Today I tweeted my ‘Tip of the Day’: One Life = One Calendar. I’ve had a ton of questions already about how to do that. So, here are my steps on having one calendar for your one life. For reference sake, I am going to use my family for the example. In my family there is myself, my husband, my 15 year old son and my 13 year old daughter. We have a ‘traditional’ paper family calendar AND use technology (iPhones, iPods, iPads) to keep up-to-date. Although our calendar is in two different formats, they have the exact same information on them.
1. Purchase a calendar that has plenty of room to write down appointments, events, etc. I have been using More Time Moms calendar for years. I typically purchase mine at Costco as they tend to have the best prices.
2. Each person has an assigned color. I use highlighters and use yellow for me, orange for my business, green for my husband, black for his business items, purple for family functions, blue for my son and pink for my daughter. Below is a photo of our calendar:
3. I purchased a magnet sheet to stick on the back of the calendar so that it will hang off our refrigerator. If your refrigerator is not magnetic, you can purchase any type of hanger (like a 3M) to help with that. You could also choose to hang it on a wall. Where ever you choose to put your calendar, make sure EVERYONE can see it and make sure it is at a level where EVERYONE can write on it and add things.
4. This is our ‘go-to’ place to look at each morning. When I say “our” go-to calendar, I mean our entire family. It is now routine for all 4 of us to look at the calendar each morning to see what lies ahead for us. We have our paper calendar because we don’t necessarily turn our computers on at 5:00 am. This does take a bit of ‘training’, but the short-term pain is worth the long-term gain!
5. In our age of technology, we also have a digital copy of this calendar. Although it is a digital format of our calendar, it says exactly what is on our paper calendar. We are an Apple family so my husband and I both have iPhones, our kids have iPods, we have iPads and we use Mac computers at home. We have a subscription to Mobile Me which enable us to have the same information on our mobile devices. On my Mac computer, I use iCalendar. Again, when I add in an activity or appointment, I color code. Here is an example of what our digital calendar looks like:
With using something like Mobile Me, our iPhones, iPods and iPads are automatically synced (emails, contacts, calendars, etc.). If you are not an Apple user, there are many ways to still do the above.
6. Keeping a calendar updated does take time. I don’t have a calendar fairy to help me. Being a Professional Organizer, I have taken on the role for my family. When I get a schedule (ex: for hockey), I sit down and write in all the times and color code. Usually on Sunday evening, I take a look at our digital calendar and our paper calendar to ensure the week coming up has been updated and that they say the same thing.
There are some important things to remember when working with calendars:
- Choose a calendar that best works for everyone that needs to see it. It can be a paper calendar, a digital calendar or both. Just ensure that if you are using two different formats that they say the same thing!
- Ensure that everyone can see it and have the opportunity to write in it. This teaches everyone (including your spouse) to be responsible for adding in items.
- Establish routines on when to update. For some, that may mean daily (if you are an extremely busy person), it might be weekly. That will depend on how often you add appointments, activities, etc.
The benefits of having one calendar:
- It allows you to easily see just how busy you (and your family) are
- It ensures there are not conflicts OR it allows you to plan for any time conflicts
- It mentally prepares you for what lies ahead
- It stops the phone calls like, “Hey honey, what do we have going next Saturday?” They just need to look at their calendar on their own mobile device to know:)
Although I have many facets of my life: a mother, a wife, a business owner, CEO of our family, etc. I still only have ONE calendar. Hope this helps!