Tools of time management – the calendar

Life is busy and whether you are single, married, have kids or don’t, you have appointments and other things that you need to keep track of. One of the most helpful time management tools that I use is my calendar. I actually have two calendars: a wall calendar and a phone calendar. I have reasons for having both and I am going to share how and why I use them below.

The wall calendar: I put this up right next to my key rack between my kitchen and my garage door. It is in a central location so I can glance at it quickly and add to it immediately. My key rack has a white board and a spot to store pens and pencils so I can make notes quickly and easily. I am all about convenience so I have no excuses. I use my wall calendar for a few things. First are the kids’ schedules – their school schedules, birthday parties, special events at school, extra classes, play dates, and special family trips all go on my calendar the second I find out about them. Second are appointments – doctor’s appointments, hair appointments, massages, gym classes, oil changes, lawyer meetings, court dates, dates with friends, etc. Third are important reminders, including birthdays. My gardeners only come every other week, so I mark it on the calendar so I don’t miss it. Also I highlight the days the kids are with their dad. Reminders are not my to-do list items, just scheduled events that don’t qualify as an appointment. Lastly, I use this calendar for a couple of home items. I write what is for dinner at the bottom of every box. I usually plan at least a week out sometimes longer. This helps me know what prep I can do the day before to make dinner quicker when I get off of work. I can make quick switches if my schedule doesn’t allow for cooking time. I also write at the beginning of the week what are of the home I am going to work on cleaning. I have a different color pen for each person in our family and I write meals so they can be easily changed.

The benefit of having a wall calendar like this is that it’s easy, convenient and quick. I can glance at it without having to find my phone, enter a password and go into my app. It also gives me the ability to see how my day, week and month look at any moment all in one place.

The phone calendar: I also have a calendar in my phone that I use regularly. It contains my schedules and appointments that are on my wall calendar as well as some reminders. The benefit of an electronic calendar is that I can set up recurring appointments. I don’t have to keep reentering birthdays or schedules. I can also set appointments for the next calendar year without having to have a physical calendar to write on. I don’t keep as much detail in here as I have everything on my home calendar. For example, if there is a sharing day at school, that just goes on my wall calendar. I don’t put dinners in my phone because while I’m out, I don’t need that information. I basically set up my phone so that if I need to schedule something on the fly, I know exactly what is going on and when and I don’t double schedule myself. Another benefit of the phone is the ability to set alarms. This ensures that even if I temporarily forget about somewhere I am supposed to be (especially if it is irregular), I get reminded with enough time to get there.

The important thing with having two calendars is to make sure you synch them up. At the beginning of the month I will make sure that everything matches and then I review it again on Sundays to make sure I know exactly what is going on during the week. I try to enter appointments from my phone to my calendar as soon as I get home, but that doesn’t always happen.

Using a calendar give me a sense of peace because I know what is going on in my life without having to rack my brain and I’m not panicking that I’m forgetting to be somewhere.

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