Master Managing Multiple Schedules

Managing Schedules

Are you managing multiple schedules? 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.

Managing a Young Family Schedule

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.

Managing a Smart Phone Family Schedule

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.

Managing Your Work Schedule

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.

Are you managing multiple schedules? It's hard enough to manage your own time. What about managing multiple schedules? Click To Tweet

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!

For more tips on managing multiple schedules, check these out:

Marrying Your Personal and Business Schedule

Reviewing Your Schedule Will Make You a Star

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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.

14 Comments

  1. Ellen Delap on February 3, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    Great post that covers all the territory of where multiple schedules occur.
    There’s no substitute for using a calendar that works for your team.

  2. janet schiesl on February 4, 2016 at 7:52 am

    Thanks Ellen. You are so right. Communication is key when working with a team, whether it’s family, co-workers, or volunteers. A shared calendar can go a long way to achieving good communication.

  3. Janet Barclay on March 9, 2020 at 11:36 am

    I use my Google calendar for everything except meal planning, which is done on a wall calendar in my kitchen. My husband’s not into electronic calendars though, so every month we sit down and I tell him about anything on my schedule that will affect him.

    • Janet Schiesl on March 9, 2020 at 1:52 pm

      Hi Janet. We used to be a wall calendar family too. We are a pre-smart phone family. It worked well. I put everything on it and we all referred to it. Now that I am an empty-nester I use my google calendar for everything – personal and work. Whatever works!

  4. Sabrina Quairoli on March 9, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    I use my digital calendar and share appointments with my husband and kids. My kids had a phone since they were in middle school, so they had their Google Calendar on their phones all the time. Now they are in college; the appointments online work better since they use their calendar more often for school-related stuff. I find that with my arthritis, it’s easier to type than writing on paper. But, I still have a paper planner for daily activities. It sits on my desk for jotting down notes.

    • Janet Schiesl on March 9, 2020 at 1:57 pm

      I never thought about how digital calendars could help someone with arthritis. Less writing make great sense.

  5. Julie Bestry on March 9, 2020 at 4:27 pm

    Janet, you’ve done a superb job at laying out all of the options. I’m a singleton, so I generally only have to oversee my own schedule, but I do try to keep track of my (fabulous) mom’s doctor’s appointments and general schedule. For me, my appointments go in my paper planner on the monthly view, but I also set items on my digital calendar so that notifications will pop up on my computer screen. (All of my planning is done at the desk, so I don’t bother with using a synced mobile calendar, though I appreciate the need for most people.

    For my clients, particularly those with small children, I’ve always felt that an analog calendar, where the tiny humans can see the (macro) passage of time from day-to-day was an excellent way for them to understand how time works. That may mean some duplication for the grownups so they can use their smartphones, but I think the long-term benefit is that the whole family sees the big picture of a month at a time.

    • Janet Schiesl on March 9, 2020 at 7:08 pm

      Julie, I agree with you. Using a paper calendar gives the younger generation the visual needed to learn about time. I know we agree that using analog clocks is similar. I worry about the challenges we’ll see in the future when they miss this learning opportunity.

  6. Deb Lee on March 9, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    I use my digital calendar for everything but I also have a dry erase calendar. The tiny humans in the house like this calendar and refer to it often, so it will be dual calendars for a while.

    • Janet Schiesl on March 10, 2020 at 6:53 am

      That’s great. A wall calendar is a good learning tool for kids. I used something similar and the whole family would refer to it.

  7. Linda Samuels on March 9, 2020 at 8:26 pm

    I use a digital calendar (iCal) for everything. When our daughters were young, there were no digital calendars, so I was paper based then and it also worked. I think the biggest takeaway that you said was ONE CALENDAR. And while that is definitely challenging for some of my clients, ultimately, it gives you more control over your time and a better sense of how it is being allocated.

    One of my clients felt she HAD to have two calendars because she didn’t want her personal stuff being shared on the “group” work calendar. And with the system her company had set up, it wasn’t possible to make that distinction. It wasn’t great for her, but the privacy issue was a bigger one than the convenience of having an all-encompassing calendar.

  8. Janet Schiesl on March 10, 2020 at 6:56 am

    I agree with that. Why would a company make scheduling more difficult for their employees. I wonder how much over scheduling happens at that business.

  9. Nancy Haworth on March 10, 2020 at 9:19 am

    Great information! I used to use paper calendars, but I now use shared digital calendars (iCal) for almost everything. I found that once my entire family was able to see and add to the shared family digital calendar, it made scheduling things so much easier. We still have a paper wall calendar just to outline the big events.

    • Janet Schiesl on March 10, 2020 at 12:00 pm

      Thanks Nancy. I find an electronic calendar easy to use, but I remember when I started to use it there was a learning curve.

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