How I use my planners, digital edition

Last week, I wrote about my paper planners: one for work, one for this, and one notebook to track information like how I've slept and what I'm working on day-to-day. I wrote about how I somehow can't plan ahead very well on paper, so now I'm going to cover my digital planning.

I use two different systems, and I have two different accounts on one of them. I know that it's a bit ridiculous on top of having two paper planners, and I'm thinking seriously of going to one digital system, but here we go...


At work, I use ClickUp. They have a free version and a paid version, and there's alot that a poor librarian can do with the free version, but I was ready to expand and went to the paid version. (They have a discount for non-profits). In ClickUp, you can open a word processing document right there in the system. One thing that does help me to think ahead is to be able to open up a blank document and just type.

ClickUp is also great for lists, and you can view those lists as boards. It makes it easy to set up labels for your lists or to choose from their options. I didn't give this any thought when I was first setting mine up, but I went through it recently and put my lists into better order (I had many duplicates) and sometimes combined "spaces" (which is their way of organizing lists). I made each list's labels the same- now, next, reference, and ideas. So, when I go out of a space and into "everything" in board view, it combines all the now lists into one master list, and I can see what I've put on a now list all together. In "reference," I've put lists that are just bits of information but won't ever be tasks, and I think that "next" and "ideas" are pretty self-explanatory.

With any organizer/planner, it's important to go back to it regularly and review everything, and I had not been keeping on top of that. It was very weedy, but a couple of days' work put it into order, and now I can go over my now and next lists and feel the potential to move forward on some of my projects.

I also use ClickUp at home for my writing. I used the whiteboard feature with sticky-notes to organize some ideas for a novel I'm trying to write.


The main digital organizer that I use at home now is Trello. I like it; it is made up of lists viewed in board form. It has labels that are easy to set up, and due dates that are very helpful. There are many more features in the paid-for version, which I haven't tried.

One thing that I've done in the past few months that made a huge difference for me in terms of keeping track of my ideas was to make one board called "Dashboard". I made two lists on that board for every other board that might have to-do items on it. Ex., I have a "book lists" board, so I have a "book lists NOW" list and a book lists "NEXT" list on my dashboard. Whenever I knock a few things off of a now list, I move things over from my next list, and when that gets sparse, I go to the "book lists" board to see what I want to work on next.

Having everything on the dashboard, of course, stops me from forgetting any of my boards. It does no good to have lots of ideas and tasks organized into lists if you never go back and review them. I've made Monday my day to review Trello and decide what to work on for the week, and as I wrote in the paper planner post, I write that down in my planner, and track action on these tasks from there.

I don't like being stretched between two digital planners for my personal projects, even though I'm using them for completely different things. If I put them together, I'll have grown out of the free versions, which is fine. If I put this blog (and hopefully soon shopify) project into one system with my writing notes, it will be ClickUp. I like their docs feature and the whiteboard feature. I like the way that the lists of tasks and sub-tasks works. I haven't made up my mind yet, so I'll wait awhile.

None of this is a very good overview of how to use these systems, but they both have lots of information on their features, and I see no reason to go over that when they've surely done it better than I could. There are also free trials, which I think are better than reading instructions.

I also have a notes app, but I'm not getting into that right now! I'll just say that I recently became aware that I have ideas and tasks that are getting lost in there, so I need to also review that on Monday, to put things into my digital planners. When I have a note for my job, I send myself an email, and that is one thing that I keep on top of, believe it or not.

Whew, this is a long post for me. I hope that it makes sense. I sometimes feel like I'm trying to organize chaos, so I wouldn't be surprised if this is incomprehensible. I do feel that I'm making progress recently, which is a huge relief.

If this was helpful or if you have a tip, please leave a comment below! Also, I'd love links to anyone's blog posts on planners or organizers. I love reading about this stuff.

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