I've Got My Calendar Under Control.

I’m struggling to find an effective means of syncing my calendar with my husband’s and my child care providers. Yesterday, the day before I was supposed to leave for a two-day business trip in the Midwest, I realized my husband and my babysitter had absolutely no idea I was planning on being away! There are other instances where my husband has been in a similar situation, or our kids have scheduled events that we find out about at the last minute. I feel like I’ve tried every “interactive” calendar product on the market, and nothing is working. Help! Any ideas?

 

With agendas overflowing the way they are today in most families, it’s essential that you keep track of everybody’s schedule in one master location. There are two rules (although we hate rules, in this case they seem to work) to follow that will make a family calendar and schedule work. First, a family calendar and schedule must be easily shared. That means it is most likely paper-based, not electronic, and needs to be out where everyone can see it, change it, and add to it. Second, each person in the family over the age of ten should be responsible each week for filling in their own information. If you think it will be hard to get your child to do this, follow the rule, “if it isn’t written down, it doesn’t get done”. The first time Logan didn’t write down his baseball practice and Marci refused to take him was enough incentive for him to do a perfect job with his schedule.

 

 

Here are some other tips that might help you wrangle that family schedule more effectively.

 

• Post both a weekly routine and a monthly calendar to mark variances from the weekly routine. One easy way to keep track of both is to post two dry erase boards next to each other in the kitchen, on the back of the pantry door, or other common area. One dry erase board should be a large (24” x 36”), pre-formatted calendar with a month-at-a-glace, and the other should be a similarly sized dry erase board that also has a bulletin surface. Use the plain white board to keep track of everybody’s regular weekly schedule. Assuming weekly schedules don’t vary from week-to-week, if you write down each person’s regularly scheduled activities once on the “Master Schedule” board you save yourself the time of having to re-write the same thing week after week in a planner.

 

• Keep paper schedules from classes and extra-curricular activities posted on the bulletin portion of the board so you can see when the schedule will change. Typical items in the weekly routine include: sports practices and games (if at regular set times and days), school, work, lessons (e.g. piano, golf, etc.), daycare, chores, regular appointments, and a regularly scheduled family night.

 

Sunwhirld
07.29.08

I must dissent! I'm on Jooners (www.jooners.com) and it's a parent's dream! Not only can you bring it all together in one centralized calendar that both your husband and kids can access - but it does SOOOOO much more. (Google pretty much stops there and has waaaayyyy to many dials for me!)

Part of my life is all the community activities we're involved in....sports, scouts, school...even my book club. Jooners has these awesome online sign-up sheets that gets everyone organized (read volunteering!) without the 3,879*#@!!@*& emails back & forth! I've experienced "unbelievableness":) from all these groups. I send out a list of jobs or items. They see who's already signed up for what...and THEY TAKE THE EMPTY TASKS!!! :) :) :) :) Whooohooo.

The really cool thing is that after they sign-up, they get ASUTO-REMINDERS from Jooners AND the task is AUTO-CALENDARED! NO ONE FORGETS!!! The same applies to me, of course - so I stay cucumber cool even when things are heating up in the "family activities" department.

Jooners is also super for any group manager. You can keep all the group emails organized in a group roster that can be printed (very pretty format!!). You can create the soccer schedule (practices & games) and share it with the team (SO NO ONE HAND ENTERS A GOOF ENTRY AND DOESN'T SHOW UP!!!). And if anything changes, I just change it in the master calendar and it auto-updates in everyone elses.

My family, teams...and even my funky bookclub (in which I'm the total low hanging fruiter - these women are SOOOO smart) stays in sync with Jooners.

beckcrowe
07.21.08

BE CAREFUL NOT TO BE DECEIVED BY THE MOM AGENDA AD ON THIS SITE!!

July 21, 2008: What a disappointment from a company that advertises organization for moms! I am a working mom who found the Mom Agenda advertising – ‘START FRESH IN AUGUST – WE DO’ very appealing. I am transitioning to a new role in August and thought this sounded like a great way to start fresh and streamline my chaotic schedule – a working mom of three! And, after going to the Mom Agenda best sellers list, I carefully selected a new agenda and even ordered a second one as a gift for a friend.

I was VERY SHOCKED AND DISAPPOINTED after received my order – to find out I received 2007-2008 calendars. You can image my confusion!! Did I mistakenly order the wrong agenda? I confirmed my order – which is listed as 2008 and then double checked the web site, which lists their products as 2008-2009, and I had even selected your #1 best seller!! What gives!

