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One more advantage of paper planners

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Planners leave hard copy evidence that you lived

“To do” lists are fine when you’re young, but as you get older you also need the encouragement of “Have done” lists. At least, I do. There is nothing quite as satisfying and motivational as glancing at the myriad of tasks, projects and other accomplishments listed, scheduled, and crossed off on the pages of my past planners.

Even seeing the planner inserts of the past 30 years stacked like books on a bottom shelf of the bookcase, the year marked boldly on the spines, provides an assurance that my life has not been wasted.

If I were to take the time to flip through those pages I would see the evidence of my 20-plus books, over 2000 speeches and workshops, conferences attended, cruises enjoyed, travel booked, meetings attended, and friends, parties and stage plays enjoyed.

If my memory fades, I can always refresh it by looking up that cruise in 1987 or the vacation in Costa Rica in 1991 or that adventure in Mexico in 2015.

Would a digital planner have done the same? Well, aside from the fact that it was not available at the time, the answer would have to be no. Digital records seem to be fleeting, evaporating after a time and unavailable a few years hence.

How many people keep their digital planners intact? And how accessible are they? And what details are recorded there? We don’t live digital lives; we live in real time with real “hard copy” lives, and we should leave footprints of our lives that are not as fragile as footprints on the beach.

After I’ve gone, will my children keep and treasure those planners as I have? Will they reminisce when they see their own adventures in school and sports recorded there? Will they write a biography of their dad based on the entries? Or use some of the information for a eulogy?

Very unlikely. But it doesn’t matter. These planners are a testament to my having lived, loved, worked and played – and achieved something of significance. And hopefully I will have left the world just a tiny bit better because of it.

As I continue to live, I still find them motivational. And I will continue to use them as we enter 2016 – and hopefully beyond.

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