Paper versus Electronic Calendars - What's your preference?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Santa Fe 40056

I'm sitting here on January 1, nursing a very tiny hangover from some really nice bottles of Silver Oak that I shared with friends last night, thinking about 2017. Dreaming really, once again, of having a year that's supremely well-organized, in which I follow up diligently with every new potential client and all of the old ones, in which I plan ahead for meetings rather than in the two hours right before. That sort of thing. 

Just like last year, I'm trying to figure out what system of calendaring and planning works best for me. And I'm curious. What do you love about the system you use? What do you dislike most?

I seem to have settled on a nice combination of a hard calendar that I carry with me and my Google calendar that syncs from my computer to my Android and vice versa. This morning, going through my old Planner Pad and looking at my handwritten notes and client names and jots from quick phone calls, I find great comfort in having hard copy and pages I can flip through. I'm transferring names into my 2017 Planner Pad, making my list and checking it twice, creating a set of follow ups and new actions for the coming week and month.

Once I've completed the January lists, I'll transfer the info into my Google calendar, taking 10 follow up names per day and plugging them into a one hour slot each day. I'll then time block my lead generation in two hour increments and my personal goal activities into 20 minutes manageable pieces.

All I have to do after that is actually follow my calendar! And have the Planner Pad handy for note-taking. If only it were that easy in real life.

I do love the Planner Pad concept. I stumbled onto this system in 2015 when I was looking for a better way to "organize, prioritize and schedule" my activities (that phrase is taken from their website). They also have an electronic version, but I found it less helpful than the Google calendar.

In 2016, my Planner Pad proved invaluable. Besides my full-time real estate career, I serve as an advocate and board member for several local organizations and on the ALC for my market center, so my days are full of varied activities. I'm not saying I wasn't harried half of the time. My Planner Pad just kept the harried-ness to more of a minimum than prior years.

So, I guess most of this post is meant to be reflective and inquisitive. What's your system? What works best for you? I'd love to hear your success stories.

Posted by

Bunny Terry

Keller Williams Santa Fe

130 Lincoln Avenue, Suite K

Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501



Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Christina Sanchez Hood 01/01/2017 11:20 PM
Real Estate Best Practices

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Vickie Teel
Allison James Estates & Homes - Punta Gorda, FL
It's all about YOU!

Congrats on the feature Bunny! I use both. Paper planner for and notes and Google calendar to give myself reminders or alarms for upcoming appointments.

Jan 01, 2017 09:59 PM #20
Christina Sanchez Hood
Palo Alto, CA
#SiliconValleyHOODS | Inspired Living

A question for the ages... well the recent 'ages' since the iPhone was introduced.  While I love tech, I find that I think better with pen and paper.  I use a similar system and will continue to follow these comments to learn more effective ways to increase the roí of our workflows.

Wishing you a prosperous and well=planned New Year

Jan 01, 2017 11:22 PM #21
Sham Reddy
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH

Despite all the technology and smart phones I still prefer paper that I can touch and see without turning on the phone or computer

Jan 02, 2017 04:42 AM #22
Shirley Coomer
Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living - Phoenix, AZ
Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az

Congratulations on your featured article.  Thank-you for the link to check out the planner pad concept.  I try to use my google calendar, however during the day making notes on paper is great.

Jan 02, 2017 04:56 AM #23
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

One day, there will be only one choice i.e. electronic. The trees get a break!

Jan 02, 2017 06:20 AM #24
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Good morning Bunny Terry, welcome to ActiveRain! I prefer to have a hard copy, though I use Google calendar, I'm not consistent with it but handwritten one works fine for me.

Jan 02, 2017 06:42 AM #25
Frank Rubi
Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC - Metairie, LA

Bunny Terry, I started using Google Calendar a few years back. I can place everything and have access to my calendar on all devices. 

Jan 02, 2017 07:22 AM #26
Jeanne Gregory
RE/MAX Southwest - Sugar Land, TX
The most important home I sell is YOURS!

