Paper or Digital? Choosing a Calendar

I have had a paper calendar for as long as I can remember. As a little girl, I was taught that every birthday and holiday, and even household chores, were placed on a calendar. Hanging on my bedroom wall, just over my bed, was a cute little calendar with kittens and puppies, every event neatly scribed in the appropriate square.

As a teen, I wrote lists for every day of the week (inventing my own type of calendar), and as an adult, I’ve either owned a purse calendar, or had a book on my desk.

My calendar has held everything I’ve needed to know, from email address and phone numbers, to birthdays and anniversaries. Even my daily routine was written out, every hour accounted for. It gave me the freedom to follow a plan, or deviate from it as needed. Just to know it was there was comforting.

But in the age of technology, and in the spirit of simplicity and minimalism, I decided it was time to give up paper and embrace the smartphone, and the new calendar app I’d discovered.

My phone would hold my calendar, and more. I could list errands, events, and even when bills were due. It would be cool. The only thing missing would be my daily routine, something I had grown accustomed to.

My routine should be something I’d remember. And I do. Only, my routine is general. It varies in many ways, like what type of writing needs to be done each day, or whether or not my website requires technical maintenance. And sometimes, I just need to focus on my book, or do a little marketing. It’s all written in my calendar.

Here is an example of my routine:
7:30 – Tea and Reading
8:00 – Emails
8:30 – Exercise or Yoga
9:15 – 12:30 – Writing
1:00 – 4:30 – Writing

My routine keeps me on track, makes me stay focused.

This is what happened when I decided to let go of my paper calendar:

I took everything from my paper calendar, and transferred the information to my phone. Then I got nervous. It occurred to me that the app could fail, or worse, I could lose my phone.

When I finished putting all the events on my phone, I felt a tiny bit better. Reluctantly, I tore up the calendar, and threw it away. I was digital.

For a week, all went fairly well. My phone sent a reminder of appointments, and my routine was followed, mostly without a hitch. Though I did find myself thinking about my days more than I had before, and wondering if I was getting everything done.

Week two, my phone once again sent me a little reminder of appointments for the week. That part was great. But this week, my schedule slipped, and some of the work I needed to do was pushed aside.

Week three, my routine was gone. Important matters, like working on the technical side of my site, was forgotten. I also noticed post-it notes piled on my desk, and a bunch sitting in my drawer. Without realizing it, I was writing reminder notes to myself.

By week four, I wrote out a schedule on paper, and placed it on my desk. I missed my paper calendar.

Staying focused:

My calendar taught me how to focus, and kept me on track. On paper, I made goals I could visually look at every day. I could see the day and week ahead, and knew what was going to happen without constantly having to check my phone. The paper calendar freed my mind from having to think about my schedule.

I once again own a paper calendar. And I love it. Yes, it takes a little more time to write out each week. But in the end, I get more accomplished. I am more focused.

Here is an example of the calendar I use.

There are also printable calendars available online, like this one here.

If I can ever figure it out, maybe someday I will go completely digital. But for now, the paper calendar remains in my life.

What about you? Do you use a paper calendar, or are you digital? If you are the technology-savvy type, I’d love to hear how you do it.

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