Scheduling One’s Life – On Paper

starting my day, computer and planner at-the-ready (5:43am)

I know you’ve all heard about them – those people who still use a weekly planner (of the paper variety), carrying the bulky load with them wherever they go.  The bulk grows as random receipts and other necessary papers start to be carried in the back of the planner, so that all important items are in one place.  Or, those of a more sophisticated bent will have a desk calendar, which stays put – on the desk – requiring that person to “get back to you” when asked about a possible event or outing, only to have the rest of the party frantically whip out their PDAs or some such devices to quickly schedule the event so as not to be left behind.

Those of you who know me know that I am PDA-free.  I don’t have a personal assistant, digital or otherwise.  I schedule my weeks on paper, and, reluctantly, the Outlook calendar I am forced to use for one of my steady freelance assignments.  And I keep my calendars, year after year, storing them away for reference later in life, when I want to reminisce about important life events, meetings, or encounters that I know were recorded in them.

I know this is archaic.  I know a somewhat savvy person like me should “get with the times”.  I can.  But frankly, I don’t want to.  I feel bad for those who don’t know the joy of flipping back to old calendars to see the recording of events in their own hand, events that, at the time, didn’t register as significant, yet are now clearly landmarks in one’s life.  I’m sure you could do this with a digital calendar – but who would?  And how many people have used one for 5, 10, even 20 years?  Those past events are done and gone, ticked off the calendar and well past the 15 minute reminder chime.

As noted in the recent article in the NY Times , I’m not alone – there are more of us out there.  Those of us who can’t let go of our Filofax, weekly planner, or desk calendar.  We may not be able to respond to your invite on the spot, but it doesn’t mean we don’t want to see you.  On the contrary, we want to schedule you in pen, in our own hand, in our paper calendar.  It won’t buzz reminders at us, and best of all, it doesn’t take our attention away from you while we’re actually trying to enjoy the event to which you’ve invited us.

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