Rohini Pandhi, a Product Lead at Square, shares her style, tools and methodologies for balancing priorities while leading the product efforts for one of the top digital payment companies in the world.
15 Best Slack Apps for the Future of Work
July 22, 2021

15 Best Slack Apps for the Future of Work

Check out the top 15 Slack apps productive teams are using today to build and support the future of work at their organization across calendar management, project management, status updates, HR and team building.
Calendar Heroes: Q&A with Connor MacDonald, CMO at The Ridge
July 19, 2021

Calendar Heroes: Q&A with Connor MacDonald, CMO at The Ridge

Connor MacDonald at The Ridge shares his style, tools and methodologies for balancing priorities while leading the marketing vision for the brand that brought the world the first RFID-blocking wallet.
Clockwise vs. Reclaim.ai: 8 Key Differences in these Smart Calendar Tools
July 7, 2021

Clockwise vs. Reclaim.ai: 8 Key Differences in these Smart Calendar Tools

We get asked almost every day: what's the difference between Reclaim.ai and Clockwise? While we're both in the smart calendar space, there are some key differences to consider.
Naming Calendar Events: 5 Calendar Etiquette Tips
July 2, 2021

Naming Calendar Events: 5 Calendar Etiquette Tips

Need to create better calendar event titles to communicate context to your invitees, colleagues and incoming schedulers? Calendar communication starts with the first thing people see: the event title.
Lunch Breaks: 5 Ways to Improve Your Productivity
June 22, 2021

Lunch Breaks: 5 Ways to Improve Your Productivity

Want to improve your quality of work, energy level, and creativity? In this article, learn 5 ways in which taking a lunch will actually boost your productivity.
Effective Meetings vs. Pointless Meetings: How to Tell the Difference & Prioritize Your Own Time
June 17, 2021

Effective Meetings vs. Pointless Meetings: How to Tell the Difference & Prioritize Your Own Time

Learn the 5 key differences between effective vs. pointless meetings, and 3 tips to avoid unnecessary meetings getting booked on your calendar.
3 Ways to Find Work-Life Balance in the New Normal
June 10, 2021

3 Ways to Find Work-Life Balance in the New Normal

You want work-life balance, but work and life can't separate into equal halves. Forget balance, here are three ways to make work-life harmony a reality.
Reclaim just raised $4.8M in seed funding! 🎉
May 26, 2021

Reclaim just raised $4.8M in seed funding! 🎉

We're excited to announce that Reclaim has raised $4.8M in seed funding led by Index Ventures. Here's what comes next.
Pareto Principle: Using the 80/20 Rule for Priority Management
May 25, 2021

Pareto Principle: Using the 80/20 Rule for Priority Management

How to use the Pareto Principle 80/20 rule to block time for your priorities.
3 Single-Tasking Tips to Improve Your Focus
April 28, 2021

3 Single-Tasking Tips to Improve Your Focus

While you may think multitasking is a skill you can master, only 2.5% of people can do it effectively. Your brain performs best when “single-tasking”, focusing on only one thing at a time.
How to Create a Smart Calendar
April 22, 2021

How to Create a Smart Calendar

A smart calendar can help you simplify calendar management and boost productivity. Here's how to create a smart calendar so you can take control of your busy schedule.
Time Management Advice - Top 3 Problems & How to Solve Them
April 9, 2021

Time Management Advice - Top 3 Problems & How to Solve Them

Most time management advice is out of touch with reality. Here are the top 3 problems with it and how to solve them.
Announcing the Planner Beta: a New Way to Manage Your Workweek
April 5, 2021

Announcing the Planner Beta: a New Way to Manage Your Workweek

We're excited to announce that Planner is now available in public beta for all Reclaim users. Planner lets you prioritize and schedule all your Tasks and Habits exactly the way you want, every week.
4 Time Blocking Planner Approaches to Squeeze More From Busy Schedules
March 25, 2021

4 Time Blocking Planner Approaches to Squeeze More From Busy Schedules

Time blocking is the habit of mindfully scheduling daily and weekly tasks to get everything done as efficiently as possible. A time blocking planner is used to organize your new, efficient schedule.
Context Switching Is Destroying Your Workday: Here's How to Fix It
March 16, 2021

Context Switching Is Destroying Your Workday: Here's How to Fix It

How do you stop context switching from eating into your productive time? We look at tactics to help you reduce task switching and improve your concentration at work.
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