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Techy Tuesday: Using Calendars

These days, there are so many ways to show ourselves how quickly time passes by.  There are clocks on our walls, watches on our wrists and time keepers and calendars on our computers and phones.  With so many ways to tell time and the oodles of ways to spend time, there needs to be a proper {and simple} way of organizing time.  Thanks to technology, there is.  I know there are still some of you who need to write things down with a pen and paper and that is just fine.  What I cover today can still be applied to your planners as well, you may just need a few extra supplies to accomplish the end result, but it will still work for you.

Why I choose electronic calendars
The reason I choose to use an electronic calendar over a paper planner is simple, it works the way I want it to work.  That means I can view my day, week, month and even year with the touch of a button or a slight gesture.  I do not need to write my appointments down on a monthly page, then again on a weekly page, and yet again on a daily page.  That's three different places to input the exact same information, and heaven help you if something gets rescheduled.  For me, going away from paper planners was a no brainer.  That's not to say that today's planners are obsolete, because they certainly are not.  People work in different ways and some need to have the extra steps or the action of physically writing it down to help things stick.  With that, let's move on to see what my calendars look like and how I use them to make my family's life easier.

What my calendars look like
Just like there is a place for everything in our house, in my family, there is a calendar for everyone.  Since each member of our family has his or her own appointments, to ease viewing, I have chosen to make a separate calendar for each person.  And since our family uses iCloud, if I only want to see what my week looks like, I can do that without cluttering my calendar view with hubby's appointments and possibly overwhelming myself thinking my week looks super busy when in reality it is not.  Color coding calendars helps to further aid in calendar viewing when I do want to see how everyone's week merges together.  For example, if our son has an appointment and I have a meeting at the same time, we can easily see that hubster is free and can take baby boy to his appointment.  Without separate calendars and color coding, it might have been a lot of going back and forth or trying to remember off the top of our heads what's happening a few days out and likely overlooking something.

So here is what my family's calendars look like, nicely color coded.

Here's an example of what our week might look like in our iPad's calendar view {these are not actual appointments, just boxes laid over a calendar week to give you an idea, but is based on our color codes}.

How I use multiple calendars
Here is a quick {hopefully} breakdown of how we use our many calendars:

  • Calendar - Dates that apply to all of us {i.e. birthday's, anniversaries, holidays}.
  • Ferly's calendar - My appointments and events we attend as a family {parties and weddings}.
  • Michael's calendar - Hubby's work schedule {as he works in the field and can be anywhere and anytime}, and also his pay days.
  • Mateo's calendar - Right now it's sparsely filled with random doctor appointments and play dates, but I know it will quickly fill up once he starts sports and school.
  • Our Expenses calendar - I created this so that I can see when things are due on the calendar and also see how they correspond to pay days, so we can plan our budget accordingly.
  • Wedding calendar - I am a part time wedding planner and created one just for wedding appointments.
  • DailyRoutine calendars - At one point when I was evaluating my own use of my time at home and trying to create a routine or rhythm, I needed to precisely map it out onto a calendar, not to completely schedule my day, but to give a good visual sense of how I'd ideally like our days at home to run.  I did one for my son's daily routine and one for my daily routine and it allowed me to see when I can take time for myself {to do things like blog or other work}.  It is mainly used as a guideline, and the best part about it is that I can easily move things around to meet my needs, not the other way around.

Inspired and ready to try it?
If this looks like something you and your family could benefit from, try it!  You don't even have to own an iOS device {iPod touch, iPhone or iPad}.  There are many programs and online calendars with the capability to create multiple calendars and share.  Google Calendar and Cozi Family Organizer are two free online tools that can do the same thing for you.  I simply chose to use what was already installed on my device.  What if you're a pen and paper type of planner?  No problem!  All you need to do choose between highlighting your different calendars or using different colored pens for each calendar.  You could even use colored paper if you don't want to carry a separate bag for colored pens or highlighters.  The possibilities are endless and can be just as creative as you are.

Time slips away so quickly.  I don't want to miss a thing when it comes to spending time with my family and I do what I can with what I have to make that happen.  The gifts we gain by utilizing technology to house how we spend our time is time well spent, room for margin and making time to do nothing!  Keeping a calendar clear is just as important as filling it up.  It's all about using our time wisely.

Do you use multiple calendars in your family?  How is it working for you?  Are you intrigued to start using multiple calendars to organize your family's schedules?  Join me in calendar color coded bliss!

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