Going Analog

If you work in an office environment, there is a pretty solid chance you stare at Microsoft Outlook a decent chunk of your day. If not the majority of your day. For emails, yes. Calendar, definitely. Both of my jobs used Outlook to schedule meetings. Smartypants Superusers like my husband keep their tasks and lord-knows-what-else in Outlook too.

You know how people cleverly tally up the number of hours you spend sleeping or waiting in line or in the bathroom in a lifetime? I’ll venture a guess that if I tallied up the number of hours I spent calendar-jockeying in Outlook these past 10 years, I would be horrified.

In fact, I spent so much time staring at my Outlook calendar, it became second nature to just plop in my personal appointments too – for planning purposes. If Andy and I needed to let each other know about work travel or impending visits from family, we’d just send each other an Outlook invitation that automatically blocks out the time on the other one’s calendar.

I’m saying all of this for you Baby Boomers out there, by the way, because my Gen X and Millennial readers are like “DEBBIE, EVERYONE DOES THIS. BLAHBLAHBLAH GET TO YOUR POINT.”

So here’s my point: I have not yet successfully figured out how to survive effectively without Outlook during this, ahem, employment gap.

I’ve been using Google Calendar and making appointments on my phone using the calendar app. Shortcomings abound. We’ll start with the latter.

The Apple Calendar app is flawed. I personally like looking at a month view so that I can plan ahead… see whose birthday cards I need to buy and when the kids have appointments coming up, etc. Plan the week, you know.

This THIS is how Apple helps me plan ahead:


Awesome, thanks bro. So no dots tomorrow, then? Sweet.

I’m joking. This is completely unhelpful. A dot indicates that something is happening on that day. It does not indicate what at a glance. Which is what I need.

I have to click on a day to get details, which then looks like this:


Okay, better. Except now I’ve lost all spatial relationships to appointments. They’re all just… piled on top of one another. If a day doesn’t have an appointment, it simply doesn’t appear.

I’m sure this works for people. Just not for me. Screenshot 2016-01-10 22.27.32

This is what Google Calendar looks like when I log into it from my desktop computer. So nice, huh? (I know you can’t read it, but go with me on this.) Good color-coding going on. Spatially laid out with just a bit of detail. Very nicely done, Google.

Except… the only way I get this beautiful vista is if I walk into my home office, sit down at the Big Computer, and get on my web browser. Reference three posts ago as to why this happens, ohhhh…  basically never.

I’ve been stuck. Trapped in a neverending Pong game – alternating between habitually, obsessively checking my phone and neurotically making mental lists of appointments I need to remember.

Finally, FINALLY, today I took a time machine straight back to 2001, walked into an office supply store and bought a paper calendar and a bunch of colored felt-tip pens.







And a handy location that is at once close to the kitchen, in line of sight when you’re coming and going from the house (Yippees from me!) and also out of plain view from the rest of the house (Hoorays from Andy).

Yes, I still plan on using my phone for making appointments and sharing them with Andy. And any dyed-in-the-wool organizer will tell you this is a death sentence to a new method. Have one location for any given thing and rid yourself of redundancy. It takes up extra time and ultimately either one wins out or they both fall away in lieu of something new. Lots of boring and perhaps obvious reasons for this. Regardless, passing this wall calendar gives me peace. And I’ll take any little bit of that I can get these days.


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