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Going analog in a techy world

The following post is from Lauren Rothlisberger of Get Me Geeky:

Last month I missed scheduled post here at Life Your Way. It somehow just never made it on the calendar.

It wasn’t the only thing to slip through the cracks, though.

Over the past few months I have both missed things and booked myself to be in two or even three places at once. I can’t stand being a flighty person that drops the ball or has to cancel last minute. I know that a life with four kids and a husband has to be very organized or everything starts to fall apart. Everybody makes mistakes, but this was becoming far too often.

I tried to figure out why it was that something I had done for years — keeping my calendar on my phone — was suddenly failing me. I am not sure why this started happening, but my best guess is homeschooling. This is my first year homeschooling and, for whatever reason, the way I interact on my computer and phone are different than the in the past. Truth be told, I have never really loved the digital calendar. It is hidden behind an app, so it is easy to not pull it up and look at what’s ahead. I also find it a bit annoying to add things to it, and — especially with the kids at home — found myself forgetting to put things on there more and more.

Clearly this wasn’t working for me, so I decided it was time to reassess the situation. It was time to go analog again. I needed a calendar/planner where I could write things down AND keep my weekly to-do notes. For most people, you have a higher chance of remembering something after it is written down.

I looked at many different calendars and planners, most of which have gotten really pricey. I finally settled on a simple Moleskin one that breaks the calendar down into weeks and has room for notes. I use the notes for my weekly to-do list. Current to-do lists for big projects I am working on go to that dedicated Moleskin notebook, while the calendar notes are for things like, “Call the doctor for Will, replace van battery, etc.” At the end of the week I am forced to look at what to-do list items remain and roll them over to the next week or, sometimes, just get rid of them all together.

For me, the process of seeing everything laid out on the physical calendar really helps. I didn’t consider this before, but it is also nice to have a calendar I can keep open in the kitchen. My husband can look at what the rest of the family is up to and add on his never-ending list of work events (that I am expected to attend).

I am by no means suggesting this is the right solution for everyone — or even that this solution will be right for me in two years — but for now it seems like a good step. It made me realize how often we may lock ourselves into using certain technology because we think we should. I’ve stopped using my iCal, but I still really like to use my Reminders app for certain appointments.

There are plenty of disadvantages to going analog. It is another thing to drag along with you. If I leave the house without my planner/calendar, I might forget to write something down in it later. (If I do this — and I have — I just cheat and write myself an email. Once I look at my email again at home I put it in my calendar. ) Analog calendars don’t have alarms.

Here is a quick list of other areas where you might want to consider analog:

Contact Book

You could go back to the days of a little black book, but it might not be worth it since all of your contacts conveniently become the phone numbers loaded into your phone. Now an address book (if that is different than a contact book for you), could maybe be kept on paper, but I prefer to keep my list of addresses in an excel spreadsheet. To me this makes sense because I can create and print labels every time I go to send out holiday cards. I do try and keep those addresses in my contact book as well so I always have access to them.

To Do Lists

As I mentioned before, I keep a general to do list with my calendar or with the big project it belongs to. I still use my Notes app to make lists of things centered around a certain upcoming event. For example, I have been slowly adding ideas to my kid’s Christmas list note for months.


The analog version of a reminder is a Post-It note, right? I guess so. These certainly can have their place in the world. Like “DON’T FORGET ID CARD” on a Post-It on the door to the car. Of course the advantage to our digital reminders is they can be set for certain times. Unfortunately I can be dealing with a toddler tantrum and that little reminder doesn’t make an impact at that moment.

Grocery Lists

I hate grocery lists. I have never found the perfect solution for this. I write notes on my phone and have used a grocery store app. But we also have a chalkboard on our fridge. This is the place we jot down notes of things we need as we run out. Especially my husband. Yes we can work off the same notes via the iCloud, but sometimes it is more trouble that it is worth. He writes the list, I snap a photo on my way out to the store.

Well, this isn’t a very techy post, is it? I have not gone anti-tech, but I am trying to be pro-simple. I’d encourage you to look at all options when something isn’t working. There is probably some hybrid between tech and old-fashion pen and paper that will be the magic spot for you!

Have any of you had an experience like mine?

Lauren Rothlisberger blogs and consults over at Get Me Geeky. As a military wife and mom of three girls five years old and under, she loves focusing on technology and productivity and finding new ways to simplify her life. She recently started putting together MacMinis, which are easy to follow videos for Mac users, and also wrote an ebook, Evernote for Moms.