I called customer service and explained my confusion. I anticipated that this obvious error would be corrected and the new calendars would be sent ASAP; with apologies for my inconvenience. However, instead, I was told that the 2007 model has 5 months left, and is why a promo was applied. The promotion is received in your cart after you select 2008 calendar, without real clarity this is a 2007-2008 calendar because is listed as a 2008 calendar. This deliberate oversight in the product marketing details fails to refer to 2007 or or any reference to covering the previous year. A very cleaver if you are trying to rid your old inventory to unsuspecting consumers perhaps too busy working and juggling their family to read in between that this is a 2007 agenda.

My customer service agent not only did not correct this error, but transferred me to a “manager”, who subsequently told me they also could resolve my order and needed to call me back. 4 phone calls and still no resolution.

From a company that advertises to the busy working mom, Mom Agenda customer service did not stand behind their product or live up to the marketing hype. ALL THIS EFFORT FOR AN ORGANIZER!!! Not sure this is making my life easier!

Stick with Google Calendar – It’s Free and hassle-free!!

erikao
06.25.08

I completely agree with Google Calendar. We switched to that recently and it works like a charm. We also got both of our parents on it, and now they can see the grandkids schedules.

chewieweim
06.18.08

I don’t know what interactive calendars you have tried but I love Google calendar (Yahoo and 30 boxes also have what I have heard are good calendars, I just found Google to work better for me). I recently discovered it and my life is transformed. Each person can create their own calendar and then give others 'view only' or 'edit functions'. This makes it really easy to coordinate schedules with others (as long as they have internet). You can also email invites to others straight from the calendar. You can create an infinite number of calendars with different colors. For example, my son has school, cub scouts, and soccer calendars that are all blue so I know at a glance who the main person is. I can also share the soccer schedule with the grandparents who can then see it in their own Google calendar. You can select which calendars you want to see if it gets too busy (I have 14 calendars in my Google).
If you are lucky, you can also sync to public calendars for some events and organizations. For example, my son's school has a calendar in Google friendly format so I just link to it and bam I can see my son's school calendar without having to type it in by hand. AND if they make a change to the calendar, it automatically changes in mine. This works really well for the soccer team my husband coaches because of the rainouts. Now I know his game was cancelled before he does (and that he can now pick up the kids and go to cub scouts that night!). I am trying to convince all the organizers of all our activities to do the calendar like this.
My husband actually uses this calendar. He never wrote anything on the paper one. He would tell me some of his stuff and I would remember to write some of it down, nightmare. After I set it up initially with what I had on paper and what I could link, he actually kept up with it. It made sense because when he was at work and found out about something he could put it in super fast instead of trying to remember to put in on the calendar when he got home. He is also stepping up more and helping since he now sees everything more clearly.
I use Outlook at work so I just type my stuff in Outlook and then it syncs to Google. (I haven’t gotten it to work at home because the sync program freezes Outlook at home). I heard on NPR this week that some companies are moving away from Outlook type calendars and toward Google type calendars. For those with internet cell phones, the calendar can go anywhere and you don’t need a blackberry or iphone.
At home, my laptop lives in the kitchen so the calendar is easy to check and add to. When someone brings home a calendar or schedule I sit down and put it in right away and then save all the paper schedules for reference. I haven’t let my kids put their own stuff in yet because they are too young but someday they can do that. The calendar easily shifts from day to week to month and can be printed a variety of ways. I originally envisioned printing it and posting it where the old (color-coded overstuffed) calendar lived but find that the laptop works better. You can have reminders pop up, emailed, or sent to your cell phone. I like to have unusual things emailed to me so they really stand out.
My family’s life does not have a regular weekly routine so I found that I was getting cramps trying to keep everything current and up to date on the written calendar. Here I type it once and then if it gets moved, canceled, or changed I just click a few times and am up to date. The other thing I like is that we can now see the few empty blocks of time and plan for time as a family or couple. OR I can get my hair done ;-) In the past, these moments seemed to sneak up on us and then we squandered them. Now we have family bike rides, trips to the park, and sleep in and be lazy times that would never have happened spur of the moment.
The best thing is that since I started using this I have not had any of those worst mommy moments where I forgot the play or that this is the week my husband is out of town. We used to have many of those moments before Google calendar.