There are few things more important for organizing your life than calendars are. Not only are they the only real way to keep up with events and deadlines, but they can also incorporate other aspects of planning and goal-setting, such as to-do lists and journals.
Digital or Analog (Paper)?
There are so many pros and cons to each.
Digital calendars are easier to edit and organize, and often they come attached to email services, allowing you to create events for yourself (and others) directly from emails. You can access them anywhere you have an Internet connection, your events sync to all of your devices, and there are no limits to how many items you can fit in a day. You can easily switch between your daily, weekly, and monthly plans, and repeating events are no sweat.
Paper calendars, on the other hand, possess a concrete feeling that digital calendars obviously lack. Physically writing down events and deadlines can help you remember them better, and it’s more socially acceptable to be writing in your planner during a meeting or class than it is to be typing on your phone. Paper calendars allow for more customization if you, like me, are slightly obsessed with color-coding and decorating your life. Paper planners can also be more versatile; there’s no fussing with event times or categories unless you want to.
Whichever type you choose, you then have the added bonus of selecting a calendar tool or paper calendar that you like best.
Digital calendars often come attached to email clients. Google Calendar is a classic, with the ability to import events, make events from emails, color-code items, and more. It integrates with Google Tasks, a to-do list tool, on the sidebar. There’s also Office 365, which accomplishes many of the same things and, if you are a Windows user, syncs to the calendar program on your computer. Usually it’s best to use whichever calendar tool is attached to the email client for your work or school, as that makes it easy to schedule things.
Paper calendars, which happen to be my preference, come in much more variety. At pretty much any store you can pick up tiny, $2 monthly-spread calendars to note broad events, or 5″x8″ agendas with several lines’ worth of space dedicated to each day for listing tasks, events, and more (Target is great for cute agendas). If you’re a paper/notebook nerd like I am, there’s Moleskine and Leuchtturm1917 planners in several sizes and daily, weekly, or monthly spreads. For those who love designers, there are Lilly Pulitzer and Kate Spade agendas (both currently sold out for the year, apparently, but available through other venues).
The one I’m using now, though, is the Passion Planner, a unique calendar/life coach hybrid that provides space for planning, goal-setting (via a unique process called a Passion Roadmap), to-do lists, journaling, noting good things that happened, setting a focus for the day, etc. Someday soon I’ll do a more in-depth write-up on the Passion Planner. For now, here’s some photos of my personal one:
Using a calendar only works if you’re committed to using it: if you actually write down all of your important dates, appointments, deadlines, tasks, and more, and actually check back to your calendar to see what needs doing. It is especially important to write down your goals, whether they are going to the gym or writing more poems or taking more photographs or whatever, because making a physical record of your goals is an important part of achieving them.
But the commitment to a calendar doesn’t have to be boring. Your calendar can be a reflection of you and your life. It can be a record of the past as well as an organizer for the present and future.
If you have a digital calendar, take the time to color-code the events if that makes you happy. Stick in random events denoting cool things that happened. In the “notes” section of events, write whatever you want.
In a paper calendar, this becomes more fun. You can stick flat mementos like photos or movie ticket stubs between the pages. You can write in the margins or tuck in loose pages of journal entries, good assignment grades, and more. You can doodle in it. You can cover it in sticky notes and highlighter. You can track how many times you said something nice to another person in one day or how many times you went to yoga this week.
- A to-do list of some sort, whether it’s integrated with your calendar or not, is extremely important.
- Only splurge on a higher-priced paper calendar if you’re sure you’re going to use it. If you are sure, though, go for it. Life is too short not to have the organizational tools you want.
- If you’re one of the crafty people who likes to spice up her calendar, the Target dollar section is full of awesome supplies for it: stickers, colored tape, sticky notes, themed paperclips, and more. (The Michael’s scrapbooking section is also great.)
- If you use a paper calendar, you will need white-out, too. To reduce mishaps of paper calendar planning, avoid writing out your daily or weekly schedule more than a week in advance.
See you tomorrow for letter D of the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge!