Monday, March 25, 2013

Keeping Sane During Crazy Times

It's time again for Spring craziness to arrive.  Baseball, cub scout activities, end of year parties and field trips,  proficiency testing at school, PTA fundraiser, teacher luncheon, piano recital, finishing up everything that needs to be finished up...  Oh, and did I mention all these things will happen in the next 8 weeks.

So how do I keep it all straight?  My go-to tools are a great calendar and a great planner.  At the moment I keep both a physical pen-and-paper calendar and a digital calendar.  My favorite paper calendar and the one I ask for almost every year for Christmas is the Mom's Plan-it Calendar.  It has blanks to put each person's name at the beginning of every week.  You only have to write them in once for the whole year.  Each family member then has their own line to put their activities on.  This calendar lives on the fridge and I try to keep it up to date.  The kids like to go look on it to see what we are doing that week.

The digital calendar app that I use is called Business Calendar.  It does cost $4.99 but I think it's totally worth it.  It syncs with all your Google calendars and is very easy to use.  You can change between calendars at the bottom of the screen, so you can keep work and home calendars separate or keep separate calendars for each person if you prefer.  You can look at a month, week or daily view of all your events.  You can also choose to see a "bar graph" format on your calendar (just shows a bar in the time spot on a particular day instead of writing in words the name of the event) or you can choose to see all your events written out, which is my preference.  Clicking on a day brings up a closer view of that days events.  I really like the "add event" form as well.  It's straightforward and easy to use. I think this app is the best of the calendars apps that I've tried.  Since Tim and I sync up our Google calendars with each other, we can both see all our events on all our devices - phones, laptops and tablets.

While I try to keep the paper calendar up-to-date, I must keep my digital calendar up-to-date.  I use it to plan all appointments and activities.  It's especially handy to use on my phone while I'm not at home.  Everything that our family does is kept on that calendar.  That way, theoretically, no one has an excuse for not knowing what's going on.

My calendars are great for seeing the big picture - what events we have to go to at specific times during the week.  But what about daily to-do lists, errands to run and people to call?  I use my trusty planner for that.  I've used a lot of planners over the years and, to tell the truth, I've never found one that I absolutely love.  Maybe one day I'll have to make my own but for now I use a Franklin Covey planner system.  Yes, they are pricey but there are so many layout choices that I can get closest to what I want there.  I use my planner for everything.  I plan meals with it, keep track of my to-do list every day and write all sorts of notes to myself in there.  I'd truly be lost without it.

With all these great planning tools, you'd think I'd never forget anything.  But I am human and sometimes I forget that my child needs to take butter to school or that library books were due two days ago.  In general, though, the calendars and planner keep our family mostly organized and mostly sane, especially during the hectic last few months of school.

What about you?  What great time planning tools do you use?

No compensation or free products were provided.  I just wanted to tell you what I love.  However I did use my affiliates links.

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