Monthly planners are an easy way to visualize what's ahead

As one year comes to an end, a new one begins.

I recently received my 2023 monthly planner. Full of expectations for the coming year, I can’t wait to begin to fill it up with appointments, activities, and events.

Each year I spend some time looking for just the right planner, one with a bright upbeat cover and big boxes for each day of the month to make notations.

Somewhere in my growing up years, I was taught to be productive and prepared. My monthly calendar helps me to look forward and visualize my day, week, and month to get myself ready for what is coming my way.

On a practical side, I have found that a monthly calendar, versus daily or weekly, works best for me to plot and see my progress towards longer term goals, such planning a major fundraising event.

I also look for an 8 1/2” x 11” size because it allows me to write in my appointments, along with birthdays or other notable events, and still be able to read them even if my day is full. I sometimes use different colored pens to notate special events like birthdays, vacations, or important deadlines. It gives me an immediate visual that something important is coming up.

In my market research days in the grocery industry, there was a study that reviewed thousands of grocery store shopping lists individuals had made.

The study found, for example, that usage of a grocery list is even across generations. It also found that even with the advent of technology, most people still use a paper shopping list.

With regards to calendar usage, just this past year, Columbia Business School conducted a study that compared user outcomes of mobile versus paper calendar use.

The study found that “while mobile calendars might seem like the most convenient option, people who use them tend to be less effective at implementing their plans than people who use paper calendars because with paper calendars, you can see more details of your schedule at once, without having to click into an event.”

This study proved what I felt all along, paper calendars allow people to see the big picture while they’re making plans.

Further studies on the use of paper calendars found that just the act of physically writing something down, what they call the “brain-hand connection," helped people to remember things more easily.

Some of you may be thinking, I don’t have any goals per se; so besides documenting my doctors’ appointments, why would I need a paper calendar?

Monthly paper calendars make our lives easier by organizing our schedules.

They can also help us to plan ahead, for things like a grandchild’s wedding, a high school reunion or a local event you want to attend.

I have saved all my monthly planners from the past 10+ years.

They have become a kind of shorthand memoir to my comings and goings, mishaps, and milestones. Someday, I hope to have the time to look back and see if I can find some insights from them.

My hypothesis is that I will find I spend too many hours on work and too little time on vacation with my husband. I'm guessing I need to plan more vacation time in 2023.  

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Categories: Elder lifestyleNumber of views: 105

Tags: planning

Andrea GallagherAndrea Gallagher

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