As a wife, step-mom, teacher & writer, people are always asking me “How do you do it?” I wish that I secretly figured out a way to get a few extra hours, that just isn’t the case. My friends, family and acquaintances are always amazed at how I “keep it all together.” So here is my system:
- My primary organization tool is my digital calendar. I use iCal which syncs (via a program I bought called Spanning Sync) with Google Calendar. That way, whether I enter an event directly on iCal or online through Google Calendar, it all shows up in the right place. My google calendar is also available on my Android Phone (I have a Samsung Fascinate). I like Google Calendar because I don’t have to have my laptop with me to access my schedule. All I need is an internet connection. So even if I make an appointment on the run – it all shows up in the same place & with Spanning Sync I don’t even have to think about it. It just happens!
- My paper calendar is what I carry with me wherever I go. Once a week (usually over the weekend) I transfer appointments from my digital calendar to my paper calendar. I use a Moleskin 18 Month Calendar (purchased at Barnes & Noble). I like it because on the left side are the days of the week and on the right side is a blank sheet of notebook paper. That is where I record my lists (grocery or to dos), random quotes or important info I need to follow up on. I am also a huge fan of Moleskin notebooks. Though expensive – they are top quality, sleek and thin! They come in a variety of colors and a variety of sizes.
Both of my calendars are color coordinated. I have assigned the following colors:
Blue is for home stuff/family stuff
Green is for financial stuff – paydays and bill due dates
Orange is for work (teacher related stuff) – my school’s colors are blue and orange
Pink is for my social stuff/personal stuff – birthdays, girl’s nights, etc. Pink is also where I keep up with my writing goals/deadlines and just so happens to be my favorite color.
Purple is for holidays
Black is for my husband’s appointments/dates
I use the same colored ink in my paper planner so everything always “matches”. The nice thing about Google Calendar is that you can “share” calendars with others. So the home calendar and my husband’s calendar can be shared through his Google account and his phone. That way we are literally always on the same page. If you have children, assign them a color and if they are old enough (e.g. High School) you can even have them “keep up” with their own schedule. It is a wonderful lesson in time management/family organization.
Also, my other rule of thumb is to never promise or agree to any date without checking the calendar first. That way you avoid double booking.
My other rule of thumb is to write everything down. I never trust myself to remember anything and to avoid a scheduling conflict I always write down commitments I make.
Remember, you are only human and can only be in one place at one time. There are some people who go all paper or all digital and there are advantages to both but I personally need the notebook (and it works well to have the dates alongside the calendar) and I have to keep up with so much information that I’d die without the digital option.
Any special tips for how you organize your life – schedule or time wise?