As I’ve continued to research planners, planning systems and how other people use their planners, I’ve come across a few things I think should NOT be kept in a planner. Please feel free to disagree with me but these are my top five things I won’t keep in my planner.
- Passwords: For all my passwords, I use 1Password which syncs across all my devices (computers, tablets and cell phones), creates complex passwords and allows me to use one password to access all of it. It will also store credit card information, shipping information and software serial numbers, all behind the master password. I don’t feel comfortable keeping my passwords in my planner in case it gets lost or I leave it laying unattended for any length of time. Besides, I try to employ a regular password changing schedule for my very important accounts like banking and insurance. Take my advice and migrate your passwords to a secure, online system like 1Password. Its not cheap but it is worth every cent.
- Frequent Shopper, Frequent Flyer & Related Cards: While I love paper systems, all these credit card-sized cards in my planner or wallet take up a ton of space and are often only accessed or used occasionally. I found the app CardStar several years ago and it is perfect for saving all these cards. The app will scan the bar code off the card and store it in your phone. When you need to use a card, pull it up and the bar code appears on screen for the cashier to scan. Often times, the bar code is bigger than on the original card and is not scuffed or faded making it easier to scan. I use mine to store pharmacy cards, library cards, hotel point and flyer miles cards. I even hide important account numbers under unused mileage categories like my husband’s social security number or my bank account number. The app does not have a secure log-in for the iPhone but since my phone is thumbprint locked, I’m not overly concerned that someone will get into my phone and into the app to find these numbers. The only cards I couldn’t store in the app are any with magnetic strips rather than bar codes or numbers on them or warehouse club cards like Costco since I have to show them at the door. My Barnes & Noble and Panera cards still have to travel in my wallet because they have mag strips but hopefully, as more systems get upgraded, these cards will change to bar codes as well. I still store a copy of all my cards in Cardstar in case my wallet goes missing or I misplace a card. I have the numbers stored and Cardstar often stores contact information for commonly used vendors right in the app so that I could contact them should I need to replace a card, upgrade my account or contact them about another matter. The last hold over are punch cards for local coffeeshops and the like. I keep these in a small card case in my wallet.
- Home Address: Yes, it is vitally important to keep some sort of contact information in the front of your planner should you misplace it. Using your email address, cell number or office contact info is acceptable in hopes that someone might try to return it to you. I would not recommend keeping your home address in the front of your planner for security reasons — both personal safety and identity theft. I set-up a Google Voice account many years ago to have a phone number that is not my personal number. Google Voice allows you to block individual numbers, receive text-translated voice mail messages and many other great features. If you run a business and use your cell phone as your main means of communication, a Google Voice number might be the perfect solution to have a personal number and a business number. And it means you can put contact info in your planner without revealing your real phone number.
- Checkbook or checks: Lots of people use their planner to do double duty as a wallet but in 2015, there is no reason to carry your checkbook, with your address and bank account number printed on each and every one. If you have to make a deposit or mail a check, prepare and completely fill out the checks you need to take with you before you leave the house. If you’re mailing them, be sure they are sealed in an envelope before you leave. If you are delivering them personally, put them in an envelope and seal it with the intended recipient’s name on it as well. If you’re making a deposit at the bank, be sure each check has “For deposit only” written on the back with your signature which will make it less likely that a bank would cash it for someone else.
- Excess detritus: This is probably very obvious to most people but in the excitement of setting up a new planner, I often over-stuff it with things I think I’ll need but I don’t use. This just makes the planner bulkier and heavier than if I pare it down to the essentials. So, I’ve learned that I don’t need to fill all the pockets with decorating items, every coupon, every receipt, extra sticky notes and my kitchen sink. I have a couple sheets of Japanese calendar stickers that I reserve for vacations and special events and a sheet of washi stickers I use to cover up anything that gets moved or changed. I keep a short stack of sticky notes for miscellaneous lists. I have lots of extra bits at home should I get the urge to “fancy up” my planner. Be mindful that the more you cram in your planner, the heavier it will be and the less likely you will be to carry it with you thus undoing any good planning mojo you may have created by including extra stuff.
This is, for me, the things I think should not be kept in a planner, especially if you leave it laying on your desk, tote it around in your bag, hang it over the edge of the shopping cart at the grocery and basically live out of it. While I would be devastated to lose it, I know that if I did lose it, I would not be a potential victim of identity theft too.
If you are someone whose planner never leaves the house, than these tenets might not apply to you.
Did I forget anything you think shouldn’t be stored in a planner?