I’ve written several articles highlighting the intersection of technology and organization. There are many terrific solutions out there, both simple and complex, to tackle everything from recipes to your draft of the great American novel. Despite all of the advanced technology that’s available to a gadget guy like me, I still love, LOVE my wall-mounted calendar.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve lived in a house with a calendar on the wall. There have been more varieties than I can remember, but if I try I can recall:
- Calendars advertising banks, take-out restaurants, and churches.
- Dunkin Donut calendars that featured a pair of coupons each month.
- Themed calendars that fit the whims of my siblings and me as we grew up: movies, sports, dance, rock stars, etc.
- Plain, no-nonsense calendars that were all function and little form.
Today I’m a part of a big, busy family with a lot of moving parts: ballet, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, work, weekend activities and so on. All of these obligations have crafted what I look for in a wall calendar. The following are the particulars:
What I look for in a good paper calendar
- Size. It’s no fun to try and cram your handwriting into a teeny, tiny square. I want wide, open spaces that can legibly display several appointments.
- Single-page months. What I think of “‘fridge calendars” — 12″ x 14″ when opened — won’t do. The boxes are too small and they’re a pain to hang. In the beginning of the year they’re bottom-heavy and pull magnetic clasps down. In the latter months, all that bulk moves up top, requiring a more ample clip.
- Wire hanger. Tear-off calendars tend to get messy. A spiral wire spine is best as it allows you to flip each month away cleanly and easily hang the calendar on a nail, screw, or a hook.
- Mini reference calendars. It’s a hassle to flip back/forward to quickly reference a past or future date. I like it when a calendar has at least the previous/forthcoming months presented as mini reference calendars. The whole year is even better.
- Eighteen month timeframe. These are made with the school year in mind, which I appreciate.
Why I love paper calendars
Unlike their digital counterparts, paper calendars require no learning curve, are compatible with all my other hardware (pens and eyes), never “go down,” and simply work. They’re the very picture of reliability for my family.
Paper calendars in a digital world
I know what you’re thinking: “Dave, what if you need to reference something when you’re nowhere near your calendar?” Well, that’s a valid question, and I don’t have very good answer. You could, of course, buy a pocket-sized planner to take with you or enter your information into a digital calendar as well (that’s what I do). You could even take a picture of the calendar each day and delete the previous day’s image when you do so. All of these solutions require you to double all of your data entry, and, I’ll admit, that’s not ideal.
But, one thing it does is keep you from committing to a task on the spot. You always have the excuse, “I’ll have to check my calendar and get back to you,” which gives you time to really consider taking on the new obligation. If you do agree to something, you’ll know you are truly willing to take on the additional responsibility.
In case you’re wondering, my ultimate wall calendar is the AT-A-GLANCE Monthly Wall Calendar, Wirebound, 20 x 30 Inch Page Size. It meets all of my criteria and is my absolute favorite.