Paper vs. electronic?

Let’s talk organizers! Are you a dinosaur like me and use an agenda? Or have you moved to the ease of the smart calendar? As we welcome the fresh start of a new year, we often make new goals, ideas, and new ways to stay on top of our work/family/life balance. Usually, it starts with how we set ourselves up with those calendars. What’s the start of a new year without some sort of resolution on how to manage it all?

January 1st I broke out my brand new agenda. Yes, I know paper calendars are mostly 16 months calendars and start with the new school year, but call me old-fashioned. I enjoy starting the brand new year with a brand new agenda and calendar for home use! Anyway, a girl I was working with was asking me about working a certain day which lead to the ‘let me check my agenda’ comment, which made her look at me like I had two heads. Now, I know I am not the only person who resorts to a classic agenda (a very dear friend of mine lives through hers) but it made me wonder, are electronic calendars making pocket agendas obsolete? Have you found the perfect app that can keep track of everything you need? I have not… which leads me back to the paper agenda with my colour coded pens to organize my family of 5!

Calendars and agendas, in any form, are deeply personal. I could probably spend a week over-analyzing every detail of them. Picking out the perfect one with the correct functionality for my personal needs. Testing out all kinds of apps and tossing out the ones that just don’t work. The same is true for agendas. It can become my mini squid games of organizers! Too many tabs, poof gone. Monthly squares that are not quite big enough, you’re out too! Etc…

So let’s debate the electronic side of things: First, super convenient! already on your phone or tablet (which we all live on these days…). Second, um reminders! Yes, please! That little timer sound letting me know to haul-ass to the appointment I’m about to be late to, or to hand something in that’s due. Yup, so need that. Another bonus is the shared calendar now this can be a good or bad thing depending on the maturity level of the person you’re sharing your calendar with, for example, my dear hubs added sexy time into the calendar every day at 4pm! Imagine that going off on the notification screen… every day?! (first off, as if…that’s all I’m saying 😉 )

On the downside: I have tried a lot of calendars/agenda/organizer apps everything from a simple google calendar to a family organizer, but none of them have met my needs! I understand I may be overly picky, but I am balancing multiple family members, my work and University schedule, my kid’s schedules (now that I have 3 of them), any important household info like bills. The biggest challenge for me is that no one here works on a Monday-Friday schedule. Sure, there are shift work apps, but then I struggled to have to make mini notes on all the family stuff! A lot of the apps had notes you could color code, but you have to open the specific day to see what was happening, not at a glance. The SECOND negative is price. Most of these great apps required an upgrade at a cost to unlock the features that were really needed. Now, with this said, the one app that I found is PALU. It features multiple calendars, and it has blank squares you write in, that’s right. You write on your screen not type so you can add as many things as you want! It has features like multiple colors (for the super organized) and stickers. I have been using this one for about two years now, using the free features.

Now, for the OG paper agenda/calendar.

Benefits of the paper organizer: Choice! The options are endless. Every size, design, inspirational quotes, and layout your heart could desire. Space, since you choose what works for you, there is always enough space to write everything little thing you need to squeeze in. Extras, stickers, tabs, pockets to hold all the little scrap paper that we jot stuff down on or receipts. Some of them even have cardholders, phone numbers sections (no one uses anymore…). Paper agendas will fit everyone’s needs no matter how many schedules you are keeping track of.

The downside to the classic agenda: size, weight, clunkiness? I do NOT want to be carrying around a binder! Where am I going to put that? It’s heavy and clunky. I barely even carry a purse anymore. It’s all stuffed in the Diaper bag! No thanks, the super-duty ones are not for me. Always remember ing to take it with you. It happens, you take it out and add stuff in or mark something off and then leave it on the counter 😦

Price: They can cost a pretty penny! A typical agenda can cost anywhere from $10-$35 (or way more if you can roll with spending a lot for a designer one). I am going to keep things in the realm of realism for us budgeters, going with the under $35, for a decent agenda bought through staples, Walmart (or big box store), Indigo, or even HomeSense. They offer an excellent selection, but it usually comes on the higher end of the price tag. It’s a small luxury but I do always keep my eye on the sale selection (why pay full price when I don’t have to?)

I have never stopped using the agenda. I carried a little tiny pocketbook version you buy from the dollar store, but as I went from single and working one job, to a family juggling everything, I needed more space! I prefer the medium to smaller ones with large daily squares like the household wall calendar. I love to see everything out at the same time and not flip through 200 pages to find the exact thing I need to do on that day, especially now that I am not keeping track of my own assignments and never-ending readings. Simplicity is key! I do like my side notes, though. So I usually look for one that has extra writing spaces. I love picking out my designs, colors whether I want to use tabs or dividers, stickers… fun stuff! My pink little gem of an agenda seen in the pic below cost me $3.50 on clearance at HomeSense.

My ‘office’ starring my brand new pink agenda!

Personally, I have flipped-flopped back and forth between my app and a basic agenda for years! Even using both to keep up with our schedules. We always have a regular house calendar posted on the pantry door (let’s be practical, everyone goes in and out of the pantry making it easy to take a quick glance!) As a family, it’s essential to have a hub of information. I already feel like the hot mess mom running late most of the time. I want a little less chaos.

Let’s face it, we all need to manage our lives somehow and everyone uses something. So how do you organize life? Paper or Electronic? Or are you a rebel with an impeccable brain who can remember it all without any of it? (would love to chat and find out how?) Drop your comments below.

Cheers to the new year and a little more organization! maybe that’s a resolution we can keep 🙂

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    Honestly I do both. My phone for when I’m making plans with family , friends and last minute appointments. Paper at home so I can see at a glance what’s going on in the coming months.

    1. authormadynrose says:

      I think a lot of people including myself most of the time… It’s crazy that I’m all this technology and choices we still can’t find something that’s fits it all… thanks for the comment!

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