Analog + Digital planning with iPod Touch & Circa notebooks

I was doing SOOO well sticking with analog paper planners & calendars. Then two things joined forces and ruined it all.

First, I found a great deal on TaskPaper. This is a Mac app I've played around with before and really enjoyed using it and then they offered a 50% discount. Right around that time, my wife made the comment that her iPod Touch is the best planner she has ever used. Along comes an iPhone version of TaskPaper that syncs up with the desktop version and the web service.

I'm finding myself doing more and more planning on the iPod Touch (I rarely use my cell phone and am usually not far away from a Wifi Hotspot, so the iPhone is not worth it for me). But I still like my paper. The issue I'm finding is I've got todo lists and calendars in two different places - my paper planner and my iPod Touch.

Has anyone else fought with how to handle this kind of issue and won?

What I'd REALLY like to do is this - if there is such a beast: get a wallet that has a pocket up front for my iPod Touch and one in the back for a 3x5 Circa notebook and just carry it all together. All I'd need would be this wallet/pocket planner, cell phone, and keys and I'd be good to go.


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No insights, just some thoughts...

Hi Kenny,

I've been using a PDA for 6-7 years, after depending on a compact Day-Timer for several years. My current PDA is an iPhone (but it is my only cell phone). Your struggle with balancing and synchronizing digital and analog is an ongoing experiment with me too.

My particular struggle was with synchronizing my work and home desktop computer calendars, the iPhone, and my Circa notebook. I use the latter primarily as a notebook, but like to carry a condensed calendar of events in it, as well as a truncated list of contacts and some reference info, so I don't have to flip between the iPhone and the notebook too much.

However, when I need to schedule something well in advance, or to check if I can participate in a meeting, I use my iPhone's calendar. I keep contacts on the iPhone because there's too many for hardcopy.

The main problem was syncing with the desktop calendar. No problem at home on my Mac, but I'm not allowed to sync the iPhone with my desktop PC. Security issues. I found something (BusySync) that would allow my Mac's iCal to sync bi-directionally with Google Calendar. I then can pull up Google Calendar at work to review, and print out small sized calendars to put into the Circa junior notebook. Google Calendar's printing capability is pretty marginal, unfortunately.

I haven't found a good solution for To Dos, even though there are a lot of To Do apps for the Touch. I don't like having to use an app for each function. It also means syncing multiple apps. I was raised on the Palm PDA and syncing everything with one desktop program. I wish that Apple had better methods to sync To Dos with the iPhone calendar and with iCal. The DateBk5 application (Pimlico Software) for the old Palm OS was great, but it's not made for iPhone or Touch. I'm hoping that they develop it for the iPhone OS, because I'd buy it in a second. Pocket Informant might be something worth looking at.

I have one suggestion for the bag. I have seen small gear bags that would probably be suitable for your needs. They usually have multiple zippered compartments, and pockets for pens, cellphones, etc. Levenger used to sell some. Some would even hang on a belt. I confess never using one though.

The struggle continues... sorry, no silver bullet yet.
"If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything." - Mark Twain

From Pimlico Software page :)

"During the course of 2009/2010, Pimlico Software plans to roll out versions for other desktop and handheld platforms with a virtually identical feature set. There are no specific timetables available at this time. You may want to come back to this page on a regular basis to see what new versions have been released, or are available as a preview release."

Email them and check their home page frequently, you will get a new version of DateBk for your device.

Gear bag

Here's an example of a gear/organizer/day travel bag. It looks rugged enough maybe to escape the "murse" designation. :-)

I got something less elaborate for a donation to my local public radio station. After not using it for a while, my brother-in-law said he needed something for his trip to Egypt, so I gave it to him. It worked well for him.

"If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything." - Mark Twain

Outlook office calendar to iPhone is simple

I, too, can't sync my iPod Touch directly with my office PC, but I wanted my office Outlook calendar on my iPod. The solution is simple and requires no additional software:

1) In Outlook 2007, display the calendar you want. (Make sure it’s active by clicking in it.) Select File/Save As.
2) In the dialog box click the More Options button and select desired options under Date Range, Details, and Advanced. Click Save. (This saves an iCalendar Format .ics file.)
3) Get saved file to your home Mac. Simplest may be to e-mail the file to yourself.
4) At home, import the file into iCal (File/Import…).*
5) Sync iPhone.

*At step 4 I first delete the old version of that calendar before importing the new one. It’s not required, but I do it because I’ve occasionally had problems when I have “exceptions” to recurring calendar events. The imported calendar should merge neatly with the old one, but it’s imperfect.

I actually send home both my personal Outlook calendar and my office’s collective calendar (that we all have write access to). It’s just two separate calendar files.

FYI, I’ve found that the Outlook “Save As” is only available for calendars I have write access to, but not for calendars with read-only access. There is a workaround: Create a new blank calendar, then copy and paste desired calendar items from the read-only calendar into the blank calendar, then Save As from there. (It’s easiest to do from Events view.)


That .ics file is the same thing I plan to fold into the Dynamic Templates.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

Checked the iPod Touch

The perfect thing for me :)

The budget, however says no way.

Back to paper and computer calendar.

sew a bag

bags, without like zippers, are really easy to make
i'm not that good, and bags are like the only thing i can make properly. It's squared hemmed, sewn, and turned, and maybe a clasp or something added.

Just make one for your specs.

anyone selling rollabind/circa punch, etc? I'm looking to start.

rollabind punch

Rollabind is running a sale on their PBS 1000 Desktop Punch now on sale for $49.95 from $59.95 and includes free shipping.

