I’m one of those people who love having a written calendar. I enjoy writing things down, color coding my schedule and physically checking off my to-do list.
Each year I get excited to shop around for the planner that I’m going to buy. There’s only one issue I have with written calendars. They often fail. While having a written calendar is better than not having a calendar system at all, I often find that I have to supplement my written calendar with a digital calendar for better results.
Here’s why written calendars fail from time-to-time and what to do instead to schedule out your time more efficiently.
Plans Change All The Time
Planning out your week and your day is a great habit to adopt if you want to be successful. While I consider myself a planner, I still have to be realistic and acknowledge the fact that plans change all the time.
When you write down a to-do list or calendar by hand, the odds are high that your schedule can and will change without a moment’s notice? What do you do then? It’s difficult to make changes to a written calendar or move things over.
With a digital calendar, you can do this almost instantly and there are so many smart tools that will help adapt quickly and get back on track.
Forgetting Tasks and Meetings is Only Normal
As humans, we are all subject to human error. When it comes to remembering meetings and deadlines, I can be pretty bad at this. This is often why written calendars fail. Your written calendar is not going to be effective in helping you remember certain meetings and deadlines unless you’re literally staring it at non-stop.
When you show up late to a meeting or miss a deadline, it often comes off as unprofessional and can just add to your stress level. Personally, I need calendar reminders or a notification that will pop up to remind me about important meetings and upcoming deadlines.
Do you ever lose track of time during the day? It can happen to the best of us which is why friendly reminders are crucial. I am almost always on my computer during the workday and not starting at my written calendar so this works better for me.
Recurring Tasks and Events Could Get Lost
If you have a regular schedule with lots of recurring events, written calendars fail when it comes to helping you remember these things. When you write your calendar out each week, it can be easy to forget about adding a recurring event or task to your schedule.
Plus, even if you do remember, it takes extra time and effort to make these adjustments each week. Why not spend your precious time doing something more productive?
As you can probably tell by now, setting up recurring tasks, meetings, and calls can be much more effective with a digital calendar. You’d basically just set it and forget it so you move on and focus on other things.
Boo. Integrations are a wonderful thing. By no means and I anti-technology and I think if you want to become more efficient and manage your schedule in the most productive way possible, you won’t be either.
Being able to integrate certain programs together and automate tools can save a lot of time and energy while helping you feel more organized and in control of your schedule. With a written calendar, you can’t have someone book a call with you and it gets added to your schedule automatically. If someone wants to change a meeting time, your calendar won’t be automatically updated.
Instead, you’ll have to stop what you’re doing, pencil it in and make the changes on your own. That’s only if you can remember. Without the benefit of automatic integrations, managing your calendar can become more of a distraction and a chore. What’s meant to help you move forward and get things done could end up holding you back.
Less Flexibility Overall
If you’re wondering why written calendars fail, it’s because they’re often not nearly as flexible to adapt to all the events and changes in your life. This is okay. While written calendars and to-do lists can be fun, I also like to mix in the use of a digital calendar to make sure I cover all my bases.
Some people will swear by using one or the other but I like to take a hybrid approach. I use a planner to set goals and intentions for the week and month. There’s just something nice about writing out my goals by hand and also writing down my main focus for the day.
I use digital calendar systems and task managers to help me manage more specific daily tasks, meetings and recurring events. While some people get distracted by digital reminders, I heavily depend on them because I’ve forgotten about too many important meetings and deadlines in the past.
Being able to time block my schedule with a digital calendar, get reminders, and set up recurring tasks helps me release extra mental clutter and feel more in control of my day.
Is Your Written Calendar Failing?
I’d love to know what you think about planners and written calendars. Do you agree with my reasons for why written calendars fail? There are pros and cons to each calendar method so you’ll have to determine what works best for you.
However, don’t underestimate the hybrid approach so you can get the benefits of both methods. If you’re not solely depending on a written calendar, I think having a day planner can work for you.
At the same time, it’s important not to be afraid of technology and miss out on some amazing tools that can help make your life easier. You can run the day and own your technical tools without it being the other way around.
Choncé Maddox is a professional writer who recently left her job in the web design industry to produce killer content and manage her own writing business full time. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs be more productive and create a life they love by doing fulfilling work. On the side, she runs a podcast and blogs about getting out of debt at MyDebtEpiphany.com.