First, before I start glorifying the beauty of scheduling and calendars for a fairly busy family, I want to be clear: I believe in down time. I want my kids to enjoy hours of free range decisions, to be creative, to have daydreaming time, to nestle in with a good book. I spent long hours of my childhood following the trail of my imagination and have worked to clear space in our lives for our kids to do the same.
I loved what Jennie had to say about this.
And Tara Whitney. Treat yourself to a read of her ode to this kind of life. Bravo, Tara.
Having said that, sometimes your kids turn into high schoolers with their own opinions whose trails of imagination lead straight to music lessons and play practices. And it becomes tricky to make sure everyone is where they're supposed to be.
We have tried different calendars and techniques to help make sure we are where we need to be. Recently we've finally settled on a system and I've loved it so much that I thought I'd share in case it's helpful to someone else.
I joined Cozi over a year ago but I just didn't really use it. I'm a paper-lovin' gal and was perfectly happy with my lovely exacompta planner refill every year (which I still have and use). But we needed a way to operate from a family master calendar that everyone could access at any time. So in January we started putting everything into Cozi (by the way, they don't know me nor have they asked me or paid me to do this. I just really like them).
Here's what I love:
- everyone can access this from a computer, cell phone, etc. for the most up-to-date version. So if something changes schedule-wise for G when he's at work, he can go right in and change it
- you can program an event to repeat every day, weekday, week, month, year, etc. or even every 13 (or whatever) weeks, making it much more flexible than iCal or other digital calendars
- you can program it to send an email or text message reminder to specific people for any item (for instance, Lauren needed to remember to talk to her counselor at school but kept forgetting so we just added a reminder to the calendar and it pinged her.)
- you can tag any combination of people for their own events
- there's an app for that so we can input or check schedules on iphones, blackberries & itouches
- the to-do lists and shopping lists mean that everyone can add to the list and then we have it handy on our phones when we're at the store
- you can schedule something in the far distant future instead of waiting to get next year's calendar
- it's free
We use it as our master list for everything and then we print it out, week by week, and post it on the fridge. If you have older kids or teenagers (or if you, like me, chronically forget appointments--oh the shame) this could be just the ticket.
Still, nothing makes me happier than an empty square on the calendar (next Monday and Tuesday, I'm looking at you and cheering).
How about you? How do you keep track of your life?