Even the most organized person can feel scattered when everyone in the family has so much going on – school events, field trips, and recesses, doctor appointments, birthdays, ballet class, hair appointments, and sleepovers – it’s endless.
When my oldest daughter reached middle school, events changed daily, sometimes by the hour. Then the phone would ring, “Mom, can you pick me up? I’m staying after school for Latin Club.” I cringe – I know what’s coming next – “I thought I told you.”
“No, I can’t leave work until five. I’ll try to see if someone can pick you up. If not, you’ll have to take the bus.” And then I wait for the dreaded “Oh, no, I’ll be on the late bus for an hour and a half.”
Counting on everyone to write their activities and appointments on the kitchen calendar just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Knowing what appointments are scheduled on my work calendar when I’m at the doctor’s office making another appointment can be almost impossible. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a built-in alarm letting me know it’s time to pick up the kids?
But wait! There is that little gadget that no student seems to be without these days – the smart phone. And conveniently designed into that modern body appendage is a calendar that can connect to an internet account – in my family’s case, to our Gmail accounts. Most smart phones can also connect to other calendars such as iCal or those on exchange servers.
Oh, what fun I had setting up various calendars – really, it was great!
I could give access to anyone I wanted. I could determine how much information they could see and whether they could modify the events. My husband and kids can read and write to the calendars for School, Birthdays, Summer Camp, Vacation, and other Events. They can read, but not write to others. And we each have our own calendars that no one else has access to.
Here’s a screen shot of what a typical calendar in our house could look like. Things flow so much more smoothly without those “Mom, I need a ride” calls!
Each calendar is color coded, making it easy to see similar events or those regularly scheduled. The online calendar provides an easy way to see what my day ahead looks like and determine who’s available to transport the kids. Recurring events can be easily scheduled and modified whether they occur daily, weekly, monthly, or otherwise. Invites to one-time events can be sent to anyone via email. Reminders can be set letting you know of the event in advance through pop ups on your computer or phone or by email. A tasks list calendar is also available to check off items once completed.
Online calendars, especially Gmail, are easy to set up, free and they automatically sync with your phone and computer. Many businesses, theaters and instructors offer iCal calendars that can be imported or synced with your own. iCals are accessible for phases of the moon, holidays for most countries, nationalities, and religions, sports teams events, television shows, and even Anime character birthdays!
Imagine having everyone’s birthdays and anniversaries easily accessible and getting notified a week in advance to send a card! Or eliminating unnecessary phone calls and texts to find out if your family member is going to be late. No more writing notes to yourself with your next hair appointment, only to find it a day after you missed it!
The best part is eliminating those really expensive daily planners and the associated paper that goes into the waste stream. You know – the ones you write everything into and have to erase and rewrite to another page if the event changes? Or rewriting birthdays and anniversaries to a new planner each year? Those.
Mary Anne “Mimi” Corwin is a professional organizer and productivity specialist with a B.A. in Business Management from New York Institute of Technology. She has organized many private events, reunions, public conferences and banquets, training workshops, and fundraising auctions. She specializes in document and digital data management, database development, and designing processes to keep tasks on track. She and her husband Todd live in Flanders and have two children, Brianne and Kiersten. Mimi can be reached at AProAtOrganizing.com.