Are the days of paper calendars numbered?

Just as e-readers and tablets have muscled printed books and magazines into smaller market shares, so smart phones and tablets with calendar apps have drawn many users away from the printed calendar, it seems. These devices all come with calendars, notes, and scheduling capabilities complete with alarms. The schedules can be backed up to cloud servers and data can be retrieved anywhere you can get a signal. Switching from paper is a no-brainer, right?

And yet … printed calendars are still here. Yes, perhaps it is true that dinosaurs walk among us. But – perhaps – there is more to it than that.

Studies have proven that students who take handwritten notes in class retain more information than those who type or record lectures, and that same neural connection is true when writing appointments by hand. If you want to improve your odds of remembering the appointment, write it down. Speaking of writing, journal-style calendars also have spaces to doodle and take notes. This simple organic action may be a big reason why many people keep their old calendars as journals and diaries. What paper calendars lack in technology is made up for in personality.

Wall calendars, for example, have got personality galore with colorful photos and themes celebrating everything from favorite teams (and their cheerleaders) to hobbies, fine art and motivational messages. With digital printing it is even possible to personalize the images for each month with family, pets or vacation photos.

A wall calendar is also perfect for families with busy schedules. Not only can kids see their events, a paper calendar reduces the risk of little fingers accidentally sending the parent’s schedule out to everyone in the phone contact list. Score one for privacy.

Another benefit of wall calendars is their ease of use. It is possible to look up and see the entire month at a glance without logging in and going through several clicks and swipes to get to the info. It is such an intuitive, natural action that the simplicity of it is often overlooked. A final thought on the tactile nature of print calendars is this, turning the page to the next month gives a sense of rhythm and passage of time that is lost with constant “swipes” back and forth.

So as we prepare for our busy schedules in 2015 we ask “electronic or paper?” We think there’s a place for both in our future.