Planner Update: Or, "Oh My Goodness, I Got a SmartPhone" | The Speckled Goat: Planner Update: Or, "Oh My Goodness, I Got a SmartPhone"


Planner Update: Or, "Oh My Goodness, I Got a SmartPhone"

planner best apps for planning android to do list paper planning

I love my paper planner. For real. But last month, I got a fancy smart phone (and joined the 21st century!), and to be honest, that changed some things. Like the ways I plan. I use apps, now. (WHAT?)

I didn't really expect it make a difference for me- especially since I was so staunchly opposed to getting a smart phone in the first place. The ability to get pictures of my (adorable!) nieces and nephews sent right to my phone tipped the scales in the favor of upgrading. Well, that, and the fact that my "dumb phone" finally bit the dust (after five years! I know!).

But honestly, having a smart phone has changed the way I do stuff.

And so, in the interest of full disclosure, I want to tell you about the apps I've started to use, and also the things I still (still!) use my paper planner to accomplish.

Planning Apps

Google Calendar

I've long been a fan of the Google Calendar, on desktop, anyways- I used one at Camp for years, and kind of got the feel for how it works. It's simple, easy to use, and makes sharing calendars easy.

With my Android smart phone, I use Google Calendar to put in my time-dependent tasks- like meetings, appointments, and my daily routine. The notification feature is really handy.

For example, if I have a meeting in town, I can set the calendar to notify me a half hour before the meeting starts, so I can make it there on time.

I also use the notifications for my routine- it keeps me on track with how long I'm spending on each task. My morning routine consists of waking up, my Bible study time, walking the dog, and then a chore each morning. On my calendar, I set up those activities at certain times using the option to repeat them for each week day. Then, when it's time to switch tasks- like when it's time to go from walking the dog to my morning chore- I get a notification - ping!


This one is new to me, and there's still a little bit of a learning curve on this one. Wunderlist is a to-do-list-- it's pretty simple to use, easy to set up, and allows for several different ongoing lists (like Blog To Do, House To Do, Work To Do... or you can have more specific lists, like a list of tasks for a large project).

The best part, in my opinion, of Wunderlist (besides the fact that the name is pronounced 'Vvvvvuuuunderlist!' -- at least, that's how I say it...), is that it's so shareable. I can share my House To Do list with Trevor, and then he can add tasks or complete tasks on the list, too. I also use it for my new job- that way, my boss/brother-in-law can add jobs onto my to-do list, and he's notified when I get it done.

Currently, I am using Wunderlist for work and also for this blog. I may end up using it for more stuff, too... but haven't gotten there just yet.

Google Docs

Again, I've totally been using Google Docs for a while, but the desktop version. Google Docs, if you aren't familiar, is an online word processing system-- like Microsoft Word, just online.

I did use Google Docs to write out to-do lists for a while, but it was a little more clumsy and not as nicely formatted. Now I use Google Docs on my phone for some of the things that I previously used my "notes" planner section for (menu plans, . Also very easy to share, Google Docs makes it a snap to send my notes to my hubby or whoever.

So, What's Still in My Paper Planner?

Editorial Calendar

Yep. My blog calendar is still in my good ole paper planner.

I know I could put it into a Google Calendar, but I really like my editorial calendar system. I can see all of my blog posts for the month at a glance, make notes about content, and use my own shorthand for my progress (is it written? is it scheduled to be posted?). The physical act of writing it down really helps me to start mulling ideas over in my mind.

A Notes Section

I still keep a notes section in my paper planner. I know that almost everywhere has wireless internet now, but when it comes to the important stuff, you just never know.

My notes section includes the phone numbers for our utilities companies and our utilities account numbers, a copy of our health insurance cards... stuff like that. Carrying that info around doesn't always come in handy, but man, when you need it, knowing that you've got it right there makes a huge difference.

Post It Notes, My Goals, Ideas

Having a post-it handy is always a plus. Trust me. That's why I carry a small stack of them in my binder-- and I still use them a lot.

I also physically write out my goals-- it just helps me to see it in my own writing, and again, the physical act of writing it down helps it to "stick" better.

My notes section also includes ideas, thoughts, quotes... because I'm still a much faster writer than I am a typer (especially on that tiny screen!)

What apps do you use to keep you on track? Anything that you still use good old paper for?

DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging habit, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. You may see a full disclosure by clicking on my "About" page. I will only promote products that I use, enjoy, or take a shine to. All opinions and reviews are my own and are not influenced by any compensation I may receive.


  1. Good post. I haven't joined the ranks of Smart phone users yet, but it probably will happen sooner or late. Thanks for the tips! - Amy

  2. I got a smart phone about a year ago and I really like having my calendar and to do list with me on the go. I use Google calendar too but I'm looking for a new to-do list app (I just use Google Calendar and put in tasks but I don't really like it). I'll check out Wunderlist. Thanks for this helpful list of what you do digitally and what you still do with your planner.

  3. I found that I can't do any calendaring or planning with my phone. I am all about my paper planner. I do use Google calendar, but that is mostly for my husband's benefit!