Suite Minute - An Award-Winning Technology Blog by Peggy Duncan

August 18th, 2007

Are You Still Using a Paper Calendar?

Organizing, Outlook, Personal Productivity, by Peggy Duncan.

I received a package the other day from a company that creates promotional products. Their gift idea was a nicely done 2008 Pocket Pal week-at-a-glance calendar. I chuckled when I held it up wondering why companies still spend money on these.

Hmmm…do I know anyone who could use this? All the business associates and clients I could think of use Outlook, PDAs, etc. Then I remembered — my handy man. He’s keeping appointments in his head (and forgetting) so perhaps he could use it. Yes, this could work for him because he’s not tech-savvy. He’s what you call old school.

I stopped using a paper calendar (or planner) so many years ago that I can’t remember, and I love how much more efficient I am with Outlook synched to my smartphone.

While I understand that some people are more tactile and like to put pen to paper, I suggest that you send handwritten letters and notes to satisfy that urge and use technology for your appointments.

Here’s why:

  • Transfer information. When a meeting request comes into Outlook, I click to Accept and it’s automatically added to my calendar. If the request comes in a regular email message, I drag it to the Calendar icon or I use Anagram (now called Copy2Contact) to magically turn it into an appointment. I don’t have to retype anything.
  • Keep all appointment data in one place. Instead of printing every piece of information related to a trip or meeting, I insert it right into my appointment as an Item or as an Outlook Note. Then if I’m traveling, I’ll print all the calendar details as one document (I do this only when I travel so I can have a backup to all my technology).
  • Create recurring appointments or events. With one click, you can schedule a recurring appointment whether it’s each day, once a week, every two months, and so on.
  • Find anything later. If I need to find out the last time I went to Chicago, I’ll conduct a quick search. If I were using paper, I’d have to flip, flip, flip until I found it. What a waste of time.
  • Back up everything. If you’re putting everything in a paper planner, what would you do if you lost it? You’re toast. With Outlook, all of my information is synched to my iPAQ. And MozyPro keeps Outlook backed up online every day. I am worry-free.
  • Make available to others. If other people need to view your calendar, they can’t do it if you’re using paper and have it with you. With Outlook’s AutoPick command, you can schedule a meeting and with one click find a day and time all of them can meet.
  • Connect the data. With your contacts and appointments in one program, you can look up one thing and also find something else. When you need to call someone you have a meeting with, it’s all there together.

So think about all this. If you’re not in the business world and never go anywhere, a paper calendar could work for you. Otherwise, come into this century and go electronic.

One more thing. When you go digital, avoid adding appointments directly to your handheld device. That could be too tedious. If you have to quickly schedule multiple appointments and add details while you’re on the road, you might need to print several pages of your electronic calendar to take with you (in Outlook, you can format this to print several different ways). You can enter new appointments by hand and update your digital calendar later.

PEACE.

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  • Peggy Duncan helps you leave work earlier with more things done.

    JB, how can it be a great promotional item if the majority of your target audience no longer uses them. That’s why I do not understand why companies still get them printed and mailed. Oh yes, I just remembered…they do it because that’s what they’ve always done…silly me, I forgot! American Express used to send a larger version to everyone. Then they got smart. Now if you want one, you have to send a request in writing.

  • JA

    Hey Peggy,

    I would agree with everything you say about paper calendars. I do miss those wallet calendars for the simple reason that usually they are great promotional items. I used to get one from my bank every year.

  • Peggy Duncan helps you leave work earlier with more things done.

    Matthew, the reasons you give for using paper are OK. The reasons I give for using technology are powerful.

  • Matthew Cornell

    I agree a digital calendar has some nice advantages, but I still prefer paper. And it works great! Of course the interesting part is not what you use for a calendar, but *how* you use it. The method I use is independent of the tool, which I appreciate.

    Advantages of paper? Inexpensive, simple, durable, reliable, and tactile (as you mention). More at IsAnythingBetterThanPaper?