Melding Paper with Digital Planning Worlds

by Rev. Joy-Ellen Lipsky

December 2018

As a project and product manager, I have done time management and

organization for decades. I also facilitated FranklinQuest and then FranklinCovey

time management courses within my company for years. Of course, in the

beginning,  there were only planners with paper inserts to use for writing your

values, goals, tasks, contacts and appointments.  Then you needed to carry your planner

with you everywhere in case you needed to add or change an appointment  or

capture a task that would need to be done.


Along came the first PDAs – personal digital assistants. The first ones were not

very helpful to keep track of all the pieces and parts of one’s life. But, eventually

there came those PDAs that would connect with our computers to sync information

back and forth. They were about the size of your hand and you could more easily

carry them with you versus the paper planner. When cell phones became “smart”

we gave up our PDAs and have our all our information in that device which we

keep with us while we are out and about.


I have used Outlook on my PC since it was the tool that I used at work. My original PDA would

sync with Outlook on my computer and transfer back and forth my time management information.

Now, I do that with software on my PC and an app on my cell phone. It makes it very

convenient  to have all my information with me when I am away from my PC.


Through all the changes, I have continued to also use a paper planner.  I originally had

a 2-page per day setup, but I now have an A5 sized planner with 2-pages per week that

I customize through I plan out my week, have tasks for the week categorized

into 7 lists, and with erasable ink, I don’t have to use a pencil anymore.  Since I have all

my information in my computer and cell phone, why do I also keep a paper planner?

Because the simple act of spending time writing out the appointments and tasks helps me

to remember what is happening during the week and what needs to be done. Plus, my

planner is always open for me to glance at during the time I am at my desk. I also have the

fun during my weekly planning to make the pages pretty with washi and stickers and coordinating



I no longer carry the paper planner with me when I am out and about. I can add appointments and

tasks through my cell phone app and then sync when I am back home. However, I will not

give up my paper planner as it also houses my favorite quotes, articles, year at a glance calendar, and

notes from all my volunteer activities. So, I like to think that I have successfully melded digital to

analog to make my life easier and more effective.

Rev. Joy-Ellen Lakshmi Lipsky is an interfaith community minister with an M.Div. from the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment in interfaith studies with an emphasis on Kriya Yoga, an M.S. in Computer and Information Science and a B.A. in Math from San Jose State.   Joy-Ellen is currently in a D.Min. program with Ocean Seminary College, Board Chair and past Secretary of the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council, Steering Committee member of the UU Mystics in Community, and on the Ambassador Advisory Council of the Parliament of the World’s Religions.  She is also a Commissioned Community Minister with the First Unitarian Church of San Jose.

Joy-Ellen is a certified computing professional (CCP), a certified project manager (PMP), a professional member of the National Speakers Association, volunteer, business owner, and has received numerous awards and recognition.  As a speaker and consultant, she has traveled the world. Rev. Lipsky contributed to the anthology book, Success is a Decision of the Mind, which is available from  She also co-wrote Coaching for the New Century, for PCMA, the Professional Coaches and Mentors Association.




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