When I was a kid I took great care in choosing my wall calendar for the year. It pretty much always ended up being one with puppies or kittens in the pictures. As I got older I favored sunsets, castles, and lighthouses. Then I would go through and write down my sibling’s birthdays (which I had memorized anyway) and write a big heart on my own birthday.
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I don’t know why this was such a big deal because I didn’t actually use my calendar for anything else. My mom used one of those giant desk calendars to plan everything for us five kids so I always checked her calendar for my plans.
It would hit the fifth of the month and I would realize I could flip my calendar. Then I would carefully cross off the days and forget about it and repeat the cycle the next month.
Now I’m an adult with an unpredictable work schedule that requires me to have at least a month’s notice for all of my plans. So I had to figure out how to use a calendar quick, and the one on my cell phone really wasn’t doing it for me.
1. Get Your Calendar Off the Wall
If at all possible you should take that wall calendar off the wall. It sounds silly but we aren’t meant to write vertically. You get halfway through your note and your pen will stop working. So see if you can find a flat surface for your calendar. This does defeat the purpose of having a calendar with a cute picture on it. Cut off that page (it will be from last month anyway) and pin it to the wall. Problem solved.
2. Put Your Calendar Where You’ll See It Every Day
This seems like a given but how many times have you put a calendar up in your bedroom or living room and then never look at it. Put it near where you dump your mail and keys. This way you will look at it when you leave, or put it near where you pay all of your bills such as by your computer.
3. Use a Dry Erase Wall Calendar
If you absolutely have to have your calendar on the wall then I suggest a one that is dry erase. They are usually magnetic and sometimes have corkboards on them. This way if you get paper invitations you can pin it to your calendar so you won’t lose it.
4. Get a Second Calendar
I have two dry erase calendars right next to each other. This allows me to have the current month on one and next month on the other. This has seriously changed my life. It makes planning more than a month in advance so much easier (which is important due to my work schedule).
5. Color Code Your Calendar
This works whether you’re working on paper or dry erase. You can use color coding to separate your own events (work, fun stuff, appointments) or keep your stuff separate from your spouse or roommate. I find it’s really helpful to be able see my schedule and my husband’s schedule in the same place. If he wants to go out with the guys he can just put it on the calendar and I’ll know that I don’t have to make him dinner. Or if I’m taking a trip to visit my mom he knows he’s on his own for food. (Our lives really just revolve around food.)
6. Mark All Recurring Events Right Away
Write down all of your recurring events right away. I like to put a little star on every payday. I get paid every other week so it’s helpful to know which weeks are the ones I get paid. My husband and I also mark down all of our joint expenses such as rent, electric, cable, and cell phone. We pay our individual bills (such as car insurance and student loan payments) separately. I keep track of all of my monetary expenses through calendar budget.
7. Take a Picture of Your Calendar
Every time you write your new work schedule up take a picture of your calendar. Yeah you could import all of your events into your calendar on your phone but that’s such a hassle. This way you can have all of your events right at your fingertips. I should probably do this more but most of my plans are made when I’m at home and can easily look at my calendar.
8. Magnets and Stickers
Have fun with your wall calendar. Depending on your system you should definitely integrate magnets or stickers. You can even make your own personalized magnets to help you with meal planning or bills. This will keep it fun and you’ll want to keep using your calendar on a regular basis.
I hope these tips will help you improve your wall calendar system. I’m still fine tuning but I’m a long way from where I came from.