The Digital and Analog Calendar System That Will Give You The Best of Both Worlds

My spouse, and oldest son, and I have been in a counselor’s workplace (long story), and the meeting was coming to an in depth. It was time to speak about scheduling a follow-up appointment. In unison, my spouse and I pulled out our phones to verify our calendars, and the counselor reached throughout to her paper planner to do the identical.

We looked at one another and laughed, every convinced that the best way we use our calendars is the “best” approach to stay on prime of issues, whereas acknowledging that others may need a unique view.

Your calendar is your second-most personal device, however could also be your most essential

There are as some ways to make use of a calendar as there are individuals who use them. We all have our totally different calendar setups, routines, and instruments.

After a journal, no other productiveness software is as private. It might include every part from necessary occasions to things we’ve to try this day, to things we need to do this day.

A calendar can include birthdays, anniversaries, and reminders of issues which are essential to us (or things which are essential to others, so we appear to be heroes when “we remember”).

Because of this, many individuals turn into hooked up to the best way they use their calendars, but in addition turn out to be curious: is there a “better” means to make use of a calendar? These people who find themselves ultra-productive — what do they do?

The Digital/analog calendar wrestle is actual

Many of us love the feeling of writing on a paper calendar or planner, however we miss the portability of a digital calendar.

Or we like the tactile really feel and “visualness” of flipping a paper planner open to a day, but miss the velocity of capturing digitally and discover it exhausting to remain on prime of things when every part is digital.

Here’s how one member of the Dojo, our online productiveness group, put it:

I hold wavering between digital and analog calendar and duties. I really like with the ability to see every little thing at a glance, however I take public transportation and walk a big method, so digital makes a lot more sense from the portability standpoint. The drawback is that I are likely to miss things when they’re digital since I’m making an attempt to also not be so distracted. How do other individuals handle to stay on prime of a digital system?

In the event you’ve tried (or need to attempt) each approaches however haven’t gotten it quite right but, this text is for you. Many individuals find it troublesome to find a technique that works for them at first. You’re undoubtedly not alone.

The good news is we’ve got the profit of dwelling and respiration these things — we spend a huge amount of time researching, experimenting, and listening to our giant productiveness group to seek out out what works and what doesn’t.

Consequently, we now have a system for using digital and analog calendars collectively, and we find that it really works properly and exploits the most effective half of each technique.

Need to discover ways to rock your calendar?

How you employ your calendar is a vital query. Regardless of how organized you’re, you solely have 24 hours in a day. What you choose to offer these hours to is the most important factor that may decide how productive you’re.

Do you’ve got the area to make progress on your necessary objectives? Are you obtainable to spend time with somebody that provides you with power?

Managing your calendar is the simplest approach to control your time and subsequently your productiveness.

Listed here are some assets by which we’ve accomplished deep dives into calendars up to now:

Benefits of a digital calendar

Why use a digital calendar within the first place? In that counselor’s workplace, why did both my wife and I instantly reach for our phones as an alternative of pulling out a daytimer?

Listed here are some benefits of a digital calendar:

All the time with you

There are lots of occasions where I don’t have my backpack with me, however there are virtually no occasions that I don’t have a digital system of some type.

If my calendar is digital, I all the time have fast access to see what’s going on within the day, and I can shortly add new occasions.

Out there on all of your units

For those who use a cloud service on your digital calendar, which we advocate, your calendar is on the market in your telephone, your tablet, and your pc. Once you put an occasion in on one of the units, it seems on all different ones almost instantaneously.

If by some probability you aren’t at one of your units, as long as you will get to an internet browser, you will get to your calendar.


With a digital calendar, you possibly can share a calendar with relations or colleagues. It permits you to be on the same page and avoids double-booking or appointment-scheduling-tennis.

Individual 1: “How does next Tuesday at 3 work?”

Individual 2: “No good. How about Friday at 4?”

Individual 1: “Sorry, no. How about the Wednesday after at [5:30]?”

Individual 2: “That’s perfect.”

Individual 2, the subsequent day: “Ohhh, sorry. It turns out my wife arranged a physio appointment then. How about Thursday at 4? …”

You get the thought. Sharing calendars can get rid of all of that.

