Walk through the mall, or visit any online stationery company, and you’ll see stacks of 2015 calendars. But which one is right and the most effective for you?
We discussed time management tips in our last post, and now I want to help you find the right calendar system to manage that time. There are many different options to consider, and today we will walk through three different calendar management systems; Google, a physical planner, and a wall calendar, to determine what is best for different work styles.
Google Calendar – This is the most popular and intuitive electronic calendar platform. You can share your calendar with others, and have it sync to other calendars. This calendar can also sync to your own other electronic devices like your iPhone and iPad. One of the features I love the most is that you can set up notifications – emails or texts – when you have a meeting, so you never miss a meeting again. I use Google Calendar for a client. We include household maintenance tasks on one calendar, her kids schedule on another, and so on. She can share any one of the calendars with others to view and edit, and she can also turn on filters to view work-related calendars versus personal calendars.
Paper Day Planner – As a professional organizer in Boston, I always tell my clients that it doesn’t matter if you are using a paper planner or an electronic calendar. All that matters is that you are using one. For some people, the pen to paper helps them remember. They also love crossing out and marking up their calendar. This is not something you can do on Google Calendar. One aspect of using an electronic calendar that I really miss is seeing in large print my month or week at a glance. It took me awhile to get used to this and is still bugs me when I use my iPhone to look at entire month without seeing any detail. It is faster to record an appointment on paper, however if you forget your calendar – or lose it! – there is no back up. You also need to choose a calendar that fits your lifestyle. It needs to be portable so you will have it with you at all times to make sure you are where you need to be and to be able to schedule upcoming appointments without any conflicts. I recently came across Day Designer and I think this paper calendar system does a nice job balancing work and personal lives.
The Wall Calendar – The wall calendar is another viable option. The biggest drawback is that it is not portable, however, its size lends itself to making it hard to miss an appointment. In order to be used, it needs to be in a good location that is accessible and viewable. If you’re using the calendar for both personal and professional appointments, the kitchen is a great spot to keep it, as you’ll always be coming in and out of that communal space. I have also found that a wall calendar is great for tracking goals, and it’s easy to look back on what you’ve accomplished. And remember, if you pick your calendar based on how it looks, make sure you are OK with writing on it. Sometimes people are hesitant to write on their ‘pretty’ calendar.
Photo: Day Designer