2008: Use a Paper Calendar

Technology is a wonderful thing–most of the time. I love my iPhone. I love my Mac. I love my paper calendar. What? I still have an old-fashioned paper calendar? Yes, and I say it without guilt.

An electronic calendar shows you your appointments for today. But most of them, on the monthly view, simply show dots for days you have something planned. And if you use an electronic calendar connected to your office’s schedule, people will schedule meetings into your life wall-to-wall. You will drift from one meeting to the next, growing your to-do list to unmanageable lengths, or spend a lot of time blocking out work time to avoid being swamped by meetings. calendar

That’s where a paper calendar comes in handy. I use one that shows a month at a time. Time passes too fast for me to use a week view. I need a whole month overview. Good monthly calendars are almost impossible to find, so I get mine at Levenger’s--big squares, starts each week on Monday, nice heavy paper, pre-punched for the Circa (Rollabind) system I use.

Using a paper calendar has the advantage of showing you when you aren’t busy as well as when you are. Like an analog clock that show you what time it isn’t, letting you know, for example, that you have half an hour to go before your conference call, a calendar shows when your day is in threat of being overloaded. A paper calendar shows you that you have a meeting with an important client first thing in the morning and another important client last thing in the day. Few people are both morning and afternoon people, so one of those meetings won’t be at your best time. Maybe now is a good time to switch one of them.

A paper calendar shows that you booked yourself through lunch three days in a row. That you have two days to write that summary. That your anniversary is at the end of the month, with a little wiggle room to find out what would delight your spouse most.

My iPhone is vital to me, my Mac is a constant companion, but I’m not giving up the paper calendar. I need to know what day it isn’t.

Image: http://www.amazon.com

–Quinn McDonald teaches communication skills to people and corporations. See her work at QuinnCreative.com (c) 2007 All rights reserved.