When I first started working, one of my indispensable tools was my Day-timer, a 5×7 binder that was filled with calendar pages, spaces for notes, and host of reference charts. I switched from the Day-timer standard to a similar system by Franklin Covey, but both involved quarterly refills, a special hole punch and a plethora supplemental forms to allegedly make me more effective in my time management.

Eventually, the sheer bulk of these products caused many to give way to other methods of calendaring and note taking, and, of course, electronic tools and apps replaced even most paper systems. Binder systems seem to have gone the way of the fax machine; they’re still around, but not as essential as they once were.

So I was surprised when I saw a binder-based calendar system on sale at Target. Then I saw a whole display at Michaels. And then again at Staples. Apparently binders are coming back!

In addition to their functionality, the systems are being marketed as the mecca of choice. You can pick your binder color. Add a special tassel or charm. Decide on your preference for inserts. Embellish with special stickers or even color your own cover. Purchase a matching pen and a special holder to carry it. And on it goes. As I wrote about yesterday, this seems to be the era of personalization, and companies got the idea that people can spend a lot more on customizing their paper/binder products than they can on an electronic app. 

Pay attention to see if binders make their way into your office or classroom and ask yourself what implications this has. What can you put in binder format that you currently only offer via an app? It may be worth it to take a page out of an old-time playbook and insert yourself into this emerging trend.

— beth triplett

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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