I’m always trying to balance the digital part of my life with my penchant for low-tech, traditional paper and pen. As a freelance writer and web content marketer, that means I’ve tried just about every system coming and going – both digital and paper.
No matter what I do, I end up at the end of the year, sorting through receipts, checking all my notebooks for scribbles on mileage and lunch meetings, and scouring my email for automatic payments on business bills. It’s humbling, if not downright depressing. It also takes three or four days and I’m in such a foul mood everyone cuts me a HUGE path. For years, “I’m working on taxes” was the only thing I could say that would actually strike terror into my children and make them quiet and cautious.
For 2013, I’m taking a new path. I’m going to use the 2013 Moleskine Daily Planner Set.
More to Love; Less to Carry
I like keeping a notebook with me all the time to capture ideas, snippets of conversations, and general information I may need to reference later. The problem is, I usually go out without what I need because I don’t like to carry too much when I leave the house. The smaller size of a pocket planner solves that as it is small enough to fit in my purse (so I’ll always have it with me), yet big enough for my ideas to fill it up before returning it to the binder set.
Why This Will Work
The Moleskine Daily Planner Set meets my needs beautifully by giving me a new daily planner each month with a full page per day for jotting down mileage AS it’s HAPPENING in one place, automatic payments that hit my account, automatic withdrawals to pay bills, who I meet for a business lunch and what we discuss, and I can even record those little office supplies I pick up while I’m out doing personal shopping.
I only wish each month had the expandable pocket in the back to hold those pesky little receipts that are so easy to lose. Since they don’t come with one, I’ll be adding them to each volume myself.
Once the month is over, I’ll return the book to the binder and take out a new one. At the end of the year, I’ll have a complete set outlining my year in business in one convenient place. And I’ll have a written record should I ever get audited (without having to scour my computer system and pull together old files).
My income tracking is handled online (I use Cashboard and love it). I can pull a year-end report and have all the invoicing and payment information in a flash because I do all my billing through that one online system and all my clients pay online. It’s the little expenses here and there, the daily stuff, that make me crazy. I’m confident the Moleskine Daily Planner Set should solve the problem.
Why My Other Systems Didn’t Work
I like a paper version of bookkeeping records – it’s faster to jot down expenses than to power up a computer and open a program to do it – but never could remember to carry my record book with me everywhere (and didn’t want to, since it was so big). I’d also forget to log items when I returned to the office, meaning I’d lose business expenses deductions every year to my faulty system. It also means I always felt like I was playing “catch up.”
I’ve tried phone apps and tablet apps and computer apps. They were always too time-intensive to set up, too awkward to use on the run, or too focused in their application (meaning they would only track mileage and I’d have to open another app to do meals and another to do miscellaneous business expenses like office supplies, professional subscriptions and equipment). The few that showed promise invariably crashed and lost several months worth of data that cost me more time to recover and/or research all over again than they were worth. It also made my language get a little too colorful for comfort. Granted, today’s digital systems and “cloud” backups mean this happens less, but I’ve been burned too many times, now. No thank you.
What I need is a single, portable place to dump and store all my information. I love the fact that this page-a-day format will eliminate my need to write the date of each purchase. I know that’s a little thing, but it irks me. With these monthly volumes, I’ll jot down what it was, how much it was, and where I bought it – and list the project if it’s for a specific client – then slip the receipt in the (soon to be) homemade back pocket.
I Want a SIMPLE System
I can’t wait to get my set to begin my new system. It’s currently on order so I can start the year right – and of course the planner set will be the first items listed in my business expenses for January! I’m going to be so organized and efficient this year! (And I won’t have to lug around a huge book to accomplish it – just a single slender monthly volume.)
The ONLY thing that could make it better would be a built-in back pocket per notebook and access to a set that was varying shades of purple instead of rainbow colors … but that’s just me.
Meet the Writer: Angela Allen has been creating online content for small business clients since 1999, when she had to use a painfully slow dial-up connection. Now, she specializes in real estate topics and organic content marketing for entrepreneurs on a gloriously high speed connection. When she’s not writing for WickedWriter.com clients, she enjoys the discipline of living small in her high-tech cabin deep in the woods of Kentucky, blogging on WickedBlog, and enjoying the pure tactile titillation of going “old-school” and writing with a fountain pen on luxury paper.
Editor’s Note: Shopping for a 2013 Daily Planner? Discover all available 2013 day-per-page datebooks here. Prefer weekly or monthly formats? We’ve got those too for 2013: All Weekly 2013 Planners and All 2013 Monthly Planners.