My Three Millionaire Friends All Have This in Common

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There is an old saying that those of average means ought to take their rich friends to lunch. Having long heeded this wisdom, I’ve been privy to a great deal of sage advice from these wealth masters.

Admittedly, I was quite surprised to discover one thing in common between them – a factor they all indicated was pivotal in their quest for financial freedom.

That factor? They have all chosen to forgo the use of electronic calendars on their computers or mobile devices, in favor of paper calendars. Yes, you heard right. Harking back to the post-Internet days when desk calendar blotters and pocket planners were in vogue, these three digital Luddites have elected to turn back the clock, at least in terms of planning their daily schedules.

Now for some breaking news. I have made the decision to join them. Yep, I’m ordering my PassionPlanner today.

Back in the 90’s when I was a freshly minted entrepreneur in my Armani suits, hustling for business in Chicago, I carried around the infamous Franklin Planner, a creation of that iconic time management expert Stephen Covey. Back then, Franklin had these huge Apple-ish retail stores where enthusiasts could pick up everything from calendar filler pages to pricey leather-bound briefcases in which to house their scheduling systems. They offered seminars on how to effectively manage your personal and professional activities, replete with a simple yet effective system for assessing your A-B-C priority list.  For me, The Franklin – as it was affectionately known – was my go-to source for everything I needed to maximize my day-to-day productivity.

Fast forward to 2007 when smartphones first appeared on the scene en masse. It was at this point that all reasonably minded people began to question whether it made sense to migrate the calendar function over to our electronic devices. Given my proclivity for being an early adopter, I was among the first to make the jump. And frankly, I’ve regretted it ever since.

In many ways, this shift is akin to the debate that is currently brewing among book lovers; namely, whether to stick with traditional paper books or transition over to eReaders like the Kindle. Being the voracious reader that I am, I actually make use of both versions at about a 50/50 ratio. But I must admit that the purist in me has rekindled (no pun intended) a return to physical books.

There is a part of me that feels like I’ll be returning to the Stone Age by migrating back to paper calendars. Besides, I’m already feeling insecure about my 4S iPhone; you know, comments about it being out of date and too small. Yet, why mess with what still works? So detractors, begone!

Pride aside, I am nevertheless feeling a tinge of guilt for jumping ship and swimming back to the good old days of calendaring. So here are four brief justifications for my decision:

Accessibility: I hate having to poke away at my mobile device when scheduling my appointments, or even when I need to jot down a basic note (here’s how billionaire Richard Branson handles the latter). What I hate most is scheduling a meeting with someone in person or by phone, only to have them ask me to send them a calendar (reminder) invite. WHAT ABOUT WRITING IT DOWN, YOU DINGBAT? I’m not your damn secretary!

Accountability: It used to be that a meeting commitment was a matter of one’s word. You wrote down the day/time on your calendar and that was that. Nowadays, I have people who are no call/no show to meetings and then they have the audacity to blame it on their calendar not syncing. And in full disclosure, I am not without fault here because this has on occasion happened to me. The good news with paper is ‘ink does not need to sync.’

Big Picture: I am a big picture thinker. So having a full view calendar is invaluable to me. This is called Year At A Glance in the paper calendar universe.  I also like using colored sticky labels to mark my milestones (i.e. my favorite color blue for writing project victories). And the aesthetics of a calendar book help to fuel my creativity.

Conversation Starter: Unbelievably, a friend of mine still has a mobile phone with an antenna. Random people approach her to ask about it. And sometimes she gets laughed at. Nevertheless, she says that it’s a great conversation starter and that she’s even gained a client from it. As they say in the soccer world,  GOAAAAL!

So for all you paper calendar naysayers out there, bring it on!

Michael Scott is a Denver area journalist specializing in thought pieces on the new digital economy. Click this link to find out more about Michael’s work. 

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