Tag: calendars

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Teach Your Employees to Use a Planner


We live in an ever-growing digital world. While it’s true that our smartphones and countless apps can house almost everything we need on a daily basis, it doesn’t mean we should totally ditch paper—especially when it comes to productivity. The good old-fashioned paper planner remains the secret ingredient to many successful and efficient professionals.

Teach Your Employees to use a PlannerUnlike your smartphone where you jump from app to app, a planner houses everything you need between its jacket. Whether you use a planner to organize your personal or professional life, you’re sure to notice the benefits it provides. In fact, research has shown that the act of physically writing something down helps you better retain the information. Planners are also a great way to detach from the distracting ‘always-on’ atmosphere of living in a digital world while remaining productive.

Providing your staff with a planner is a fantastic way to usher in some Zen-like mindfulness without halting efficiency. In fact, a study in India showed that when employees spent a mere 15 minutes at the end of the workday logging their day—what went well, where issues cropped up, goals they may have for the next few days—they were more productive than employees who didn’t use a planner. Keep in mind that if you’re going to gift planners to your staff, make sure you also spend some time teaching how to use them. Initially, those unfamiliar with paper planners may become frustrated or feel like it’s an extra chore in their workday—not realizing the benefits they can ultimately provide when used correctly. Not sure where to start? Check out our helpful tips below!

How to Choose a Planner

When purchasing a planner for use company-wide, you want to choose one that is as flexible as possible to ensure it will be relevant across different divisions. Luckily, we offer an array of handsome planners that will fit any job requirements, from customer service to sales or HR. Still looking for a few ideas when choosing one that’s right for your company? Here are some things to consider:

Consideration #1: Portability

Castelli Weekly Tucson Custom Pocket Planner - HorizontalWhen investing in paper planners for your staff, we bet it’s important to you that they use them, instead of collecting dust in an office drawer. For this, we can’t stress enough that you choose one with the ease of portability—especially if some of your staff is often on-the-go. Even if your staff is in-office all day, they still likely need to attend and document meetings during the week. Make sure the planner isn’t left behind by purchasing one that’s small and convenient enough to carry around without feeling burdensome. You might even opt for one that fits in a pocket!

Consideration #2: Customization

Again, if you’re purchasing across departments, you need something that is flexible. The best way to do this is to choose an option with customizable features so that employees feel it’s relevant to their specific role and daily tasks. This will allow them to tailor the planner to their needs, increasing the likelihood that they’ll embrace it.

Consideration #3: Blank Spaces

Blank spaces in a planner create any opportunity for individuals to add what they want. We already mentioned the idea of having employees draft daily or weekly positives and negatives (a great way to reaffirm value, boost confidence, and provide opportunities for growth), which is perfect to do across blank pages. They’re also helpful for those that prefer sketching diagrams, charts, or designs.

Consideration #4: Inspirational Spaces

Life gets busy, which can sometimes be a drain on energy and productivity. Choosing a journal with interesting or inspirational quotes (or spaces for individuals to add them in) is a great way to provide daily affirmations and boost egos. Ultimately, we all want happy staff, and a daily inspirational quote can be a quick source of positivity.

How to Use a Planner Effectively

Without further ado, here are 5 tips on how to get the most out of planners in the workplace:

Tip #1: Use It Daily

Planners are the most beneficial when they’re part of your daily routine. Plus, the more you use them, the more helpful they become. Just like you might start your workday off with a cup of coffee, reviewing and updating your planner will help center your day. This reminds you of what’s coming up later in the week and helps fit everything in on a month-long view. They’re also a great way to re-focus and give yourself (and your eyes) a computer break.

Color Code Within Your Planner to Stay OrganizedTip #2: Organize by Color Coding

Color coding your planner is a great way to quickly capture and organize what is going on in an instant. For example, you might use blue to indicate meetings, green for deadlines, and red for personal appointments.

Tip #3: Look for Gaps

As noted previously, planners are great because they house everything you need to do or be reminded of in a single space. Another benefit is that you might find areas where you are over- or under-spending time and energy. Maybe you’ve got a calendar full of to-dos for everyone else, but nothing concerning time for yourself. Or, professionally, you’ve got a ton of meetings and reminders for one project but are accidentally ignoring another in the meantime. By looking for gaps or holes in your day, month, or plan, you’ll have the opportunity to gain better balance in your schedule.

Tip #4: Use the Notes Section

Organizing your calendar is a dream with a paper planner, but it’s equally useful to use the notes section too. This is a great place to reflect on how everything in your calendar is working out, and where there might be room for improvements. The note section can also be a great space to record quick and important observations to explore later.

Tip #5: Embrace the Non-digital

Your planner may not be able to give you 15-minute meeting reminders the way Outlook can, but they are great to combine with online organization tool. In the modern office, there can be very few opportunities to sit with paper to plan, organize, and reflect. Embrace the planner for not only that, but its lack of a glaring screen!

We hope these tips have given you some insight into how beneficial a paper planner can be for productivity, as well as how you might choose the best one for your staff—and be sure to share our tips with them once they’re in-hand!


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5 Reasons Paper Packs a Punch in a Decidedly Digital Age


There’s no question we’re elbow-deep in digital, with a swell that’s no doubt on the rise. For businesses and marketers, this seismic shift has changed the way we do everything, from engaging with new customers to communicating with clients to pulling folks deeper into our brand experiences. In short, it’s digital, digital, digital with a side of digital, and as brands and businesses, we’ve more or less fallen in line.

Until we didn’t. Or, at least, until we started to push back a little bit.

Then a little more.

Then a lot more. More on that in a minute.

