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Choosing an Organizer

Answer these questions to find out if you should buy a digital or a paper planner.

The days of one-size-fits-all daily planners are history, especially with the plethora of planning systems available-from Day Runners to Palm Pilots. The bottom line is that finding the right system can be confusing. Ask yourself these five questions before deciding whether to use a paper-based or computerized planning system.

Are you uncomfortable reading information on a small screen? If so, a paper-based system like Day Runner is a better option for you.
Do you need to view one month at a time when planning? A paper-based system gives you space to record appointments and view an entire month, while a handheld can't show a month at a time on the screen. (Only the version on your desktop computer can do that.)
Do you want to synchronize all your tasks on your PC, as well as in your planner? With a simple touch of a button (and a cradle to hold your Palm), you can quickly synchronize your handheld's information with your computer.
Are you comfortable taking notes electronically? If you're skilled at typing or writing on a handheld, your days of taking a legal pad with you to meetings are over. Instead, you can enter all your information in your Palm during a meeting.
Do you need access to a large number of phone numbers and an up-to-date calendar, as well as the Internet and various computer programs (like Quicken and ACT!) at all times? If so, a Palm has those options and more. More than 5,000 software downloads are available at the Palm Web site. If you don't mind-and in fact, prefer-being unconnected while you're on the road, a paper-based planner may be all you need for a simple phone list and calendar option.

Home office expert Lisa Kanarek is the founder of and the author of Organizing Your Home Office For Successand 101 Home Office Success Secrets.

Brother home office expert Lisa Kanarek advises corporations and individuals on all aspects of working from home and writes the blog Working Naked. She is the author of several books, including Working Naked: A guide to the bare essentials of home office life.

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