Getting Organized: Your Calendar

Did you know that most people who make new year’s resolutions end up breaking them by February? You know who you are: Did you resolve to lose weight, quit smoking or stop procrastinating? How are you doing?

Many business owners resolve to finally get themselves organized. It might be that you are having trouble keeping up with your daily, weekly or monthly tasks and have to play catch-up as deadlines loom. Or maybe you’re thinking ahead to tax time, which will be here before any of us know it, and are kicking yourself for not keeping up with your organization last year. This, you tell yourself, is the year that will be different.

Well, it just may be! One thing that you need to do, if you haven’t already, is find some way to document what you want to do, what you are doing, and what you did do. Most of us choose to use some type of calendar for this. Many of us then fret over whether the type of calendar or planner that we’ve chosen is the right one for the job. What is it about a new year that brings out these insecurities? If you haven’t found a calendar that you love, first determine whether you want to go with a paper or digital version. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • Do you like the physical action of writing things down? For some people, the act of using a pen to write things down helps to cement ideas and actions in their minds. If that last statement resonates with you, you may want to consider sticking with a paper calendar or planner.

  • Are you more of a creative or logical thinker? Creative types may be better off with a paper planner, while those who are more logical and methodical may prefer a digital calendar. Ask yourself if you like making lists and doodling on your calendar, or if you are more likely to keep all of your appointments on your calendar, but nothing else? That might be all of the answer that you need.

  • How likely are you to lose a paper calendar? Let’s face it: Some of us could lose our heads if they weren’t attached! It’s not a character flaw, just the way we’re wired. If you hesitate to keep a paper calendar because you’re terrified that you’ll lose it, then a digital version, which can be backed up, might be the way to go.

  • Do you have a good memory? The question might really be: How likely are you to remember to check your calendar? If the answer is, “not very,” then a digital calendar, which can beep and alert you to upcoming appointments, can help you keep track of whatever you have going on.

  • Are you technologically savvy? If the thought of a digital calendar makes you fear that you’ll never figure out all of the ins and outs of it, then a paper planner might make more sense.

Of course, you’ll have to weigh everything, and some of these hints might seem contradictory. Creative, doodly types may also be the type more likely to lose a paper planner, so just make the best choice that you can. Once you decide which format would work best for you, it’s time to find the specific product that you’ll buy. You can ask for recommendations, but be forewarned that what works for someone else might not work for you. A good strategy is to go to an office supply store and actually handle the planners available. (The great news is that at the moment, planners may be on sale… after all, most people buy them at the end of December or the beginning of January, so they’re not really a hot commodity right now.) For a digital version, try downloading free trial versions until you find the one that you like best… but don’t spend too much time on this. Perhaps choose three to try for a few days each, then just pick one.

Once you make a decision, resolve to stick with it. Having several different calendars over the course of a year will make you (and next year, your accountant) crazy! Unless there are some extenuating circumstances, just try to make it work for you.

Making a calendar work for you means actually using it. Instead of making a broad resolution to get organized, just make yourself a promise to update your calendar each day. Check it at the beginning and end of each day, marking appointments and goals as they come up. It takes 30 days to form a habit, so do whatever it takes to ensure that you’re using your calendar every day. By this time next month, it should be second nature!

Do you have a calendar or planner, digital or paper, that you love? Share it with our readers in the comments section below!