I. Love. Paper. Planners. I will never stop using one. Call it fierce loyalty if you will.
The thing is, I will also always use a digital calendar. Using a calendar that can be easily color-coded and changed allows me the freedom that a paper planner does not. It also allows for much more detail and digital functionality. I absolutely love that I can pull it up on my phone whenever I am out of the house.
Our boys are largely in charge of their own schedules. A paper calendar just wouldn’t be a good use of our time and resources.
We all need access to our calendar when we are out and about and things change daily. Especially in the summer when so many of their activities depend on the weather. It is much easier to update an event in Google Calendar on the phone in your hand than it is to remember to change it on the paper calendar in the kitchen. I genuinely think I would forget most of the time.
This is much different than when the kids were younger. Once a month I would sit down with a large calendar and fill out all of our activities. The boys knew to look at that calendar to see what was happening daily. I was the only one making plans for our whole family. Once the boys were old enough to make their own plans, we needed a different system.
Both boys have jobs, play football and attend high school. Our senior drives and our sophomore will be driving soon as well. Which means even more independence.
In order to keep our family on the same page and to make sure we still have time together as a family, I have created a system using Google Calendar. I have the main calendar and can see everybody’s scheduled activities. The main calendar is made up of eight separate Google calendars. Don’t let that number scare you!
1. You will be able to see all the calendars you have created and subscribed to on the left-hand side. The color for each calendar can be changed. If you do not want to see a certain calendar, simply uncheck the box next to the calendar name.
Nikol’s calendar – this includes my to-do for the home and my appointments and events.
Nikol’s work calendar – this is only for the days that YouTube videos, Blog Posts and other pieces of content go live. I am able to see that expectation while determining how my week is going to play out.
My husband’s work calendar – my husband works shift work so having it listed in the Google Calendar is a key part of our success.
The kids’ school calendar – this calendar lists all the of the school days as well as any school events.
The kids’ football calendar – all football related events are listed under this calendar.
Kid #1 calendar – this includes work, events and appointments specific to just him.
Kid #2 calendar – this includes work, events and appointments specific to just him.
Family Calendar – this is for events that we all need to attend.
Within the Google Calendar event, I can include notes, location, and notifications. I use the location to see how long it will take me to get to my appointment. I then set notifications around that travel time. Once I am in the car, I can simply open the calendar event, click on the location and open it in Google maps. Ta-da! I am on time and have the correct location. It takes away the stress of leaving the house and allows us to be on time.
2. Family Time Calendar Event – everyone has access to this calendar so they know when we are spending time together.
3. If we are going somewhere, I will include the address so that the boys know if it is close to home or far away.
4. I set notifications so that we always leave on time.
Each calendar is color coded. By separating the calendars into single subjects (School, football…) I am able to be very specific on who needs to be involved and who will see the event.
Each family member is able to choose which calendars they want to see. For instance, my husband doesn’t want to see my work calendar. (Not sure why it’s riveting!) 🤓
Once everyone chose which calendars they wanted to see, I then invited them to view and edit the calendars they chose. They then added those calendars to their phones and I confirmed that it was in fact working.
5. When you invite someone to view a calendar, you can choose if they can view or can edit the events.
Why I love this system.
- It encourages and equips our kids to be independent and in charge of as much of their schedule as possible.
- It teaches the kids the importance of considering other people’s schedules when making their own plans.
- I am able to schedule family time when it is convenient for everyone. At this stage of life, if family time doesn’t get scheduled, it just doesn’t happen.
- It enables the family to know what is going on without having to ask me. This kind of refers back to #1, but equipping everyone to be able to find out what is going on and not have to answer a million questions has been fab-u-lous.
- By knowing their schedule, everyone is able to confidently make plans and know that there won’t be any conflicts.
- It teaches the boys what it truly takes to run a family and household calendar. It is a bit of function meets art and I want them to both appreciate the skills and possess them going into adulthood.
- When plans change, I can simply edit the date and time. There is no erasing or crossing out in a paper planner.
- I am able to add house chores to my schedule and move them to different dates as needed.
- The Google Calendar gives me a true look at how busy and mentally exhausting the week will be. This allows me to navigate my own personal schedule when I write it down in my weekly paper planner.
Changing and adapting systems to meet your family’s current needs is important to organizational success.
I do miss the days of writing in a big calendar for the fridge. They were simpler times and it was fun to look at the calendar with the boys and see if we were going to the zoo, story time, or the park with friends.
These crazy busy and independent days are magical as well. Watching them gain confidence in how to manage their own lives makes me just as teary as when they were learning to walk.
More importantly, I am able to know what they are up to in a way that doesn’t feel intrusive or annoying to anyone, and that my friends, is a huge win.