My calendar organization {Thankful Thursday}

If you know me at all, you know I am not super organized, despite all my desire to be.  You also know that I have a ton of stuff to keep track of.  I am down to four kids still at home, but they are active, so I need some way to manage my time.  Today for Thankful Thursday I want to share my gratitude for Flylady’s calendar.  No, I do not receive anything for this post.  I just love this tool and want you to know about the freedom it has given me.

Let me paint a picture or three for you.

Scenario 1

Two adults, two teenagers, three elementary students and one in the oven.  Since this is a time of monumental upheaval in their lives, three people have personal therapists, and the entire family does therapy together.  Extra-curricular activities include choir, violin lessons, acting club, Girl Scouts, and a weekly covenant group meeting for one adult.
calendar-9-2010 calendar-may-2011

Scenario 2

Three adults, two teenagers, three elementary students, and a toddler.  It breaks down to seven females and two males.  One adult is retired, the other two have jobs with variable hours, and both teenagers have jobs with variable hours.  After school activities include Cub Scouts, soccer, drama, and chorus.  The toddler receives early intervention services.


Scenario 3

Two adults, two graduated teenagers, one high school student, two middle school students, one elementary student, and one preschooler.  Adult teenagers both have jobs along with one parent.  Extracurricular activities include sports, drama, math team, Cub Scouts, and Girl Scouts.

Add to each of these scenarios the various doctor and dentist visits needed by each family member, visitation schedules, and household errands.  Let me tell you, it is a lot to keep track of.  At this point, we are much closer to Scenario 3, except that the graduated teenagers and high school student have all moved out and are managing their own schedules now.  I limit my children to two activities at a time, unless it is something they do during school hours.  For example, math team requires nothing except to send my middle schoolers to school a half an hour early once a week.  They can walk, so I can still get the younger kids ready for school at the regular time.

Other stuff to track

I also like to save time, money and frustration by meal planning.  Keeping track of my meals on the calendar lets me see all of the events that would impact dinner.  I track my monthly cycle on the calendar, and encourage my daughters to do the same.   All of this would overwhelm most calendars, with their cute little one-inch boxes and beautiful pictures.

Flylady to the rescue

A few years ago, I started using the Flylady calendar and it has saved me so much grief.  I also use Google Calendar and sync the two frequently.  The beauty of Flylady’s calendar is that the boxes are huge, and they are ruled.  The primary function of a calendar is to manage time, not be art, so Flylady did away with pretty pictures for each month and instead uses the extra space to make bigger boxes for each day.  Above are some sample months over the last few years.

There is enough room in the boxes to keep track of all the things I need to remember.  I have never run out of room for any day.  I have come close, but never gone over.  The bottom line is a great place to write that day’s dinner, and if I get really into the planning, I can use the two lines above it for lunch and breakfast.

So if you are feeling overwhelmed with keeping track of all the schedules you have to manage, go ahead and give this calendar a try.  It comes with fun stickers for things like doctor appointments, birthdays, and sports.  It has stickers to remind you take care of yourself, and honestly, don’t we all need those reminders sometimes?  In some of these pictures, you will see that I also put stickers for something on there, though I don’t remember what they were for.  I was trying to encourage some behavior or other.  Whatever it was, it looks like I tracked it for about 18 months, so it must have been something important.

Your turn

Do you have a favorite time management tool or habit?  Please tell us about it in the comments.

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