Granted, we aren’t suggesting digital is dead (this is a blog, after all). But the more digital-saturated the landscape becomes, the harder it is to cut through the clutter and get the attention your business wants, needs and deserves. The solution? PAPER — as in the, direct mail, postcards, calendars and pamphlets that lost some footing to the more common, low-cost, emails, texts and in-app experiences dominating our daily use. Think about it: if everyone zigs and you zag, you’re going to get noticed. And, here, we’re all about the zag. Because, hands down, paper packs a punch. Here’s why…

Million emails flying out of the computer

#1. Too much is too much

Seventy-four trillion emails are sent annually — more than 5,000 times the number of direct mail pieces sent each year. This means that if you’re looking for new customers, or trying to build rapport with existing ones that have more potential, you just may not get through that way. There’s just too much digital communication swirling around, and that leads to decreased attention, engagement and overall action — see point #2…

#2. They care more when it’s in print…

Because they’re getting so many emails, your customers don’t care as much when a new note hits their inbox. The average lifespan on an email is about two seconds, versus 17 days for a mail piece. The end result? Three in four recall seeing a direct mail piece, and four in five say they act on it immediately. This, together, drives an average 4.4% response rate, compared to 0.12% for email.

The big question, then: why the enhanced performance of paper over digital? Some point to the warm and fuzzies mail delivers that email, simply, can’t, while others attribute these clear-cut lifts to the enhanced targeting opportunities. Regardless of the drivers, these boosts can’t be denied, and that’s forcing more and more brands and marketers to shift their mindset and their dollars and get back to print.

Our Best Seller Daily Date Calendar#3. There’s a real use case

Sure, there might be a promo code or other high-value offer tucked away in one of the 161 emails you sent and received today. Like we mentioned before though, unless you already have an established relationship with the recipeint of those emails, you probably won’t spot it.

Not so with print. Open a promotional calendar or planner and — BAM! You know exactly what it is, exactly what to do with it and, instantly, can see the massive value it represents. And, if it’s branded by a company or individual, then you can’t help but immediately make a positive connection. It’s a win/win/win — you get something useful without working hard, while solidifying a personal or business connection. Check, check, check.

#4. It’s always there

Let’s stick with our paper calendar example for a minute. Your business sends a custom calendar, your customers and prospects receive it and a connection is made. But it doesn’t end there. Unlike an email that’s easy to delete (on purpose or by accident), that calendar is getting hung up on a bulletin board, stuck to a fridge or displayed desk-side — in other words, it’s there, in plain sight, getting noticed daily. No doubt that constant attention drives added consideration — 70% of promotional calendar recipients say they plan to do business with the company that sent the piece.

And that email? More like, “what email?” An errant swipe sent that thing straight to the trash can. Even if your client wanted it, who has time to wade through tens of thousands of emails, or spend half the day guessing at a keyword or subject line in an effort to unearth it?

#5. People still love PAPER

Arguably the best benefit? People just love paper and, overwhelmingly, prefer the experience to going 100% digital. Appointment book, planner and decorative calendar sales continue to increase year-over-year, driven heavily by personalization opportunities. And driving that personalization? Businesses like YOURS. “A bright spot in the industry,” writes The New York Times, “remains promotional calendars, like those distributed by real estate agents, medical professionals, car repair shops and other businesses,” which have increased or stayed consistent in recent years.

And it’s not just calendars and planners. A recent Pew survey found most people still prefer reading and taking notes on paper. Eighty-two percent of calendar recipients say they like receiving them and many report making better decisions when they write activities down. With less distractions compared to digital calendars and platforms, it’s easier to stay focused, prioritized and achieve goals — really, what more could you or your customers ask for?

Nothing. Exactly.

Putting it together…On paper

The takeaway? Whether it’s a promotional calendar or planner or some other high-value printed piece, your customers 1) want it 2) get more use out of it, and 3) will notice it. We can’t say the same about email, text and the endless stream of digital pings businesses are sending into the universe daily. Ultimately, the choice is yours.

Now excuse us — we’re off to pencil in that next direct mail campaign and can’t wait to work with you on your next project! In the meantime, browse our calendar selection to get some ideas of where to start.


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The Silver Project: Custom Calendars for a Cause


In February 2009, ePromos employee Stacey Lewis lost her father to Leukemia after bone marrow transplant complications. In the wake of her loss, Stacey made a promise to honor her father’s life and legacy by giving back. To keep her promise she co-founded The Silver Project, a program designed to raise donations for the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation.

Since Stacey works with promotional products for a living, she knew that selling branded items to raise donations would be an effective fundraising strategy. She decided to use a calendar filled with inspirational photography taken by her friend Stephanie Markell, images that captured the essence of the project’s mission: Motivate. Inspire. Remind. Give back.

Two weeks after the idea was hatched, The Silver Project had already sold over 1,000 calendars and raised more than $25,000 for the Gift of Life. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the calendar cleared 350 bone marrow donor kits off the waitlist, and one of the sponsored kits lead to a life-saving match for a patient in need.

This year, Stacey and her partners at The Silver Project hope to eclipse the outstanding results of their innaugural year and save even more lives. Custom calendars are currently on sale for $25 each, and make fantastic and charitable holiday gifts for your friends, family members, or clients. ALL of the net proceeds will benefit the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, and the charitable portion of your purchase is 100% tax deductible.

Please help Stacey and The Silver Project meet their goals for an incredible cause! They are off to a great start, but still have some calendars left to sell.

You can make a purchase and a difference in people’s lives HERE.

If you’d like to learn more about The Silver Project, you can friend them on Facebook.