Paper and Buckets Can Help Maximize Your Time

In the world of organization, there are primarily two teams: people who love paper calendars and those who prefer electronic devices or apps. Both options have their appeal, so the choice really comes down to your planning style.

If you need to use digital calendars to track your work appointments, deadlines or meetings, you are likely using a device for help. Other people always prefer paper, even if it means they have to carry a separate calendar with them. Plus, depending on how you block out your time and tasks, the paper might be the only way to make sense of it all.

Here’s a look at the pros of paper calendars as well as some tips for making the most of your time.

Why Paper Calendars Are Better

If you are an app devotee who has found an electronic calendar that works great for you, congratulations! However, if you are on the fence about a digital calendar versus paper, you should definitely check out this list of pros for paper:

  • It’s faster. You can open a paper calendar in seconds and see the whole month spread out before you. You can also add new events without getting out a phone, putting in the password, logging into the app and typing the addition with your thumbs.
  • It’s a good overview. If you’re using a monthly or weekly planning format, you can see all the activities planned for a longer span without having to scroll through a bunch of screens, invariably hitting the wrong button and starting to call Aunt Paula when you didn’t mean to.
  • It’s reliable. No worries about crashed phones, dead batteries, uninstalled apps or other such shenanigans with paper. If you are willing to carry your phone around with you everywhere you go, there’s no reason you can’t also carry a paper planner.
  • It helps your memory. Most people remember things better if they write them down. Then, even if you don’t have your calendar right in front of you, you have a better chance of recalling what you’d written. How many times have you pulled out your cell phone to add an event to the calendar and then got distracted by your social media feed? You won’t be distracted by a paper planner’s bells, whistles or notifications because it simply doesn’t have them.
  • It shares your personality. Part of the fun of calendars is choosing the exterior design, the interior format and your scheduling style. Love color coding? Paper is your friend. Have a special shorthand? It will make more sense on paper than it does electronically.
Day timer paper calendars.
Day timer paper calendar.

Now, Get Organized

So you’ve decided to choose a paper planner. Good choice! How you plan your tasks will go a long way toward deciding how organized you can ultimately be. Lots of people prefer the “bucket” approach to categorizing tasks. Here’s how it works:

  • The biggest bucket is the catchall. It includes all the tasks, appointments and projects you’d like to get done. The items on this master list don’t have to be accomplished immediately.
  • The monthly bucket includes things that have to be done in the next 30 days. A calendar set in the monthly-view format is best for this style of planning because you need to see the whole time period stretched out before you.
  • The daily bucket is for items that should be accomplished today ideally or in the next few days if necessary.
  • The repository bucket holds information that isn’t task oriented, such as passwords, important information, documentation of tasks you’ve completed, contact info and the like.

Paper calendars are an important part of an organized life. Choosing the right one for your style can be a significant step toward helping you manage your time.

Anne Lawson is a British writer who keeps her eye on business and trending issues that affect us all. She loves to delve into the real story and give us interesting tidbits we might otherwise miss.