Digital Calendars and Paper Planners

For all of my school years, from middle school to graduate school, I kept meticulous planners that were color coded for exams, assignments, track meets, newspaper deadlines, club meetings, birthdays and more. I religiously wrote my homework each day next to the class name/number in the daily/weekly pages and organized those important dates in the monthly calendar pages. My best friend (hi Landau!) did the same thing. And we’ve kept these planners after all these years. Ah, the memories. Surely, we cannot be the only two organizational dorks out there. Confess? Who else needed planners to survive and loved his/her planners?  Choosing a new planner each year was an important new school year decision. And then decorated the planners — usually with a fun magazine ad and clear mailing tape. The few times I left my planner in the locker room or a classroom, I felt so lost without it! Planners were no joke.

Despite my love for this planning system, in the years between college and graduate school, I did not need such an intensive record keeping/organizational system. Even though my job had many dates to remember and I had other commitments, it was easier and less hectic than my school days. A monthly planner would suffice; those daily/weekly pages were looking empty and lonely. It was difficult to find a calendar system that suited me. Call me crazy or OCD, but this bothered me. After all, my planners were almost works of art, choreographed  with colors and now full of nostalgia. When I look back at those planners, I often wonder how I managed to do everything on there. They seemed so superior to my current planners that represented a less hectic life.

Needing to use a familiar planner once graduate school began gave me more joy than it would should have warranted. However, once I completed school, I found myself in the same predicament. What kind of planner would work for me?

For work I need to keep track of which projects I work on each day or which meetings I attend, etc. My solution has been to use a blank notebook and start  a new page each day to take notes and record my daily work activities. I use a book until it’s full and then choose another small book. It’s my own daily record, but not a calendar, I guess. I use my outlook calendar to keep track of meeting dates and now add them into the trusty iPhone as well.  However, it’s just not as satisfying as my old planners.

Recently, I’ve been pining for my hard copy planners. They are such complete records. I’m tempted to start using a daily/weekly/monthly planner again. The only thing stopping me is that I might not have enough space for each day. I like to keep my notes with the corresponding day.

Maybe this doesn’t seem like such a dilemma to anyone else.  Maybe it’s more information that you can care to know about me. However, it brings up a choice between the digital world — so much of what I do and how I communicate is digital — and the trusted, lovely hard copy records. And you probably know how much preservationists value documentation. My phone is more likely with me than a book (generally speaking) and the calendar can be shared easily. It’s convenient and yes, still a novelty sometimes. But what is more likely to be around in a few years – my electronic calendars or my planner books? Obviously, the books. Is it strange to choose a calendar/planner system in the present based on what I might want to keep in the future? Again, preservationist = documentation. I think I might have to custom make a planner that works for me. Maybe I’ll solve this dilemma in time for 2013.

Who has converted from hard copy planners to electronic means? Who else is this obsessed (or more) with planners and calendars? Do you pine for hard copy planners like you pine for snail mail rather than email? How have you adjusted from school to work, from hard copies to electronic calendars? What do you think is better for documentation and posterity?

6 thoughts on “Digital Calendars and Paper Planners

  1. Landau says:

    Yes, I do love planners :). I think in late college I migrated to monthly planners because the projects were more long-term. I stopped writing every reading assignment because the syllabus was just easier. In grad school now I might be the only one with a paper planner!! Everyone else has their phones. My planner. Ones in use when trying to reschedule classes and figure out final due dates- there’s something more social about it because a group of people can look on. There’s also something spatial-temporal about it – each box for the month is a piece of time. It’s easier to conceive time in a spatial format. Would you be able to read the font in a monthly calendar on a phone? Probably not.

    PS: CVS $1.99 bin has/had great monthly calendars. All the other brands are about $1 a month?? Do I really want to spend $1 to see the month of march?? No way Jose. March is usually gross and sucky anyway.

    • Kaitlin says:

      Oh Landau, you know I don’t like CVS. haha.

      Aside from that, good thought about the social aspect of a paper planner. Plus, it’s so satisfying to check/cross off completed assignments.

  2. Kayla says:

    I can’t live without my paper planner! I tried to go electronic, but its not the same. you can’t cross thing off, write notes to yourself or indicate which things didn’t get done.

    I have a smaller planner than I used to have to keep meetings and due dates, and then I have a work note book where I write out a weekly to do list at the beginning of every week. Seems to work for me, but yes things are in two different books.

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