How to Make Effective Use of a Calendar
I'm sure everyone has a calendar hanging on their wall, but very few people utilize it. I work several part time jobs and I wouldn't function for a single day without my calendar!
Keeping an up to date calendar can
- alleviate stress and anxiety,
- make you more productive,
- help you plan and meet deadlines,
- keep you on time and in the correct place,
- aid you in keeping commitments,
- and generally plan and manage your schedule so that you can have more "free time."
Keep in mind that a calendar is only helpful to you if
- you immediately update any schedule changes and add any new events
- and check it frequently*.
*For some people, checking their calendar frequently could be once a day or, like me, it could be multiple times a day.
Choosing a Calendar
The calendar of cute kittens you have hanging in your kitchen might work for you, but for me, it is one of the most inefficient calendars. I keep the wall calendar updated solely so that my boyfriend knows where I am at any given time. There are many kinds and styles of calendars, and certain ones work better for certain types of thinkers, and certain lifestyles.
My favorite calendar is a personal planner because I can keep detailed day to schedules.
- Each month has it's own page so that I can easily see the whole month at once, and plan accordingly.
- Each week has it's own page, and usually, the day is broken down by the hour (some are by the half hour, which I prefer).
- It can be carried easily in my backpack or pocketbook, so that it is almost always available for me to reference or update.
- It can be lost.
- I don't always have it with me.
Many people swear by their Google calendars.
- You can share your calendar with other people.
- It can never be lost.
- You can have scheduled alerts sent to you by text or email.
- You can sync it with your phone or dowload a google calendar app.
Cell Phone Calendar
Every modern cell phone comes with a calendar, and there are also very good calendar apps that you can download for a smart phone..
- Your calendar is always with you.
- Most phones have systems where your calendar and other information can be backed up, sometimes automatically through conveniences such as the iCloud.
- You can set alerts to remind you about important events.
- There may be some calendar apps that will show the full month with all of your event details visible, but because the screen is small, most will show only a dot to signify that something is listed for that day. You don't know what it is, or what time it is, until you click on it. For me, this is a disadvantage because it is difficult to look at the month as a whole and plan for deadlines.
Wall calendars usually have beautiful, cute, or funny pictures with every month. They are best displayed at eye level, in frequently used area of the house, such as the kitchen. Keep a designated calendar pen nearby!
- Great for families with kids-- everyone can see it and update it.
- The entire month can be seen at once, and you can look ahead to future months.
- Won't become lost.
- Isn't portable.
- Doesn't give you the option to break down each day.
Dry Erase Calendar
- It is very easy to update.
- It saves paper.
- It is easy to color coordinate.
- Most dry erase calendars are just one month, and there is no way to keep track of dates that take place in future months. There are a few that show several months, or the whole year, but each day has a very small box, and becomes quickly crowded.
- Not portable.
Small Flip Calendar
- Helps you keep track of the date
- Often has some sort of joke or slice of wisdom to start the day off.
- Doesn't actually keep you on schedule!
Tips and Advice
I prefer my personal planner because I am a very visual thinker and I like to see everything laid out in front of me-- by month and by day. It also helps me to physically write out my schedule, because I remember what I write better than what I type.
Many people prefer the Google calendar-- as you can see, I couldn't come up with any negatives for it!
- Keep everything on the same calendar. Don't split up business calendars and home calendars-- you may double book yourself.
- If you have a wall calendar or a dry erase calendar, and a family with active teenagers, choose a different color for each person. That way, it is possible to have everyone's schedule on the same calendar, but still easily tell who needs a ride where, and at what time.
- Custom wall calendars are cheap and easy to order. They make great gifts!