Recurring occasions

You can create an occasion once in your digital calendar, and have it repeat in any number of totally different frequencies. It makes it much less tedious vs. re-writing the identical appointment over and over once more.

BusyCal Recurring

Quick seize

Digital calendars assist you to capture events extremely shortly, typically right at the point of making them.

Quick seize is a key to keep away from lacking obligations.

With a number of keystrokes or faucets, your occasion is in your calendar and you’ll be able to then plan the remaining of your day and week round it.

Many calendar apps even help natural language enter, so creating an occasion is as straightforward as typing Lunch with Thanh at Turf N Surf monday at 3pm.

Fantastical Quick Capture

Can have links to reference material

With a digital calendar, you’ll be able to have links to URLs, reference materials, or hooked up paperwork proper in the calendar entry.

That is massively efficient when scheduling meetings. Everybody has the knowledge that they should put together for or participate in the meeting, with out having to dig via emails to seek out what they want.

Advantages of an analog calendar

With all the benefits of a digital calendar, why would anyone need to put pen to paper?

People who use their analog calendars and planners actually tend to like them. While digital calendar customers use them for the features, analog calendar customers typically use them for the experience.

Listed here are a couple of benefits of an analog paper calendar:

Capable of see all the things at a look

With a larger wall calendar or a week-at-a-glance paper planner, it is simpler to get a way of what is going on with one glance. No clicking or scrolling, it’s all there.

For instance, I’ve a calendar on the wall behind my pc. I don’t put appointments on it, but as a result of of my system, just this glance as much as the wall provides me so much of info that I exploit on a day-to-day basis.


Helps you focus

Once you use a paper planner, all the things you put on the page is intentional, and you (at the least subconsciously) determine whether it’s one thing you ought to be doing or not.

Fans of analog calendars would argue that the shortage of recurring appointments is a function, not a bug. When one thing is routinely on our calendar, we have a tendency to only go together with it because it is there.

If you need to write the same appointment down every week, you begin to question — is this one thing I must be spending my limited time on?

Not distracting

Have you ever ever gone to take a look at your calendar on your telephone, and a notification comes up or you see an app and determine to tap into it? Half an hour later you forgot what you needed to take a look at your calendar for within the first place.

With a paper calendar, no distractions are popping up. It’s simply you and the page.


Admittedly that is an intangible benefit, however you typically hear from paper calendar proponents that they identical to using their system. Here’s a slightly over-the-top example from the Wall Road Journal:

Nowadays, the emotional rush I really feel once I open my planner to the current month is the moment “read” I get on my upcoming schedule. I expertise a light euphoria, fairly in contrast to the mixture of nervousness and boredom my desktop work calendar typically triggers: The latter’s coldly digital time slots signifying meetings and deadlines don’t satisfy me the best way the handcrafted order of my datebook does.

If using analog instruments for productivity evokes you, there’s an analog productivity course inside The Dojo.

Digital or analog is the flawed query

Which do you have to use? A digital calendar or an analog calendar? It comes down to non-public choice of course, however in case you see the benefit of both, then the reply could also be… both!

The question is, how do you employ them in order that they work together, in order that nothing is missed, and with the intention to use your calendar(s) as a method to help you in assembly your objectives?

The Digital Analog Hybrid Calendar System

The answer is to make use of a hybrid system. A system that takes advantage of one of the best elements of both digital and analog calendars.

The secret is to outline one of your calendars, digital or analog, because the definitive Master calendar. You know that every thing you have to do or know is on this calendar, and when you have been pressured simply to make use of one for a interval of time, you’d use this one.

We advocate that in a hybrid system, your grasp system be digital.

Master System – Digital

Each occasion, appointment, focus time block, and so forth. all go on your digital calendar.

Why? A digital calendar is straightforward to take care of and replace — likelihood is, you all the time have a digital system of some type which you can access when you have to examine or replace your calendar.

Digital calendar instruments

If you’ll use a digital calendar, don’t focus first on which calendar app you need to use.

As an alternative, begin with which cloud service you will use to tie your calendars together.

