Hello friends! So I have been told before when people hear “system” they are really thinking of a tool to execute that system like 17hats, dubsado, asana, trello, honeybook, etc. In reality, those are just tools to execute the system you set. I utilize Asana, and a system for invoicing/lead tracking/contracts specifically for those in the wedding industry called Aisle Planner for my wedding planning business. Those are the tools I use, but they are not my systems.

My systems are the processes I have outlined in my business operations manual. They are the steps I have outlined for scheduling meetings, client onboarding, client project process,policies, how to deal with various situations–I think you get the idea. I started out those thoughts with pen and paper. I am a writer, I always have been. For me it is the best way I learn & retain information. I often say if it isn’t written in my planner, I am not remembering to do it.

Your brain actually learns differently when you write vs. when you type. In college, the best study advice my dad gave me was to go back to my room/library/coffee shop/sorority house after class and re-write my notes with my textbook open to fill in the blanks. At first, I felt like it seemed like a lot of extra work but what I found was I was retaining the information so much better and doing so much better on tests(see your parents do know stuff!). I am the same way when it comes to work. After meetings, I review and often re-write my notes to decode my short hand. When I do this I always remember more.

I still use a paper planner. It is my life line. If it isn’t in there, I am not going to get it done or remember. This is just who I am. BUT I still utilize my online tools everyday. When tracking project progress as well as working with a team, you need a tool that allows collaboration, and easy communication that isn’t clogging up your inbox. I will plan my week with my paper calendar, then update my online calendar, and review to dos with my Asana. It seems like extra steps, but again for me this is the best way I learn and retain.

Whenever I am mapping out a new project or service, I grab a piece of poster board, post its and a sharpie! That is how ashleystork.co started–on a piece of poster board. Sometimes I just have too many thoughts in my head and I have to get them out before my brain explodes! Do you still use pen and paper?? What are some of your favorite tools to utilize–tech or paper?