Calendar Control: How To Manage Multiple Schedules With Ease
When you schedule an appointment, do you save it in your phone, e-mail yourself a reminder, or scratch a note on paper so you can enter it into your into electronic calendar later on? If you’re overseeing schedules for your entire family, your challenge of calendar juggling is multiplied. You definitely need a system.
With a system in place, you’ll not only be less likely to forget appointments, you’ll be able to see how everyone’s schedule measures up, so you can be efficient in dealing with your agenda and theirs. Using a central calendar for the whole family lets everyone know what’s going on at any given time, and makes “finding time” as a family that much easier. An effective calendar system will show you just how much time you’ve been wasting worrying about what you may have missed.
WHERE TO START
There are plenty of online tools available to help manage your family’s hyperactive schedules, but we’re not going to rehash the best new app reviews for you. If you’re not a tech-friendly person to begin with, hi-tech solutions are probably not going to be the answer for you. From working with such a wide variety of clients, I know for sure that the best system for organizing is the system that you will keep using.
PAPER VS. PLASTIC: IT’S A PERSONAL CHOICE
Choosing between computer programs and a good old wall-mounted calendar is a personal choice, and there are benefits to both. If you currently manage your family schedule online, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Online solutions can combine your calendar functions with grocery and to do lists, photo sharing and social connections, but you need to find out what works for you, so you can make it work for your family, too.
If your kids are very young, an old-school wall calendar is going to work better than an online system that requires each family member to have a tablet or computer to access it. Even older kids with devices of their own may not be relied on to edit or check an online app for important updates. Real time updates are important, but for a functional family calendar, consistency is key. A wall-mounted calendar encourages regular engagement by everyone.
To start a new wall-mounted calendar system, there are a few things to consider:
- Find a location, like the kitchen, to display your family’s new activity board where it will not be easily overlooked and where you can all view it together.
- Choose a large format calendar with plenty of room for notes. If you don’t find what you like at your local office supply store, print a template from the Internet, or design it yourself so it will perfectly suit your needs.
- Consider what you’ll want to include in your calendar, like school & event schedules, responsibilities such as who is on pick up duty, and relevant addresses or invitations. In addition to play dates, sport schedules and travel details, you can include chore assignments and other household responsibilities, if that works for you.
- Assign a color to each family member and collect coordinating markers and pencils near the calendar for that person’s dedicated use. The colors will keep activities organized and notes decipherable on a busy calendar, and color-coded Post-it notes make it easy for everyone to contribute without letting the calendar become an indecipherable mess.
- Fill in dates from all your other calendars. Start with recurring items, like tutors, ballet classes and birthdays. Make note of how overbooked each family member is, and where you might scale back, if necessary.
Make a point to peruse the calendar daily and discuss upcoming scheduling challenges during meals, when hopefully you’re sharing some tech-free time with your family. Get into the habit of checking your calendar regularly to cut down on conflicts and make managing your time much less stressful. If you schedule a lot of appointments over the phone, try to be on a cordless phone so you can do this while standing at the family calendar.
I’d love to hear how you tackle the task of managing your family’s jam-packed schedule? Do you prefer an online solution to the big board we’ve described here? Did you try it and it did not work? Share your ideas for getting you calendar organized in the comments below.