In case you are all-in in the Apple ecosystem, you should use iCloud. If must be cross-platform, Google Calendar is an effective answer that works in all places.

In case you are in a corporation, you possible gained’t have a selection.

The secret is to just remember to and the individuals it’s essential share calendars with are all on the same platform.

Then it’s a matter of selecting how you will interact with the digital calendar.

In the event you use macOS or iOS, the stock calendar apps are high quality, however listed here are some options:

  • Fantastical (iOS/Mac): A superb calendar app with nice natural language help.
  • BusyCal (iOS/Mac): Also an ideal calendar device that is extremely customizable.
  • Google Calendar (Net/Cross-platform): The Google Calendar net interface is sweet, and the iOS and Android apps are quite good.
  • Outlook (Windows/Cross-platform): You either like it, hate it, or haven’t any selection either means. Individuals have a shocking quantity of love for the iOS app.

Fantastical Mac

Servant System – Analog

Your “second” calendar is your analog calendar, but that doesn’t imply it is any much less useful.

There are various totally different types an analog calendar can take. It can be a wall calendar (which I exploit), a pocket book or paper planner, a sheet of paper for the day, or a whiteboard (which I also use).

An analog planner could be particularly helpful when paired with considering time periods. You can use it to sketch out your week, month, or quarter.

To use an analog calendar as your “servant” calendar, you’re taking the necessary things out of your digital grasp calendar and place it in your analog calendar for focus.

For instance, at the end of each day, you’ll be able to evaluate your digital calendar and write down the subsequent day’s events in your paper calendar or on a sheet of paper.

Then the subsequent day, you’re employed off that. You have the main target and lack of distraction of a paper calendar, but you understand every thing is in your digital calendar in case you need it.

Analog calendar instruments

The software you employ for an analog calendar is determined by the sort you need to use. Listed here are some examples:

  • Wall calendar: NeuYear: The NeuYear is a big wall calendar that myself and many on the AE group and many in the AE group use. I all the time have one on the wall behind my pc in order that I can see it at a look.
  • Paper planner: Leuchtturm1917: The Leuchtturm planner was the first merchandise in our vacation present information for a cause. Many within the AE group like it. There’s a non-planner-specific notebook too in the event you want that.
  • Whiteboard: I discover 36×24” to be a great measurement for a weekly planning whiteboard. I want clean ones vs. those with calendars pre-printed for flexibility, but do whatever works for you.

Calendar Cup

Keep away from the most important mistake individuals make with a hybrid calendar system

Can you guess what the most important mistake individuals make is when utilizing a digital/analog hybrid calendar system?

Allowing the calendars to grow to be out of sync.

This primarily happens once we jot down appointments, motion gadgets, and essential notes in the servant (analog) system that don’t make their means again to the master (digital) system.

For a hybrid system to work, there have to be one calendar that is canonical. That you trust to have the right listing of appointments and events.

If not, you end up not trusting both system and find you must examine a number of places, which becomes a recipe for overwhelm.

The answer is straightforward: have a ritual to ensure they’re in sync. The easiest method to do that is to tie it into your morning or night ritual — at the start or end of every day, make it a behavior to transfer anything related between the calendars.

For example, I’ve a recurring process day by day referred to as “Process Notebook.” To me, meaning to undergo my paper pocket book and seize any motion gadgets or calendar occasions.

You may also tie this into your weekly assessment: do a verify via your analog calendar or notebook to see what you must seize since last week.

Design a calendar system that works for you

On this article, we’ve described a digital and analog hybrid calendar system that permits you to keep targeted and know that every thing essential is captured to your trusted system.

You’ll know what you have to be doing when, with out being distracted.

This technique is one option to do it, however since a calendar system is so private, you might need to adapt it to your wants. That’s OK!

Implement what works for you, and if after reading this you continue to need to be all-digital or all-analog, that’s not an issue at all.

Want an unbeatable time management system that may help you and hold you in control of your work and your life? Take a look at our common Calendar course inside The Dojo, our on-line productivity group. Pair that with our digital/analog hybrid system, and you’ll have the arrogance and control you want.