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4 Essential Tips for Managing the Family Calendar

4 Essential Tips for Managing the Family Calendar


    We fill our days and hours with activities, not only for ourselves but also for our family. It can be a challenge to keep all of these commitments straight. A family calendar is just the answer.

    If you’re just getting started with using a family calendar — or need to up your game with the one you’re currently using — here are 4 essential tips to manage it.

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    Paper vs. Electronic

    You will find both paper and electronic calendars can fit in well in your household. In fact, I recommend you use both.

    An electronic calendar will give you the reminders you need. For example, we generally only go to the dentist twice a year so a reminder that the appointment we scheduled 6 months ago is coming is very handy.

    A paper calendar in a central location helps the entire family quickly see what the schedule for tomorrow or the upcoming week is. Those young enough not to have an electronic calendar of their own will start to get used to using the calendar to see upcoming events.

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    If you use Google for your electronic family calendar, check out these planning tips.

    Where to Put Your Calendar

    Use a paper calendar with lots of space to write down appointments for the whole family. Place it in a central meeting area. Often the kitchen will be the best location. Choose a spot every family member can easily access — remember not everyone is as tall as you are. It will be easier to manage the family calendar when everyone is an active participant.

    Keep a holder for pens and pencils (and even stickers) nearby. Stickers will help keep your kids engaged with the calendar. Have them add stickers for birthdays, days when they don’t have to go to school, and maybe even when they complete a day with especially good behavior.

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    What Should Go on the Calendar

    Add the usual birthdays and anniversaries first; these can be written in pen as they won’t change. Use pencil to then note any appointments. Be sure to note the time and initials of the family member the appointment is for.

    Have a lot of details for the appointment? The best way to manage the family calendar and get all the details is to add extra information to the electronic version of the calendar. It is easy to list the who, what, where, when and why on the electronic calendar. Link the appointment to the relevant website for additional information and a contact listing to avoid having to retype the address and phone number for a future appointment.

    Keep Your Calendars in Sync

    If you have trouble keeping your paper and electronic calendars in sync, create a routine to check them. Make every Sunday night after dinner a time the family reviews the paper calendar to see what is coming up for the week ahead. At this time make sure all of the information is added to the electronic calendar and vice versa. Be sure to ask each member of the family if they have plans or dates that should be added to the calendar as well.

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    Make this a fun family time by having a special dessert or beverage that is served during this time — and this time only. You should also consider adding other items to your family weekly review.

    How can you better manage the family calendar?

    (Photo credit: Circling Important Calendar Date via Shutterstock)

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      Last Updated on September 11, 2019

      Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

      Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

      How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

      Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

      To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

      Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

      Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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      • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
      • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
      • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
      • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

      Benefits of Using a To-Do List

      However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

      • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
      • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
      • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
      • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
      • You feel more organized.
      • It helps you with planning.

      4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

      Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

      1. Categorize

      Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

      It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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      2. Add Estimations

      You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

      Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

      Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

      3. Prioritize

      To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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      • Important and urgent
      • Not urgent but important
      • Not important but urgent
      • Not important or urgent

      You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

      Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

      4.  Review

      To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

      For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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      Bottom Line

      So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

      To your success!

      More to Help You Achieve More in Less Time

      Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

      Reference

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