There isn’t much our smartphones can’t do. They store our contacts, give us directions, allow us access to our bank accounts at the touch our fingertips and even let us know what the weather will be like. But one very important thing they can’t do is replace the paper calendar or planner.
What is it about a paper calendar? Like the digital calendar, all the information you need is at your fingertips. Unlike the digital calendar, you can actually see what it is you have planned out. One quick glance over a monthly calendar or a week in a planner and you know the who, what, where and when of your life. It takes a lot of clicks on a smart phone to even see what you have planned on any given day.
It’s not just seeing at a glance where you are, where you have been and where you are going at once. Being able to see weeks and months in advance gives a sense of progress over a period of time. Marking off progress by counting down dates on a calendar can give a person a much greater sense of satisfaction at accomplishing something. You can’t really X out or countdown digitally.
Kayla Sloan, writing in a blog for Calendar.com, a digital calendar app company located in Palo Alto, California, concedes that there will always be a place for the paper calendar. In a post titled “14 Reasons You May Still Want a Paper Calendar,” Sloan lists the many reasons paper trumps digital, including that paper allows for better recall and a sense of serenity with not being “plugged in” at all times.
“There’s a prevailing assumption that just because there’s a new high-tech version of something previously handled in a low-tech way, one should adopt that technology,” says Pamela Paul, editor of The New York Times Book Review. When confronted with new technology, Paul asks herself, “will this new technology substantively help?” For Paul, when it comes to calendars, technology is more of a hindrance. She further explained in an interview with The New York Times, it is the “same thing with paper calendars; they’re just better. I get irrationally impatient with the slowness with which people tap meetings into their calendars on the phone. It is at least 30 seconds faster to write it in an old-timey agenda (Levenger here). My Google calendar will always play second fiddle to this far more detailed agenda, supplemented by Post-its and a Moleskine to-do list.”
And Paul is not alone. Writer Michael Grothaus discovered there are definite advantages to carrying a paper calendar. In his article he wrote for Fast Company, “What Happened When I Ditched My Smartphone for a Paper Planner,” Grothaus shared that he found it easier to plan and remember appointments, to take more detailed notes and it allowed him to look back at his past.
Whether it be wall calendars, weekly planners or checkbook-sized months-at-a-glances, for whatever purpose you need to plan ahead, paper calendars may just be a better option.