Google calendar is a free tool available through your Google account. Maybe your Apple calendaring system can do the same things, but we’re a heavily Google-integrated family (our budget is on Google drive) and here’s how we use Google calendar to stay organized.
Keeping Two Adults in Sync
Mr. T and I have totally different things going on. He goes to work, I juggle all sorts of things during the daytime and we each have different responsibilities with work, etc. We keep it all in line by having synced Google calendars. I keep mine updated and so does Mr. T. As soon as I make an appointment, it’s in the calendar. This means that we both know what the other is doing. When Mr. T sees that I’ll be at a Church youth activity, he knows he has to be home during that time. When I see Mr. T is helping someone move on Saturday, I know that I’m home. It’s implied with 3 kids that we’re going to work together on taking care of them. If there’s a scheduling conflict, that’s when we have an actual face-to-face conversation about the calendar. “I just found out I have a work meeting the morning you scheduled to ride your bike to work. Is it possible to switch bike-commuting to the next day to help get the kids to school during my meeting?” Because we’re both awesome, these conversations are quick and solutions reached easily.
Keeping the Kids Organized
Our kids don’t have their own Google calendars (yet!), but we keep all of their stuff on the calendars too: “Florin Field Trip: Bring Booster Seat.” All extra-curriculars and classes go on the calendar so we know where people should be when. All those paper reminders that come home from school get added right to the calendar: “Penny Field Day: Wear Muddy Clothes.” Google Calendar also has places for additional information like address of doctors offices, themes for the upcoming birthday party, how much money it costs to get into the concert, etc.
I use Google Calendar for reminders extensively. With our conservative travel hacking, as soon as I apply for a new credit card, I add to my Google calendar when I want to cancel the card. Also in my Google calendar, you will find things like yearly reminders to check my credit reports and semi-annual reminders to get my wedding rings checked (to keep the insurance up). All relatives’ birthdays I need to remember are in Google calendar and every Wednesday night is a reminder to take out the trash/recycling. In the phone app, you can set reminders on any event you want, so Mr. T gets an audible reminder for the trash (yeah, that’s his responsibility).
Did you know that you can SEARCH your CALENDAR? That’s right. It’s amazing. When did Florin last have an eye exam? Oh look! It was last November. When did I schedule to be a chaperone at Florin’s field trip? When did I need to close that one credit card? What year did my roommate come visit? What day last year were we seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?
A Historical Snippet and Planning Tool
Google Calendar exists into the future as well as into the past. Want to know what we were doing in March 2013 (I do because I have no idea!). Oh look! I was babysitting my little cousin that used to live up in Alaska near us. Mr. T and I were going to salsa classes. Penny had preschool. Florin had playdates. We were cooking a pig for a church party. Mr. T’s mom was in town for a week to see the Iditarod. I had book club and Zumba class. And all of that will be forever remembered in my Google calendar!
As for the future, I have our hopeful mortgage payoff date (January 1, 2019), possible future vacations, and ongoing birthdays and reminders on my future calendar.
I’ve been assessing the tools I use on a daily basis more lately and have realized the ones I take for granted and among the most useful of the tools I use! Maybe Google calendars is already a staple in your house. Maybe you use it, but I gave you a few new ideas. Or maybe you have your own system. Either way, I always think it’s helpful to hear what helps other people and Google Calendar certainly keeps our household organized!