I know that old habits die hard, but sometimes it’s worth the trouble to let the old be replaced by the new. The calendar app on your smartphone and tablet is one of these worthwhile temptations.

I’m familiar with that big, old, leather-bound calendar that you’ve used forever—the one where you buy the fresh pages every year to insert. Maybe all of your treasured addresses are in the same book.

I had one too. It was my bible, but I got so anxious about losing it that I would copy pages rather than take it with me on vacation.

Well, here’s the great benefit when using technology to keep track of your events, birthdays, and doctor appointments: The information won’t get lost, and you can carry it in your pocket or pocketbook.

When you enter contact information into your digital calendar—whether on your computer, tablet, or smartphone—all the events get synched across all your devices almost instantaneously. So, if you lose your phone (heaven forbid!), you can still access the calendar from your computer.

If using the app on your smartphone isn’t comfortable because of the phone’s small size, you can always access the calendar on your computer and do your inputting there with that nice, big keyboard.

May I suggest what I did to make the transition from paper to digital easier? Keep both the old-fashioned calendar, where you write in and scratch out what’s changed, and the new, digital one simultaneously until you get used to the new system and trust it.

For me, that was a couple of months, and then I let the old system take a permanent vacation.


A Calendar by Any Other Name Is Still a Calendar

Depending on your device and your preference, you can set up your calendar to work with Apple’s iCloud, Google Calendar, or Microsoft’s Outlook. Truth be told, most devices are much friendlier now, so any of those choices should work on almost all devices.

A good way to make the decision is to think about who is the most likely person to be helpful should you have questions about how to use the calendar. Ask them which calendar program they use, and you might want to consider using that one too.

A great perk about using a calendar and having it be the same program as someone you share your life with is that you can share a calendar with them too.

Do you ever wonder what’s on the grandkids’ schedule? Wonder no more. Ask to be included in the family calendar. Everything can be color coded so you can identify which dates are your events and which are theirs.


Other Handy Calendar Features …

Not only can you share calendars, but you can also send invitations from your calendar or respond to a calendar invitation in an email. Once you RSVP via the email, the event will automatically be entered into your calendar.

If an event is something that repeats, such as a birthday, you can instruct the calendar to repeat it every year indefinitely. Or if it’s something you’ll be doing for the next six weeks, on every Tuesday, you can customize that as well.

You can even set up alerts so you’ll receive a reminder, at whatever time you desire, before an appointment.

So, now’s the time for you to put it in your calendar that you’re going to start using a digital calendar soon!


Abby Stokes, author of “Is This Thing On?” A Friendly Guide to Everything Digital for Newbies, Technophobes, and the Kicking & Screaming and its companion website, AskAbbyStokes.com, is the Johnny Appleseed of Technology, singlehandedly helping more than 300,000 people cross the digital divide.

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