I have to admit it: the television commercials for back to school shopping really appeal to me. It is the most wonderful time of the year, and if you pass by me on campus you may hear me humming! An excuse to purchase new office supplies — who doesn't like that? For years, my most important task of August has been to find the perfect planner for the new school year. Something that is functional and attractive. Personally, I prefer a coil-bound agenda that provides a week at a glance in bright, vibrant colours. More critically, the paper has to be the right texture for a the lead of a 0.7mm mechanical pencil to glide smoothly across the page while writing. Too much sheen just doesn't cut it.
I can hear you now: "People actually still use paper planners?" Surprisingly, yes. Don't get me wrong. I also use an Outlook calendar synched to my personal BlackBerry to schedule meetings and keep me on track everyday. After all, I'd never be found without my BlackBerry in my purse or pocket. But for planning purposes, I still find it more convenient to look at a paper-based calendar to map things out. It's also a good back-up in the event of software or hardware failure (though, like everyone, I pray that I never have to deal with that). There's also a limit to what is stored in the "past" calendar on my BlackBerry. So, it's nice to have an agenda where past events don't disappear as though they never existed. I also like writing notes to myself in the agenda that I can go back to with ease if necessary. When I teach classes, I often use the paper agenda to note conversations with students, requests for assistance, etc. Sometimes it can be very helpful to be able to pinpoint the exact date on which you discussed a term paper topic or an extension, for example.
Despite my love of a paper planner, this year I thought that I would try to completely transition into the twenty-first century and use only a digital calendar. August came and went, and I didn't make the annual pilgrimage to Staples. I thought, surely, this will be easy enough to live without. But as I planned a work trip to Newfoundland, I found myself annoyed as I switched between windows on my computer to check dates. And on Saturday, September 7th, I found myself in a local store perusing the selection of agendas.
I guess I'm just not ready to give up my paper planner yet.