Having a day planner organizer is an essential tool for highly productive living. When you first get an organizer, it looks a little overwhelming with all the different features and long instructions. But once you get used to it you begin to see the logic and value of each part. Eventually, using it becomes second nature.
Be sure to read the updates at the bottom.
I am going share my experiences using both a paper and software day planner organizer. Although this is a subject that is usually considered just before the start of a new year, I would encourage anyone who is not using a day planner organizer to start right away regardless of the date. In addition, if you are unsatisfied with your current organizer you might consider switching. What’s important is taking advantage of the time you have left in the year to learn how to use it so that you can put it into practice as soon as possible.
I was first introduced to the Franklin-Covey (paper) day planner while working for a large international corporation. My boss purchased one for all the department heads. I was impressed with it so I purchased one for each of my managers and support staff.
There is a tremendous advantage when everyone who you are working with has the same planner as you do. This is especially true for a manager who is leading a group of subordinate managers. When you plan various activities, everyone is literally on the same page.
Giving my staff this day planner also provided me with the opportunity to fine-tune their planning and organizing skills. Although it was my management style to provide an intricate plan for what I wanted my staff to accomplish, I accredit the Franklin-Covey planner, in part, for helping develop a team that consistently lead the United States in all performance categories.
Personally, my Franklin-Covey (paper) day planner improved my productivity. And I was already pretty strong in this area. What it did for me was to refine my skills and streamline my organizing activities.
Paper Versus Software Day Planner Organizer
In January of 2010, I started using a software organizer on my desktop computer after using the Franklin-Covey paper-based day planner for many years.
Always being on the lookout for ways to simplify my life and increase my productivity, I starting looking into converting to a software organizer in November-December of 2009. This is the time that I’d normally get a new Franklin-Covey calendar for the upcoming year. Had I known what I came to discover about the software planner, I would have switched years ago without being concerned about which month I started.
Although Franklin-Covey does have a software version of their planner, I decided to try a different one that I had gotten as a gift a couple of years earlier. This software is an early version of the AnyTime Organizer (link to newest version 15).
AnyTime Organizer 15 (above) is compatible with Microsoft Windows. Tip: If you’re upgrading, be sure to follow the instructions in the User Guide.
Unless you have little or no experience using computer software, I see few advantages for using a paper-based day planner organizer. Although the costs for purchasing day planner organizer software can be a bit more initially, in the long run the cost is much less. Purchasing the software is a one-time expense that can last years. With the paper-based version, you have to buy a new calendar package every year and a new address book every few years as it wears out and gets cluttered with obsolete information.
Here are the advantages of a software day planner organizer in comparison to a paper-based version. This comparison is based on the AnyTime Organizer that I am using currently.
- Password protect access. (Impossible with a paper version.)
- Insert recurring weekly, monthly, and yearly events and tasks with a single entry. (With a paper version you’d have to enter each one separately.)
- Setup alarms & reminders for upcoming events and tasks. (Impossible with a paper version.)
- Make quick, easy, and clean changes to any entry. (With a paper version the erasing and rewriting leaves the area messy, especially after multiple changes.)
- Drag and drop, copy and paste entries to another date or location. (Impossible with a paper version.)
- Automatically rollover unfinished tasks to the next day and beyond. (With a paper version this must be done by hand.)
- Find a particular event or task using the search function. (With a paper version you could waste a lot of time trying to located a particular event or task.)
- Switch to various calendar views depending on your need at any particular moment. (Paper version only has one view.)
- Make journal entries and notes of any length. (Impossible with a paper version.)
- Enter multiple addresses, phone numbers, and emails along with birthdays, anniversaries, and notes for each contact in the address book. And have the birthdays and anniversaries automatically entered into the calendar. (All of this is impossible with a paper version.)
- Initiate envelope and label printing from the address book. (Impossible with a paper version.)
- Automatically dial phones numbers of contacts in the address book. (Impossible with a paper version.)
The newer version of the AnyTime Organizer software includes these great capabilities.
- Spell check to ensure a professional appearance.
- Customize look and feel.
- Keep a daily personal or travel journal.
- Store user ID’s, logins, pins, & more in an encrypted password organizer.
- Track personal and business expenses.
- Create a PDF of your calendar to email to friends and family.
- Send email to contact in address book with one-click.
- Access website of contact in address book with one-click.
- Start letter to contact in address book with one-click.
- Get map and directions for contact in address book with one-click.
- Send email to multiple contacts in address book.