Honestly I knew I couldn't go fully electronic when I found post it notes on my phone and IPad.  My goal this year is to get better with the electronic calendar, but honestly, there is something about writing stuff down.  The paper calendar is also good for jotting stuff down when you're on the phone or in the car and just need to have something to write on.  And, notes and all, it's an easy "look back" as to what happened when.

Jan 02, 2017 07:43 AM #27
Jim Smith
The Property Management Company - Round Rock, TX

We utilize MS Office, which includes Outlook.  Each person has their personal calendar, as well as our company calendar for syncing across the board through our cloud exchange server.  These are also synced with each person's personal device(s), regardless of how many (mine: desktop, laptop, phone, and ipad).  The only use for a paper calendar is a scenic one on the wall so as to look at a glace the days and dates hanging just below the beach-of-the-month.

Jan 02, 2017 09:14 AM #28
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Would you believe I do both? Yep....terrible, but I keep a calendar on my desk and one online. Ugh

Jan 02, 2017 09:19 AM #29
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Your post goes perfectly hand-in-hand with the post I offered today, Bunny Terry ... as mine was about Paper/Paperless billing.  Do we remain with the tried and true ... or extend ourselves into modern technology?  Great food for thought ... thank you!


Jan 02, 2017 11:04 AM #30
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
AZuRE Team - Realty ONE Group - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

Hi Bunny. What the heck is a paper calendar? Oh wait, I remember seeing this in the 1970's... ya, that's it, 1971, I think . Old habits die hard I guess. I've been electronic calendaring since the first palm units came out in the 80's. 

Jan 02, 2017 02:37 PM #31
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Online all the way! I used paper for decades, but have found the google calendar to be just what I need!

Jan 02, 2017 04:38 PM #32
Nathan Gesner
American West Realty & Management - Cody, WY
Broker / Property Manager

I've been using electronic calendards since 1999 when I bought my first personal digital assistant (PDA). If you don't know what they are, think of a smart phone without the phone or internet capabilities. Anyway, I have been using the Google calendar for a decade and there's no going back!

Jan 02, 2017 05:05 PM #33
Fred Griffin
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

 I was online for years.  Last year, I went back to "Daytimer" printed calendars/planner pages in a binder.  I prefer it.

Jan 02, 2017 07:24 PM #34
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

I agree with your idea of a planner. I carry a Franklin Covey planner and have since 1995, but I also have a CRM for database management and occasionally use my phone.   Also like you, I am an instructor, head up a committee with USGBC, and Advisory Board member so paper is king.  Unfortunately, I wish I were all on one system but so far not happening.  The day my Blackberry went dark laying on my desk scared me away from that strategy!

Jan 02, 2017 09:34 PM #35
Amy Kramer
Reilly Realtors - Austin, TX
Realtor serving Austin and surrounding communities

Bunny Terry your post captures my feelings about trying to get the most efficient and effective planning tools at the ready.  I feel like it is a constant battle...and battle because it is never optimized in my world.  I try to do it all on-line (paperless) I Cal across all devices and google keep for to-dos.  But inherantly i end up with a notebook full of notes. I'm going to look at your planner pads link. Thanks!

Jan 03, 2017 07:36 AM #36
Mike Bjork
American Pacific Mortgage - Redondo Beach, CA

I've tried using electronic calendars, but I can never seem to get it to link across my CRM, iPhone, etc..., nor provide the organizing that I wanted done.  Typically, I have a planner on my desk that I use for my appointments.  Otherwise, I write a lot of To Dos on my sticky notes or notepad ;)  Not the best way, but it helps me to organize my daily activities.

Jan 03, 2017 09:59 AM #37
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Nice to meet you Bunny. I look forward to reading more of your posts. We have a 3 month calendar that we have posted at work, plus a daily to do list. We both like the satisfaction of seeing our tasks checked off at the end of the day, plus we save them and they are great references.  (Debb) 

Jan 03, 2017 04:17 PM #38
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

I am trying and have been for years now but I just can't seem to get into the habit of using my phone calendar. I'm so old school when it comes to keeping my schedule. I would be lost without my good old fashioned paper calendar!

Jan 04, 2017 12:55 PM #39
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