Bye-Bye art calendars

Bye-Bye art calendars

I’ve always wanted to find the perfect solution for each need or circumstance.

Huh? What do you mean?

Well…I’m always collecting purses and bags trying to find the right fit and function for different situations. I’m always trying out new storage containers and I used to try and find the perfect paper calendar each year. But a few years ago I gave up the paper calendar because it wasn’t the best solution for my needs. It was hard for me to finally give up my paper calendars, but I did it.

I loved choosing the best, prettiest, most wonderfully, art filled calendar that could fit in my bag and contain all my projects, shopping lists etc. You can imagine, I was asking a lot from this one book. I loved filling it in early January with everyone’s birthdays, upcoming vacations, works schedules and so forth. By the end of the year, it was roughed up.  There were sticky notes on different pages, the binding was cracking, pages were ripped, and so many things had been crossed out and rewritten. It was hard to leave behind this physical world thing I was interacting with everyday, but I had found a better tool. And as I said, I’m always looking for the perfect solution for each circumstance. A digital calendar was clearly that solution.

I had started exploring the apps available on my amazing and cool iPhone and the calendar was pretty easy. With my calendar set up correctly, I could tell my husband to pick up the kids or meet me somewhere without ever having to tell him to do these things, because we shared a calendar. I stopped having to re-write to-do lists. Plus I could copy and paste things. I could create reoccurring tasks or appointments to save myself time.

So I gave it up. I gave up the pretty, physical world calendar as my everyday, utilitarian. I now have a pretty calendar on my desk and refrigerator for quick reference but there’s not much on it. I enjoy the beauty of that, but I LOVE the function of the calendar and other productivity apps I’ve tried out, used and learned about in the last 5 years. I also gave up beautiful address books and all attempts at business card holders for the ease and portability of phone apps.

The funny thing is that I’m not an early adopter of technology. I didn’t have the first iPhone or even the second. Actually, I had a flip phone long after friends and family had smartphones. I’ve got plenty of clients who must be those early adopters, because we always dig up old Palm Pilots and gigantic (compared to today’s cell phones) electronic organizers.  I even remember when my mom, who is so sweetly not tech savvy- (Hi Mom, love you, if you’re reading this) started using a Palm Pilot. At the time, I thought it so cumbersome and tricky. And yet, I find myself as a guide, instructor and mentor to people in the realm of consumer technology.

I know it can be hard to change old ways. It can feel strange to get rid of the written lists that grow new branches and to stop using a written calendar. And I know the thought of changing all those things can be mind boggling. Yet with guidance and taking it slowly, you can make your phone and computer the most useful tool you’ve got. That doesn’t mean you’re on a device all the time; actually it’s the complete opposite. You should be on your devices less and living life in the physical world more because your tools work so well for you. They work so well, you trust that you’ve got it covered, you know your systems support you.

Here are the benefits I’ve found from getting your calendar, contacts, and to-dos on an app (or more than one app):

  • Easily break down projectsinto tasks and subtasks.
  • Set due dates that remind you.
  • Link data and documents you need to your task list so there’s no looking around for info when it’s time to tackle a task.
  • Duplicate appointments and to-do lists for things you do over and over.
  • Use multiple calendars that are shared with partners, kids, and team members.
  • Hire a virtual assistantthat you don’t have to meet in person because all the data is available to both of you all the time.
  • If you’re phone is lost- everything is still available from the cloud- you can’t say that about my old beautiful calendars
  • Have less physical things or more space for cooler physical things. It’s all contained in the mysterious non-physical cloud out there.
  • Don’t carry anything extra- because I’m guessing you already carry your phone with you every where, actually you need it so much you’d turn around and go back if you forgot it at home.

I encourage you to take the next steps towards using the amazing applications that are out there. Ask yourself what’s the one thing that just doesn’t feel handled? Is it your e-mail, to-dos, your time, contacts, social media? Whatever it is, there’s a way to use technology as your support system.

Next month, starting in early May, I’m teaching a webinar serieson just this, on how to stop wasting time in the black hole of technology, like digging through emails, recreating processes, and rewriting your to-do lists. After you take this course you’ll feel more confident in your ability to use applications, you’ll learn the ins and outs of different programs and which ones are right for you. And best of all you’ll stop doing it all, you’ll know what tasks can be dropped and which ones to pass on to an assistant or expert.  If you’re wanting to use technology with more ease Tame Your Tech Chaos Masterclassis for you.