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Trends in the Calendar Business: How Workplace Shifts Are Changing the Way We Schedule

How to you keep track of your business meetings, conference calls, personal appointments, and family obligations?

Many of us grew up and entered the working world with day planners in hand and calendars on the wall. The monthly ritual of flipping back the calendar page on the first day of the month is oddly satisfying, and there’s something to be said for having a constant visual reminder of your daily events. However, modern technology has introduced us a wide variety of electronic calendars and smartphone apps that have taken scheduling to a much more complex level.

As we prepare to turn the page to a new month, we became curious about how much of an impact mobile calendars are having on the traditional calendar industry. What types of calendars appeal to the modern professional, and which calendar features are most valuable in our changing work environment?

To learn more about these recent trends, we connected with our partner and calendar expert, House of Doolittle. This sustainably minded company provides eco-friendly calendars, desk pads, and appointment books for the modern world. In doing so, HOD’s national sales manager, John Pattinson, has noticed some significant shifts in the industry that we think are worth sharing.

Shrinking Cubicle Offices  

Due to economic constraints and minimalistic approaches to modern office design, cubicle spaces appear to be shrinking. As a result, there is not as much wall space or desk space available for displaying personal calendars at work. As a response to this trend, Pattinson says that House of Doolittle has seen an increase in the demand for small wall calendars, desk pads, and free-floating styles, such as tent calendars. “We have noticed a trend to smaller compact desk pads and wall calendars printed with four-color designs and scenes,” he shared.

A Growing Mobile Workforce

An increasing number of companies are embracing the mobile workforce trend and allowing their employees to work remotely. Remote workers who perform most of their duties at a home office tend to use calendars in the same way they did in a traditional office environment. Meanwhile, digital nomads who make frequent use of co-working spaces or who travel as they work are more likely to use digital calendars on laptops and smartphones.

Calendars for Notetaking

In talking with customers, we have found that many people have a tendency to jot down quick notes on a desk pad as they chat on the phone or read emails. Having a desk calendar is a quick and easy way to always have a notepad at your fingertips. It’s also a nice place to doodle as you wait for an endless conference call to wrap up or sit on hold listening to that dreadful elevator music.

AT-A-GLANCE Desk Pad Calendar

Calendars as Personalized Décor

One really interesting trend in calendars is that many people are using them today as a form of decoration. With so many interesting calendar themes available, it’s easy to express your personality or share your interests with co-workers by proudly displaying a decorative calendar that appeals to you. As far as office décor is concerned, it doesn’t get much easier or affordable than hanging a calendar!

Calendars as Vacation Schedulers

But it’s important to note that office calendars aren’t all work and no play. In fact, full-year wall calendars, especially the laminated versions, have been extremely popular in office settings. Small offices in particular, such as physician offices and law offices, have really adopted this type of calendar as vacation schedulers.

Unlike a computer screen, these types of calendars allow you to see the full year all at once, simplifying the process of scheduling multiple employees. And with a laminated surface, making changes is as easy as wiping your words away with a damp cloth.

Busy mom

A Step Back from Technology

It may surprise some of you to learn that the popularity of smartphones and mobile apps have actually had a very small impact on the traditional calendar industry. As we can personally attest to, it’s often much faster to glance up at a calendar on the wall or on a desk rather than fiddling with a stubborn software program to search for dates.

Despite the most impressive efforts of app developers, it’s still easier to find dates and appointments in a monthly or weekly planner. Of course, the larger numbers and text are easier to read for the older generation, compared to the small screen of a smartphone. But the Millennial generation is embracing a rediscovered love for calendars too. There’s a strong movement to disconnect from technology when possible for the sake of our health and streamlined efficiency. And with a paper version, you don’t have to worry about your battery dying or accessing a digital calendar on the same phone you’re talking on!

“Fortunately for those of us the make calendars for a living, the old tried-and-true paper calendar business is still very strong,” said Pattinson. We wish our partner, House of Doolittle, many more years of continued success, to build upon the legacy it began in 1919 and has been adapting with the times ever since.

Appointment Juggling: Planners & Calendars are Critical

Appointment Juggling: Planners & Calendars are Critical

It’s Tuesday night. The clock says it’s four-thirty, but it feels as though it has been saying that for the last half hour. You were supposed to be finishing up some payroll busywork, but have instead found yourself fiddling with the contrast on your monitor. Perhaps making it brighter would make it more pleasant to look at. Darker? Mainly, you’re just trying to kill the last half hour before its time to go home. True, you could just leave now and no one would think the worse of you, but you like to set a good example for your employees. Besides, you like to leave your early escapes for Friday.

Then the phone rings. It’s your boss, and he wants to know why you aren’t at the meeting downtown! Oh no! You completely forgot about it. You scramble to make up an excuse, but he doesn’t sound happy. He advises you to meet him first thing in the morning so he can catch you up on what you missed. You hang up and lose interest in the contrast of your monitor and decide you have to do something about your appointments. But what is the answer? Is there one, or are you simply doomed to a poor memory and an inability to juggle time?

The Planning Calendar

There is an answer, and it is found in the planning calendar. At-a-Glance is but one company that makes a fine planning calendar. These calendars make it easy for you to keep track of all of your appointments, meetings, and special events that you have a tendency to forget. And you’re not alone. If everyone could simply remember everywhere they were supposed to be, planning calendars wouldn’t be one of the biggest selling office supply items on the market. You just need to take the time to get one, and get organized.

Of course, having a planning calendar will not do you much good if you do not use it the right way. You have to make sure you right everything in that calendar, no matter how small and insignificant. You then need to make it a point to look at the calendar every morning and plan your day accordingly. Take the time to thumb through the next few days as well, just to make sure there isn’t something on the horizon you need to be planning for today.

Overall Time Management

While a planning calendar is important, it’s not the only aspect of your overall strategy. You can do many other things to help you start controlling your time, rather than have it be the other way around. One of these ways is to start each day by creating a to do list. Granted, this isn’t a revolutionary idea, but are you doing it? Or do you easily get sidetracked even when you know there are things to get done. Having a to do list, and writing it up in the order in which the tasks need to be completed is an excellent way to start managing your time better. Encourage your employees to do the same. Just the act of creating the list can make you feel better and more in control.

Get Help with Time

Don’t hesitate to bring others in to your time management strategies. This particularly includes your employees. Make sure you use these people in such a way that they can contribute to getting tasks done and appointments kept. After all, that’s part of why you’re paying them. If need be, incorporate your family into the mix as well. If you have important tasks that can be delegated to anyone else, make sure you do so if you won’t have time to manage the project by yourself. Of course, when it comes to friends and family, this only works if you’re willing to do the same for them should the opportunity come up.

Time management doesn’t have to be the bane of your existence. If you take some simple steps to get it under control, you’ll find that you had much more time in your day than you originally thought, and you won’t feel that constant weight of stress crushing down on you throughout your days. Isn’t that reason enough to get things in hand?