I was with a colleague the other day and we were setting up our next meeting. I whipped out my smartphone, she sheepishly reached into her briefcase and pulled out her paper planner. Then she whispered, “I still use a paper planner, isn’t that pathetic?” Now, she may have been embarassed because my focus is helping people use technology to work smarter. But the fact is, if you’re using a paper system that works for you, then that in itself is working smart.
But for those who are currently using a paper calendar and contemplating switching over … this blog is for you. (For those who are digital already, read on. There may be some features you didn’t know about.)
Here are 8 reasons to switch to a digital calendar for 2012.
1. Sharing – Whether you’re working as part of a team and need to keep everyone on the same timeline for a project or you’re juggling pick-up times for the kids with your spouse, sharing a calendar is a big bonus, and a must for any busy professional.
2. Freedom – You’re busy and on the go. You need access to your schedule and the ability to update it from wherever you are and from a variety of devices (smartphone, laptop, tablet).
3. Synchronization – Having one calendar accessible on a variety of devices is efficiency at its best. Depending on the type of digital calendar system you use, the changes you make using your smartphone, will automatically appear on the calendar on your office computer.
4. Reminders – I’d be lost without the little beeps and bells that go off reminding me of an upcoming event or a project deadline. I can even set my digital calendar to open a file at certain times. How useful is that? Those techies are thinking of all sorts of ways to fight the procrastination bug. You can also control when these reminders chime or pop up and how often. This is a useful feature to avoid those reminders that go beep in the middle of the night!
5. Invitations – Organizing meetings is easy with a digital calendar. No more back and forth emails. Invitees will be able to select the option to accept, decline or consider. They can also automatically add the event to their calendar and see who else is attending. If you need to make a change to the event, all invitees will automatically be notified.
6. Recurring Events – Put it in your calendar once, select how often it repeats and you’re done. Simple as that.
7. Multiple Calendars – Create multiple calendars for different activities, projects or groups. With a click of your mouse you can select to see only the events that are coming up for that big project you’re working on. If you’re sharing your calendar, select only the calendar you want to share … all your other appointments stay private. Use colour coding to separate your calendars.
8. Synchronization Part 2 – Your digital calendar likely works with other applications. For example, I use a separate task management system which syncs with my calendar system. The benefit to me is project deadlines are automatically tranferred to my calendar. This saves me the time of having to manually input all those dates. Love it.
If you’re considering making the switch from paper to digital, or shopping around for a new digital calendar system, these are 8 features you’ll want to consider. You be the judge as to which ones will make the greatest impact on your time, efficiency and business.
P.S. If you just can’t part with paper completely … you can always print your digital calendar. I won’t tell anyone!
Are you considering making the switch? Do you love your paper calendar and can’t part with it? Does your current digital calendar suck? Share your comments below. We’d love to hear what features you use (and need) in a digital calendar. Leave your comments in the comment box below. Thanks!