Use promotional code M2

How I'm handling the analog-digital issue

Well, I've been back and forth on this issue too. I used a Palm since they first came out. Then in the early 00s I went back completely analog with DIY planner pages and a Covey planner in a 'Middle Way' like method of my own devising. I read this site religiously, but I was dissatisfied because I thought I spent too much time writing things over and over, and generally spending too much time planning and paper-loving rather than doing. Then, a few years ago, my Palm V, which still held my address book, died. I replaced it with a Palm TX (yep, last gasp of the line, before they became nothing but smart phones). At the time I also became enamored of Life Balance (Palm/PC software). I've now been running mostly digital since. Well, now the Palm is becoming an antique, and, although I have an iPhone, I don't use it for planning (because I don't use Outlook, and I don't want to change over). So I'm running planning on the Palm until it becomes too obsolete. Hence the perils of digital.

But anyway here's how I integrate. Despite all the planner changes, I've always kept a daily notebook, usually bound blank books (but cheap composition books have also served). I continue to use this as somewhat between a student's class notes and the right hand page of a Covey planner). In GTD, this serves as an Inbox, and weekly review means scanning meeting and other notes through the book. If I have a lot of potential actions, then sometimes I write them on individual 3x5 cards, & put them in the Inbox. The weekly review -- processing my Inbox -- also concurrently makes my analog notes into digital (into Life Balance and an outliner).

For a while I kept a grid index card for a parallel weekly schedule, like your technique, but I abandoned that as too much fussing around.

The bad news is I'm not entirely happy with digital or analog, both have serious drawbacks and serious good points. I've decided to simply choose one as my major route for a while, and try to make the system as simple as possible, but not too simple, to help plan my complex life.

Just a couple of thoughts.

Can the calendar and to do list be printed from the iPod Touch?

If so, print them up in your paper organizer format.

I know that Preview has much better options than Adobe and you might even be able to print 8 calendar pages or to do lists in one letter sized page. Assuming your paper organizer format is 3x5.

I personally would only print weekly or daily calendar pages depending on your work load on a given week/day.

And would print copy of the iPod Touch to do lists on one side and blank to do lists on the other.

This way you reuse one side of the page in the paper planner, for big to do projects like setting up for a special event, spring work around the house, etc...
I find it easier to have paper when I need to quickly jot down an idea for a big project or when I see something that needs to be investigated further.

And it is a great backup in case the battery or something goes wrong with the electronic device in the middle of a big project.

Outlook can Print calendar pages

So with Outlook as the center, you can print pages and sync to the iPod Touch or iPhone. I just found printing form Outlook tedious, esp. when your calendar changes a lot.

Pocket Informant for iPod Touch

FWIW Pocket Informant syncs with Google Calendar and will soon sync with Outlook. It's undergoing rapid development and updating which is their norm whatever the PDA format. (Former Pocket PC user.)

I've been having the same

I've been having the same struggle. I'm still in school, and I use my notebook for notes and writing important reminders, but I use my iPhone for scheduling everything else. Unfortunately, my notebook can't remind me to do something, so i've just started to put everything into my phone.

I use toodledo and stick

I use toodledo and stick with the ipod touch and/or computer for everything. It has an iphone app, syncs with google calendar and ical, is so customizable you can set it up to do anything.

Really interested in this thread!

I'm in a similar situation. I LOVE my iPod Touch but wish it had a to-do function integrated with the calendar (which I sync with Outlook daily).

My imperfect solution was to create an all-day event on my calendar. In the notes section I put my to-dos. Every morning I make any necessary changes and move it forward to the current day. It's pretty simple, but then I rarely have more than 5 or 10 items on it...

For long and/or repetitive to-do lists, I use the free app Shopshop. I've tried a ton of list apps, e.g. Evernote, but I greatly prefer Shopshop for its simplicity. It doesn't sync with anything like Outlook, sigh, but it DOES have e-mail capability which works well for when my husband calls to ask if there's anything to pick up on his way home.

I do occasionally print out a day onto a 3x5 card, then I put it into my Circa PDA. It's all about where I'll be going. Mostly the Circa PDA is more of a notebook for when I'm out and about.

p.s. I, too, felt a big sense of loss when my Palm Vx finally died :(

calendar sync

I too have an Outlook calendar at work and an ipod touch. I was forbidden to sync directly between the two by IT at MPOW. My fix was to use Google calendar as the go-between. My Outlook calendar syncs regularly with my Google calendar; I have it set to 2-way sync every 2 hours. I installed the Informant app on my touch. It syncs with my Google calendar very frequently (and has a "shake to sync" feature that is fun). I had a lot of issues with duplicate entries, errantly repeating entries, etc. when I first set it up. I deleted all of the duplicate entries (and there were literally hundreds), resynced on both ends, and it seems to be working fine now. I have found that repeating entries set up in Outlook are the problem so I set them up in Informant instead.

The Informant app also syncs with toodledo. I use the free version which has its limitations in organizing tasks but it works OK. I especially like an Informant view that shows todos and the calendar day at the same time.

I am still struggling with my paper integration. I, too, like a paper calendar but have some issues with maintaining both. Also, I have been using Circa when printing my calendar pages to carry around with some notes pages but I have become disenchanted with that system. I switched to heavier paper but find pages difficult to turn, pages fall off regularly, and I can't print on 2-sides so I have a lot of wasted back of pages which translates into bulk in my binder. A new punch might help with the turning/falling off issue but I don't have the cash to buy one right now. It's an ongoing process.