In praise of the digital calendar

Dave has declared his love of the wall calendar, and I agree with the points he made. I also know plenty of other people who work well with either paper wall calendars or planners they carry with them. But a digital calendar works best for me, so I thought I’d provide the other perspective.

I have the advantage of being self-employed (so I have no employer-mandated calendar tools) and there are no other family members that I need to share a calendar with, so I have total freedom to select the calendar that works best for me. I happen to use Apple’s built-in calendar app, but there are many options for those who don’t use Apple products or who don’t like that particular app. Google Calendar, for example, is one that has a lot of fans, partly because it allows you to share a calendar with others.

Why I love my digital calendar

  • Since I can sync my desktop calendar to my smartphone, I always have an up-to-date calendar with me. If a client wants to book a next appointment, I know when I’m free. If the dentist needs to book another appointment, I can do that with confidence, too.
  • It’s always backed up. My normal computer backup tools capture my calendar, so I never need to worry about it being lost (because I left it behind somewhere) or having it destroyed in some kind of disaster.
  • I can do searches on it. If I want to know when I last had my car maintenance done, for example, I can find that out in a matter of seconds. If I want to know when my book club read a specific book, I can find that out, too.
  • I can add more notes than I’d have room for on a paper calendar. For example, I can add airline, hotel, and rental car reservation numbers when I’m traveling. And I can include the URL for an event (even if the URL is very long), letting me link to additional information.
  • I can do color-coding without having to worry about having specially colored pens or highlighters sitting around. For example, I use different colors for work appointments vs. personal appointments, and I find that helpful. I also use different colors for FYI items (such as community events that will cause traffic problems) and events I might want to attend but haven’t committed to.
  • Data entry is simplified. All birthdays are added automatically from my address book. I can add repeating events, such as monthly meetings, so I don’t have to enter them individually. And I can easily move an appointment from one day to another if it gets rescheduled.
  • If I enter the address of an appointment, my calendar will link to the Maps app, making it easy to determine the commute time and to navigate to where I’m going.
  • My printing is pretty good, but I never have to worry about whether or not I can read my writing on a digital calendar. I can also cut and paste information, reducing the chance that I’ll make a mistake.

So consider the pros and cons of both types of calendars, and select the one that works best for you.

10 Comments for “In praise of the digital calendar”

  1. posted by derek on

    My wife and I love Google Calendar because it is shared across both of our Google accounts. We can view it on any computer, my phone and tablet, and her phone and tablet.

    We have always had very busy schedules. With the addition of our baby 6 months ago things got even crazier. We now have color codes and certain ways of marking things that he has to do (library reading times, swim lessons, etc.) along with which one of us is taking him. When we have something going on that he can’t attend (a wedding this weekend) we mark on the calendar the hours of babysitting and which grandparent is watching him. We also mark miscellaneous things like birthdays, anniversaries, etc.

    Long story short, either of us can glance at the week and see what all is going on so that things don’t get double-booked.

  2. posted by Christy King on

    I’m with you. I love Google calendar. My husband and I share it, so we can both see what’s going on. I also love the color coding and the ability to click on the address (if I add one) to go straight to directions.

  3. posted by njprogressive on

    Another vote for Google calendar! My work schedule changes frequently (some late nights, some Saturdays), and correcting the paper calendar on the refrigerator just wasn’t working for us. My spouse is involved with a volunteer organization, and it was easy to color code his meetings, community events, and conferences.

  4. posted by Mark on

    For me it’s a combination of the “searchability” with the “see when everyone can make a meeting”.

    On searching:

    I was on the phone yesterday with a colleague who mainly uses a paper diary, and who was telling me that it was far easier to use.

    Then, we needed to check when a particular meeting had taken place… the business partner had sent a meeting request to her electronically, and I could tell her when the meeting had taken place by searching for their name quicker than she could flick her diary.

    That wasn’t me checking my own – that was me searching a colleague’s diary!

    On setting meetings:

    Sure, external people need a call / email, but for colleagues, it’s great to be able to send out 3 people a meeting invite at a time when I’ve already seen they’re free!

  5. posted by Ms Hanson on

    How did I ever manage before Google Calendar (shared and synced) and Evernote?

  6. posted by Mike Carlson on

    I’m thankful for this post. Now I will use google calendar. Great post!

  7. posted by Penny Catterall on

    I couldn’t live without my digital calendar! Don’t know how other people still use only paper – there is so much more information I can put in digitally and I never have to worry about it getting lost!

  8. posted by sandraatan on

    I utilize the reminders app on Iphone. which I can categorize the to do list and also can set up a reminder/alarm for a task that needs to be completed.

  9. posted by Eternalvoyageur on

    My Google Calendar let’s my family share and sync their calendars together. I and my husband can see my calendar, one for each of the kids (that I run, since they are small), one for interesting cultural events in town, and the one from my husband. This makes scheduling really easy. Apart from that my husband has his work calendar which I opt not to see, since I don’t need that information

  10. posted by GM on

    Another vote for Google Calendar, it got even better when my work place adopted Google Apps so it’s easy to share between personal and work. I can also subscribe to my church community calendar. My only problem is no one else I know among friends and family uses or shares a calendar with me, so I can’t take advantage of that when planning anything. I mean people will pull out their phones when we discuss an opening in person, but never take that next step to ease scheduling.

Comments are closed.