You’d think being a project manager in my current job would mean I have a perfect home organisation calendar system in place. Prior to having N, I only needed a paper diary and a wall calendar, and I never missed anything…birthday, anniversaries, events etc. But since having him, I find I need more than one thing to keep on top of things.
Even so, I still forget birthdays. Mostly because I remember a couple of days before, mean to write a card and post, then when it gets to being at home where the cards and presents are, by which time I’ve forgotten. My rule is, if it’s not written down, I won’t remember. And if it’s not written on a scrap of paper with my to do’s, it’ll still probably get forgotten.
But I do have a system to help my poor memory. With work, school, the OH’s shoot dates, nights out, dancing, and blogging, there’s an awful lot of juggling to do and organise. It does mean I use multiple calendars for different things because I like to see them in different places, but also have them visible in case the OH ever decides to write on what he’s doing or for when N’s old enough to read my writing and interact with the calendar himself.
Our multiple family calendar system
1, Phone calendar. I use this to note appointments while on the go. This syncs to my tablet – I’m not sure how because I don’t remember setting it up, but my tablet has events popping up. As and when school events and reminders get sent to parents, I add these on the phone.
2, Phone notepad – to do items or wider details about events get added to my notepad in date order. I also use this for jotting down ideas for blog posts and if I add them as a tick list, I can move them about according to a changing schedule.
3, Family calendar on a month view – this is on the back of the kitchen door and I can see at a glance what’s happening. This is the calendar that the OH will write on occasionally, and each year I copy annual events on from the previous year’s. Last year I had one split into him, her, kids, other, but this year it’s just a straight calendar.
4, Wipe clean board with a week view – I tried to pretty it up with Sharpies, but even they rub off, but this is my view and reminder of what is going on for each of us each week. Some tasks are the same each week, but it’s handy to have it and be able to alter as and when needed. I split it for the OH, N and me, with an Other for family things or birthdays. Much of it’s to remind me of things that need to be taken into school on that day.
I also have my work Outlook calendar. I used to have a filofax that I’d use for work and personal things, but I don’t like to carry one all the time so my phone works better. And I don’t have a smartphone for work, just an ancient Nokia, so it doesn’t get synced. It is a bit of a pain because if someone wants to organise a lunch or I’ve sold something and someone wants to pick up on a work day, I have to be in work to check when I’m free. But mostly it works fine. I do include personal things on my work calendar though – it means I get reminders which I find helpful on the computer, but annoying on my phone!
While I do end up duplicating calendars, I do find that there’s less chance of forgetting something. The act of repeatedly writing it helps things sink into my brain, and if I’ve not written it in one place, it means I’ll have it somewhere else as back up.
Finding a calendar system that works for you
1, Mobile vs home based
Do you need to have your calendar with you all the time? Do you want to sync calendars with others in the family? If you’ve got smartphones (especially if on the same operating system), then it’s easy to do, and makes sense when you’ve got lots going on in the family and need to know when out and about what the OH is doing.
It’s usually handy to have a family calendar at home that can be relied on for reference instead of always walking around with your phone. It also gives children the opportunity to prepare their own items needed in advance of events on the calendar, for instance getting their own PE kit or book bag ready for the next day.
2, Week or month view
A month view is essential to see in advance what’s going on with upcoming birthdays and other events, but having a weekly view allows more visibility of detail.
3,Wipe off or not
Wipe clean systems are great for being able to change things without scribbling like mad, but it’s hard to not rub details off by accident. In our house, N’s started taking down the board from the worktop and using it for his play things, so I’m trying to get him to stop doing that. I’m getting a bit sick of trying to rewrite things all the time.
4, Work and home
Do you want to combine work and home calendars? Personally I want to leave work at work, but on occasions it’s useful to know what’s coming up without being in the office. Digital calendars can be synced, whether they’re on your phone system or you use a web-based calendar
5, Ownership of the main family calendar
Do you want to have everyone write on their own events, or does one person want to take ownership and have people mention it to them first? And who has final say on who wins when there’s a clash? First on the calendar gets to do their event, or to be discussed as a family?
If you’re still not sure, why not check out some of these amazing calendar ideas.
What calendar system do you use in your family? Do you find it works or do you still miss things?
Why not take a look at these similar posts.