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Can a Physical Calendar or Planner Make You More Efficient at Work?

Monday, September 26, 2022

meeting planners at HOD

Our personal lives often seem like a never-ending series of decisions. These decisions range from the most trivial like which new TV program to binge-watch to the most important like which home to buy.  

We weigh the pros and cons of decisions in our professional world as well. Scheduling meetings, managing projects, hiring employees- all require thoughtful consideration, organization, and the best use of working hours.  

And what are the tools we all use to fuel this productivity? Our meeting planners, our desk calendars, and our monthly planners. What is the common denominator- making efficient use of time that yields results? 

But even this ubiquitous tool comes with some debate and decision-making. We must refer to the age-old question (for as long as the internet has been around) which is better- a physical paper calendar or planner or a digital calendar?  

The argument for paper rather strongly follows.  

The Visual Advantage 

Many of us are visual learners. We understand and retain what we see. The physical act of writing in a meeting planner or on a wall calendar reinforces our ability to remember dates, specific notations, and other items.  

Using a paper planner psychologically capitalizes on writing as an intentional act. With pen in hand, we can make lists, highlight important dates, and track goals. We see what we write and commit it to memory. Of course, this sounds simple as it has been a method used for decades, but scientifically the physical act of writing on paper has been associated with remembering what we consider to be our priorities.  

This simplicity also limits distractions which can cloud focus. Physical calendars and planners allow for seeing what we have scheduled at a glance. There aren’t apps or screens to navigate and there isn’t a timewaster like scrolling pages to find what we need. Distractions are further reduced when using physical planners because they aren’t buzzing and pinging with notifications leading you astray from the tasks at hand. Your focus can remain on a page rather than be pulled in myriad directions.  

The Analog Advantage     

While online calendars are often perceived as more convenient, they pose their own set of problems when differentiating between digital and analog, that is, paper planners.  

Here are sentences you will never hear, “My wall calendar just crashed” or “I can’t find my charger for my meeting planner.” The digital age has exponentially given us information and convenience at warp speed, but sometimes at a price.  

In basic terms, paper calendars do not crash. They do not go offline, and they do not require charging. Digital calendars may seem to have features steeped in organization and productivity, but all that can be lost when your network goes down or your battery dies.  

The Privacy Advantage 

Many of us exist in a workplace of sharing and sharers. We work in various locations and departments and with teams whose members all require the same information. It makes sense to have these details accessible to everyone.  

But what about the information you don’t want to share? We are often caught up in the notion that it is great for everyone to know everything, so all folks are on the same page, or that work culture is transparent. We can all admit we have lost a significant amount of privacy in the digital age. Today it is nearly impossible to completely separate our personal and professional lives. This is an area where using a paper planner or calendar has distinct advantages when addressing privacy.  

Businesses often use shared digital calendars for an entire staff and various departments or teams. Of course, no one can deny this has a number of advantages but if you don’t want Bob in HR to know you have new employee candidates to interview next week then using a paper meeting planner is the obvious choice to maintain a certain degree of privacy. While addressing these internal issues, it is also important to note the possibility of external interference. The hacking of online accounts and the introduction of malware into networks pose a continuous threat that can be avoided by ditching the digital calendar and enjoying the safety of your paper planner.  

While many people tout the benefits of using almost anything digital for business purposes, there are stalwart proponents of the power of paper who continue to use desk calendars and meeting planners to stay organized, on time, and efficient in our results-driven professional world. 

Consider the advantages of using a paper planner for your professional and personal needs. Some of you are already believers regarding their ease and accessibility, as well as their ability to reinforce our memory and organization skills.  

Pen on paper. Digital just cannot compete with the level of satisfaction this combination brings to juggling our busy and complicated professional lives. Our meeting planners will help keep you organized.