It’s hard enough to manage your own time. What about managing multiple schedules?
Do you manage more than one person? Do you manage a family? How about work? How do you communicate your schedule of events to each other? Does dad know when soccer practice is? What time does that birthday party start? When is vacation? Are you responsible for communicating a schedule with work staff? Your mom? A nanny or baby sitter? Woo! That’s a lot.
Options for a Young Family
If you have young family members (pre-smart phone kids) make it simple and paper based. Have a central message board for your family where they can post their reminders of upcoming events, schedules and notes. Ask everyone to post any information on upcoming or current activities. Getting your kids involved will teach them time management, but it will also give you a central place that everyone can refer. Make you message board accessible. Place it in the kitchen or near your home’s exit door.
If you want to work with paper, try something like this desk blotter (remember those? they still exist) from Staples, but you can pick one up at just about any office supplies or big box store. I like them because they offer enough space to write multiple activities in one day. To be more creative assign each family member a different color pen. It will help little one spot their activities.
Another option (for a little more money) you could go with a laminated desk calendar. Again this one is from Staples, but they can be purchased everywhere. What makes this different is that you can schedule into the future. I used to use one of these and found it helpful to wipe off the first two weeks of the month and start the next months planning before the end of each month. It’s like seeing into the future a little bit – Super Powers!
The best thing that you’ll get from using a system like this is family participation and awareness. The worst thing is that you can’t carry it with you. So consider this when thinking about a family calendar.
Options for a Smart Phone Family
If your entire family has a smart phone, consider going electronic. Google user? Mac family? Then simple solutions are using their calendars. Here are some tutorials to get started with Google Calendar or iCal.
Another option is Cozi for a more robust option. Cozi offers one place for your calendar, shopping list, chore list and recipes. All these are great options, but you have to get your whole family on board. One suggestion, with your kids, do it early, as soon as they get their phone, require participation, before they become too teenagerish. HA HA!
The best thing about an electronic calendar system is that you (and everyone else) can have it with you at all times. Just the opposite of the paper bases family desk blotter system. The hardest thing is probably getting the whole family on board. It may not be an option if you have non-techies in your family.
For the Work
So to kick it up a notch! Do you also manage a schedule at work?
I have to admit, I go very simple on this, mostly because I am not as tech savvy as I’d like to be. We use google calendar for work. Just like if you use it for your family, it allows you to share calendars with other people. I like it because it’s simple and it allows me to see my personal and work calendar in the same spot.
Maybe you already have a calendar system at work. If so, continue to use it (you may have no choice). Can you also create a private calendar for personal use with it?
An option for a work calendar is using Evernote. Here’s a video from Scott Bradley how to create a calendar in Evernote. If you already use Evernote consider this.
Another option is a product called Asana. It it for companies with employees or teams. It allows you to track projects, schedule meeting, send email…. It’s very robust and may be the right option to get all your work planning and communication in one place.
So, as you can see there are many options available. Take some time exploring what might work best for you. Your biggest take-away! Whatever you decide, you need to jump in with both feet. Don’t try it half-way. It will be a disaster. Use this one calendar for everything. Don’t think that having two (or more calendars) will make you more organized. It won’t. I know it’s a little scary at first, but it will be OK!