Saving the dates

A look back after a year of going solo with a calendar in the cloud. Making the final switch from paper was bittersweet.

Final reminder

The neon orange envelope declares – FINAL REMINDER. Renew today! Three devoted decades to the Day-Timer method and it comes to this. We will part ways with a simple ‘thanks for being a loyal Day-Timer customer’ form letter.

My romance with Day-Timer began early as a busy media executive. Equipped with a wire-bound, faux black leather week-at-a-glance pocket planner, I was ready for anything. Our relationship progressed. The pocket portfolio escalated from one page per day to two as time and records became more precious. Our engagement was textbook with thoughtful reminders how it is more important than ever to stay organized and in control.

A rich wine-colored genuine leather folio announced my arrival to management. I left it open so my team would know my schedule and include me in theirs. Within a few weeks, I was no longer in control and my boss took me aside with time management advice: “Sometimes you just need to block out an hour or two to buy a shirt.” No longer left unguarded, I started lugging the folio everywhere customized with narrow hot lists, full-year fold-outs, To Be Done short-trimmed sheets and what was to become my crutch: the telephone call back. Day-Timer and I were official. My planner rode shotgun next to the bolted-in car phone.

Our honeymoon over, the folio’s flaws started appearing. Stuffed to the brim with ‘must do’ documents, valuables spilled out in awkward moments. My solution was a cowboy-rugged Western coach distressed leather zipper model that could rope ‘em while looking casual. Like many young couples, we put on a few pounds. Our diet was one page per day, one quarter at a time plus NO more vinyl business cards holders or solar calculators. Alas, my other notable crutch – the yellow legal pad – fit snuggly inside the folio, so we continued pressing 5-6 pounds. My visits to the chiropractor start.

Next step: Reduce, refine and reorder a nifty, petite burgundy-weave Italian leather zippered desk number. My bloated folio was archived by storage set and replaced by a tasteful Euro-style that was sensibly compatible with black, brown or blue. I discover Nokia. Notes were cryptic with items recorded in pencil. I was seeing results and getting ready for the next phase. Marriage, motherhood and juggling childcare, fits and starts with a new business and a bigger home all suited my elegant Euro companion. We stayed together for many happy years. I wondered if the well-worn corners represented endurance, lack of direction or that I was too busy for details. It did not matter. We were all-in in this phase.

Nevertheless, a bigger challenge came and a sensible black zippered Armorhide desk planner took me into battle. My fold out year-at-a-glance was packed with school closings, appointments, sporting events, meetings and callbacks. My now ex and I scheduled times to schedule time. I never took a call without making a note. Post-its were miniature legal sheets to accommodate 6pt font. I was a portable, lean, fighting machine. There was no competition for my champion. While I sported both Mac and PC laptops, neither featured calendar software. It was a heady fax/phone/email world. Winds are shifting and my latest Nokia slips easily into my pocket. Armorhide secretly hoped Y2K’s impending doom would revive a fading career.

Transitioning to the publishing world, I felt sure Armorhide was the right choice for the 21st century but soon enough there was a new sheriff in town: Outlook. For the next decade I secretly two-timed noting each appointment, soccer game and conference by keyboard and pencil dutifully checking in mornings with reconciliation on Sunday. I ignored integration pleas while gleefully building thousands of records into proprietary software. I upgraded to the fine-grain Nappa leather Verona, semi-gloss black of course. Call back pages remained a staple as conversations and 24/7 dates blurred. Enter Blackberry 1, text 2, email 3 and the inauguration to paperless.

A surprise save brought out the hero in my Verona. Without double dipping, I would have faced a world without a schedule. My former employer closed the door and wiped Outlook clean. Gmail sounded more official than Yahoo so I dove in. My open email window had colorful folders, task lists, and labeling plus calendar software to boot. I import and export to get a working calendar on my phone. My dusty Verona silently watches wondering if call back records will be enough to keep us together. Verona’s pages are blank and anxious with curiosity: She has become so social. Who are these new fans, friends and followers? We welcome a family of iPhones Christmas 2010. I am a start-up entrepreneur now and technology is for the taking.

Dated materialYou know the rest of the story. We stay together through 2011, then renew once more for old times sake before going our separate ways. No events are scribed in 2012. I slip open the dated material enclosed appeal knowing it is for the last time. You offer Send No Money Now and Simply Check “YES” but we know: It is over. Order your dated pages today! says it all.

No regrets. It was a well-recorded run.