- Check time in hundreds of locations using the world clocks.
- Import-Export information from/to other software.
- Synchronize data between AnyTime Organizer and mobile devices (phones, pads, tablets) and Personal Information Managers (PIM: Outlook & Google).
- Print pages for Day-Timer®, Day Runner®, At-A-Glace®, & Franklin-Covey® paper-based planners.
The developer of the AnyTime Organizer also has many other excellent software products. Check them out here.
I wish I had started using a software day planner organizer years ago. It would have made my life easier and more productive. I am so thoroughly impressed with this software organizer, I am going buy the newest version. (Read my review below.)
If you want to increase your productivity, save time, and simplify your life, I strongly recommend you get the AnyTime Organizer (link to newest version 15).
The AnyTime Organizer software has a familiar appearance, intuitive user interface, and it’s easy to learn.
Now that I’ve gotten to know this new version of the AnyTime Organizer (link to newest version 15), I’ve fallen in love — all over again.
AnyTime Organizer Deluxe 15 is compatible with Microsoft Windows. Tip: If you’re upgrading, be sure to follow the instructions in the User Guide.
Updates, Reviews, & Tips
Update 1 – Purchased the deluxe version (12) upgrade.
Update 2 – Now that I’ve worked with the deluxe version (12) for a few days and set everything up, I have this report.
This new product is 10 times better than the earlier version that I was using before. It has many cool features too numerous to list here. I can already tell how it is going to significantly improvement my productivity and organization. What I like most about using this software is in how it going to simplify my life.
I was having a problem updating the holidays file for the calendar so I sent an email to technical support. I received a reply with an easy fix within 24 hours. Once I read the fix, I realized that the problem was my fault. I hadn’t followed the instructions in the user guide close enough.
Update 3 – Got the new AnyTime Organizer Deluxe 14. Can’t wait to try it out.
Update 4 – Here’s my report after using the new AnyTime Organizer 14 for about a week.
Even though I got the full version and not the upgrade, the transition was seamless. All the information from the old version transferred to the new one with a couple of clicks. This included all the information I had entered in future years using the “Repeat” feature. So everything is already done for next year and beyond! That “Repeat” feature has saved me countless hours in comparison to when I was using a paper-based organizer.
There are many improvements to the 14 version. Of the ones I’ve discovered so far, I particularly like the “Sub Priority” category that was added to the “To-Do List” and the addition of the password requirement to enter the “Password Organizer.”
The “Sub Priority” category provides an additional level of organization, which I have found to be very useful. Although the organizer has an optional password requirement to open the program and the passwords inside the “Password Organizer” are encrypted so that only asterisks (***) are shown, having a second password requirement adds an extra level of security that I very much appreciate.
I would imagine that improvements were made to the “AnySync” tool as well. I just haven’t gotten that far. This tool allows you to synchronize data between AnyTime Organizer and your mobile devices (phones, pads, tablets) and Personal Information Managers (PIM: Outlook, Google).
With each new version, my productivity goes up and my life gets simpler!
Tips: (1.) Be sure to uninstall any organizer programs before you install the new AnyTime Organizer. (2.) Read the “User’s Guide.” It will shorten your learning curve and introduce you to some cool features that you might otherwise overlook.
Update 5 – Upgraded to AnyTime Organizer Deluxe 15 (ATO15).
The most significant change I’ve found so far is the new and improved syncing feature from ATO15 to a smart phone and other devices through a Google account. This tool allows you to sync calendar appointments/events and contact data. This gives you the ability to view and update this information via your Gmail account and sync it to your smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device from virtually anywhere in the world.
ATO15 is faster and more agile. This is most noticeable when you start it. It pops right up, which is nice.
I was a bit disappointed that they did not add a password “generator” to the password organizer in ATO15. However, I was told by a technical support representative that they are planning to add one in a future update. Until then, technical support will give you a nice one for free if you ask and it serves the purpose in a different way that works well. The ATO15 password organizer is still a secure and convenient place to store, backup, organize, and retrieve your password information and more. It also has several nice sorting and printing features for backup and other purposes that come in handy.
Tip: If you do print your password list as a backup, I strongly recommend that you print it as a PDF and add a password to open it. I use the free version of the PrimoPDF creator, which has a security tool for creating a password.
Update 6 – They just provided a free automatic update to version ATO 15 – 1.3. It eliminated a few tiny bugs. Now it closes instantly and runs smoother and faster!
Download AnyTime Organizer 15 now! (Link to newest version.)
Question? Ask it here.