Question: What’s a free and easy-to-use organizing tool that makes family life easier and works on both your home computer and your smartphone?
Answer: Okay, so there may be a lot of things that fit that bill these days, but the one I’ve found most useful on a day-to-day basis is Google Calendar — probably because it didn’t require me or my husband to adopt any new habits. As anyone who has tried to implement a new productivity tool can attest, it doesn’t work unless it taps into systems you are already using.
In my family, we created a new calendar to share and named it after our children, “Scarlett + Julian”. (To create a new calendar of your own, find the little gear icon at the top right and click “Settings,” “Calendars,” and “Create New Calendar.”)
Now, whenever we arrange a doctor’s appointment, a play date, make vacation plans, commit to a family outing, or buy tickets for an event, it all goes on the digital family calendar.
With Google, each calendar you are using or subscribing to can be assigned a color. You can see above that I have quite a few at this point: blue is my own personal calendar, purple is my child’s school calendar, green is the Rookie Moms calendar that Heather and I share, and yellow is my family calendar.
You can toggle each calendar on and off easily, so if during the workday my husband doesn’t want to see the details of our home calendar, he can hide it from his view. Honestly, though, one quickly adjusts to tuning in to only the color that concerns them at the moment.
The easy part is that without having to “invite” my husband to an event, I can just add one to the shared calendar. Creating this family calendar, accessible from our desks and phones, has made life so much easier. I know lots of moms have trouble sleeping with all the thoughts and to-dos and meetings that they fear losing track of swirling in their heads. This is one more way to put your mind at ease and let yourself drift off.