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Digital Calendar vs. Paper Planner: How to Choose the Right Scheduling Tool for You

Having a calendar is a great solution if you want to make your life a little more organized. You can keep track of deadlines, appointments, or meetings and have a visual aid so you won’t forget what you need to do.

However, now that it’s 2023, there are many different ways to keep a calendar. With everything going digital, you can now keep an online schedule. But is going digital really better than the tried-and-true paper calendar? Keep reading for an in-depth look at the pros and cons of digital versus paper calendars.

Digital Calendar

Having an online calendar is pretty much all the rage right now. It’s usually easy to use and access, which is helpful in the workplace, though people who aren’t techy might struggle. Here’s a deep dive into the benefits and limitations of using a digital scheduling system:

Pros

The accessibility of digital calendars is one aspect that makes this type so appealing. With online calendars, you have almost constant access to your schedule. Many of these systems allow you to use this technology offline, so you don’t have to rely on Wi-Fi. By having your calendar as an app on your phone, you can pull up your schedule anywhere and anytime.

To take this concept a step further, you can even edit your calendar no matter where you are. If you’re on-the-go trying to schedule an event, you can simply pull up the app and add to it. For example, if you’re at the doctor’s office trying to schedule a future appointment, you’ll have your entire calendar at your fingertips. This makes scheduling extra efficient and easy.

And when it comes to remembering those appointments, you won’t have to worry. Digital calendars can send you notifications to remind you about upcoming events. You’ll get a little ping on your phone or computer that tells you what event is about to start. You also have the freedom to choose how early these notifications will go off, whether 15 minutes or hours beforehand.

Online calendars can also help you stay more organized. Many of these systems have tons of organizational features, like color-coding, so you can keep your schedule orderly. You can even add detailed information in each event you create so you can have everything in the same place. No more looking back and forth from your calendar to your notes to have all the details about a deadline or meeting.

Finally, digital calendars also have the advantage of being environmentally friendly. Online scheduling systems leave no paper trail because they’re 100% virtual. No need to worry anymore about your carbon footprint when it comes to keeping a calendar!

Cons

While there are undoubtedly many positives, there are also some limitations to having an online calendar. If you’re not a “techy” individual, keeping a digital schedule might be a little daunting. You must get used to a new technological system to keep your calendar organized and working for you.

You’ll also need a smartphone if you’re looking to be able to access your calendar from anywhere. Otherwise, you’d have to rely on your computer to know what’s happening and what day. That being said, not all online scheduling systems can access offline. This means you’d need Wi-Fi or cellular data to look at it. However, not many are this inaccessible anymore.

Perhaps the biggest concern of having a digital calendar is the fact that it requires you to use your phone or computer. You might wonder why that’s listed as a con; however, having to get on your devices could lead to distractions. You might intend to look at your calendar, but notice a notification and look at that instead. Next thing you know, you’re in a deep research spiral about why people are boycotting seed oils.

Another con about using technology is that looking at screens for prolonged periods can cause eye strain. With your calendar online on a device, you’ll be staring at yet another screen. In this case, a paper calendar would rest your eyes, preventing eye strain and headaches.

Paper Planner

Now that the pros and cons of digital calendars have been established, it’s time to investigate paper planners. You’ve heard that these can limit screen time, but what else is advantageous about using this method?

Pros

Just as you can access your calendar anywhere with a digital schedule, some paper planners can be easily accessible. These come in varying sizes, including pocket or purse size. You can tote this around with a small planner, too. Just remember to keep a pen or pencil with you in case you need to adjust.

Carrying around your planner can also help you because it’s a physical object. Sometimes, your brain is more likely to remember information if it has a visual aid. And since paper planners are tangible items held in your hand, this object is like a physical reminder. This can significantly benefit neurodivergent people, who tend to thrive more with visual and physical aids.

What’s more, having a paper planner requires you to write down all your information rather than type it. Writing has been proven to be more beneficial for your memory than typing. This is because the process will take slightly longer, making you think more about what you’re writing. Therefore, you’re more likely to remember this information. That’s why making flashcards to study is highly recommended — it’s the same concept.

Moreover, having this physical object means you can also cross out items once completed. This can be satisfying and encouraging, as you can feel the accomplishment as you check off a task. This aspect can act as a motivational tool, in a way that digital calendars can’t, to help you get your work done.

Cons

Of course, there are downsides to paper calendars just like digital calendars had. What’s most obvious as a con is the fact that you’ll have to carry around your paper planner. Even if it’s small enough to fit in your purse or pocket, this is one more thing to remember to grab. If you forget and leave it at home, you won’t have access to your schedule on-the-go.

The process of adding to and amending your paper planner can be slightly irksome, too. You’ll have to erase and rewrite information anytime you need to make a change. And if you use a pen to write down an event, you’ll have to cross it out, which wastes space and can get messy.

Speaking of writing space, paper planners are extremely limited in this department. Especially if you use a small planner, you’re confined to a tiny square to write down all your events. You also won’t be able to include many details due to this limited space. Some planners have an area off to the side so you can elaborate on event information, but that can also be small. If you need all these details in the same place, a paper planner is probably not for you.

Finally, paper planners can’t send you reminders like digital calendars can. You’ll have to rely on your memory for event times and deadlines. You can check your planner periodically throughout the day, but this takes up precious time. Having the ability to set reminders simply makes your life easier.

What Sounds Best for You?

Now that you have all the information, you can adequately decide on a winner. Do you need something physical and tangible as a visual aid? Or do you need to rely on reminder notifications to stay on task? Maybe you want to be more environmentally conscious. Based on your needs, try to pick which system will work best for you. However, you can always consider using both

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