Like to-do lists, calendars help provide the illusion of organization and control over tasks and commitments. But not just any calendar will do. At least it's my theory that if you don't care about the style and layout of the calendaring software or calendar format you use to track events, you probably don't need a calendar at all. Maybe it's a matter of taste or aesthetics, maybe it's a touch of OCD. But if you're a calendar sort of person, you have some decent options heading into the new year.
Word has always been deficient in offering useful built-in calendar templates — heavy on ugly design elements and light on functionality. So I built this little bare-bones template that automatically inserts the dates for you depending on the number of days you specify. There's room to jot down tasks, activities, or milestones for some temporary assignment or short-term project — situations where you don't want to plod through a wizard, choosing between art deco and Danish modern design elements before Word spits out a quasi-usable calendar. This one is plain but practical. (You can stick a little clipart in there, if you feel the urge. Snowflake for January, whatever.)
You also have plenty of slicker choices, courtesy of Microsoft Office Online. These are fully assembled calendar templates for various applications and purposes. NINETY-SIX of them altogether, for 2009. Plus 54 templates for the 2008-2009 academic year. There are calendars in Visio, Excel, Publisher, OneNote, and Word format, along with a few predictably ugly PowerPoint templates. Calendars by the month, year, and multiyear. Portrait, landscape, five days, seven. Lunar calendars for different time zones, photo calendars, postcard calendars, Julian calendars. And if you look hard enough, you'll even spot a basic 12-month calendar for Word 2003 and later without a single scrap of art deco design nonsense on it. If your taste runs that way.
Jody Gilbert has been writing and editing technical articles for the past 25 years. She was part of the team that launched TechRepublic and is now senior editor for Tech Pro Research.