In Defense of the Good Old Fashioned Calendar

Break out of your digital calendar slump.

2023 Calendar Planner
Photo: Getty Images

I'm usually a pen-and-paper kind of gal. I have a million planners and journals filled with scribbled notes I quickly lose. But lately, I cannot seem to separate myself from my Google calendar. That little app holds my whole world—social engagements, client meetings, doctor appointments, you name it.

With all this planning, it's easy to get bogged down by the weight of obligations. So, I bought a monthly calendar to remind myself of the fun things coming up on my schedule, and now I'm convinced you should too.

Growing up, our family calendar hung in the kitchen. It kept everyone updated with soccer practices, band concerts, and all of the other important moments of our childhood. If we collected all of the calendars from our youth, we would have many scrapbooks worth of memories.

People love calendars and always have. The concept dates back (no pun intended) to the beginning of time with ancient versions from Mesopotamia. Calendars show us our daily rhythms and remind us of our time in history. It can ground us into the present while also giving us the perspective of our past and future.

A 2020 study from North Carolina State University found that you're more equipped to handle daily stress without falling into negative moods if you can balance living in the moment alongside planning for the future. Why? Because it brings together the benefits of mindfulness and proactive planning.

In a small way, sitting down at the start of the month to write down plans is a form of mindfulness. I think about the concerts and events I've counted down, the dinner plans I've made with friends, and the birthdays I can't wait to celebrate. Plus, I can use the visual to find where I need to plug in self-care days when I'm at risk of overcrowding my precious boxes.

Anticipating positive moments is associated with a sense of well-being and mental health benefits, according to Psychology Today—basically, it gives us hope. Personally, it's easier to muscle through the tough days when I can marvel at all I have to be grateful for—and the extra shot of dopamine doesn't hurt.

Life is short, so instead of filling this beautiful grid of dates with the adult responsibilities I'm way too familiar with, I choose to highlight what I can look forward to instead—just for me. Plus, calendars are darn cute to look at—and who doesn't love functional decor?

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