Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The G's Google Calendar

My schedule is my life line.  I use calendars as much as I use lists and for the same reason: I can't keep any of this stuff in my head.

Over the years my calendar has moved from a pocket notebook, to a wall, to a Palm Pilot and now, Google.  I thought I'd summarize some of the ways I use google calendar to make my life and family easier to manage.

1. Using my Google Calendar.

I use my google calendar to plan and remember.  I input all of my appointments, obligations, meetings, and time dependent activities.  Then at the end of the day or week, I adjust the schedule to more accurately reflect what happened.  

Some of the things I keep track of in my google calendar:
  • Work Schedule
  • Classes
  • Holidays
  • Birthdays
  • Bill Due Dates
  • Work our schedule
  • Chores
  • Journals
  • Typical Routines
  • Kids classes/play dates/appointments
  • Street Sweeping Schedule
It sounds kind of overwhelming when I type it all out, but nearly so much so as keeping it in my head.

2.  Syncing my Facebook Calendar

There was a time when this wouldn't have been necessary, but since so many of my friends set up birthday parties, play dates, and activities on facebook, this has been a huge time saver, not to mention it prevents me accidental putting in the wrong time or place.  Facebook has a section on the events page on how to export calendars.  

3.  Syncing my Call Log.

There are probably some industries where this is even more helpful than mine, but being able to quickly see who I called when has saved me time and energy more than once.  I use an app called CallTrack.  It's easy to set up and runs unobtrusively in the background.

4. Keeping our Family Organized.

Both of my husband and I have flexibility in our work, but because of that it is critically important that we have up to date information on the other's schedule.  We share all of our calendar so that either of us can easily make appointments, set up meetings, or make plans.  We also have a separate calendar for each of our kids that helps us make sure we get them where they need to go on time.

5. Staying Organized Across Devices

We are not an apple family, but we do have an iPad.  There was no way I was going to try to sync google calendar with the apple calendar (I know some people have done it, but I still have nightmares for events recreated a zillion times when Outlook and google would fight, so I didn't want to mess with it).  Instead, I bought the app Calengoo to use on the iPad.  It's been a few years since I researched options, but it works great for my needs.    

6. Keeping up to date with relevant Public Calendars

Google has a cool feature where you can sync public calendars.   Things like sports teams schedules, etc.  I use quite a few public calendars
  • Disneyland Season Pass Black out Dates
  • My HOA's events
  • My MOPS groups events
  • Unusual American Holidays
  • Catholic Holidays
  • Phases of the Moon
  • Sunset times
  • Weather
7. Making sure my calendar works for me

As my life has gotten busier, my google calendar has gotten more and more complicated.  Over time, I've had to organize and color code it to make sure I can effectively use it.  By creating custom calendars for things like my call logs, my bill due dates, or my work schedule I can easily turn calendars on and off depending how what information I need at any given time.

8.  Keeping my Calendar up to date

Obviously a calendar is only as good as the information in it.  Even more than my lists, I use my calendar as my immediate and automatic storage place for information.  I add things immediately and we take time at our family meeting each week to update and reconnect with our calendars.

I'm always looking for ways to make my calendar more efficient, please share any tips you use to keep your family organized.

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