Organizing the Family Calendar

The past couple of years, I have kind of honed a system for keeping up with our crazy family calendar. Certain times of year get really insane and the only way I hand the insanity is to be organized and on top of things.

I use two things to help keep us organized. The first is the Happy Everything Agenda. To me, there's not magic in a specific agenda. You find one that you like and has the components that you need and want. For me, it has to be cute, it has to have month and week views and most importantly it needs to not cost me a million dollars. I think the Happy Everything Agenda meets those needs for me. I need to be able to write it down by hand and have it out before (as apposed to just on my phone, but I'll get there too in a minute).


Week View!

Month View!!

For this next year (its a 17 month calendar that runs August till December), I decided to go with the mini agenda because it will fit in my purse better. But it still has the same elements, just a little smaller (and $11 cheaper!). 

The second part of my system is using an app called "Cozi" on my phone. I use the free version which runs ads and doesn't include some things that the full version offers, but it is enough for me. The main reason I like this app is that you have 1 login name for your family, but you can login from multiple devises, so Kyle and I can keep the same calendar on our separate phones. So after I write things in my agenda, I add them to the Cozi app.

On your home page, you can navigate through the different options but see your events right in the middle.

I also really like the list feature. You can make grocery lists or any lists. They can be shared lists, or you can assign them to other family members or just for yourself too. 

But probably my most FAVORITE feature, is that is lets you color code each of your family members. So when you put events in the calendar it will put the persons colored dot for who is participating in the event! It serves our family (and my color-coding brain!) so well and we really like it!

So that's my system! It's fairly simple, but it works for us! 

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Making The Most Of Your Kids Schedule {How To Get Things Done}

(This post originally appeared here on Chronicles of a Babywise Mom as part of a Babywise Blog Network Day!)

Making the Most of Your Kids Schedule {How To Get Things Done}

One thing I get asked a lot from other moms is how I get anything “else” done (other than keeping 4 little humans alive). Some days, it can be a challenge to figure out when I’m going to shower much less do the laundry or write a blog post. The honest answer some days is, I don’t get anything else done. But for most days, the beautiful thing about Babywise and a Parent-Directed Schedule is that it provides a framework for the day and offers opportunities to be productive and keep your home running smoothly.

It doesn’t take a very long time of using Babywise to see the ways it benefits your baby. I have watched all of my babies relax into the schedule and thrive from consistency and from getting enough sleep. But what’s great about your baby and kids benefitting from a schedule, is that you also reap benefits.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a “day in the life of” post about what a typical Monday looks like for me. My sister called me after reading it and said “You had a very productive day… how did you do that?” As I read back over it, it was so clear to me that the reason I was so productive that day is because I utilized my schedule in ways that allowed me to spend time with my kids and get things done.

Here are a few tips to make your schedule benefit you to get things done:

1.    Make a schedule and write it down

I always like to think of my schedule in the “ideal” realm whenever I’m making a new one or adjusting one. If things went perfectly, this is how the perfect schedule would look. It RARELY ever fleshes out completely to the ideal, and recognizing this is important, but it gives me a starting place, a goal, and a place to come back to if I need to re-group.

Just because you write something down doesn’t mean it will magically happen, but it certainly helps with the “mommy brain” and helps you stay ahead of yourself instead of later in the day thinking “Oh yeah… I was going to try to do it this way”.

2.    Plan Ahead and Make A List

Make a list. The days that I make a to-do list are significantly more productive than the days I leave it to chance. The tasks continue to float in my head until I have to end up staying up late to get them done or putting them off.

Look at your daily schedule and think through times that you can plan on showering, household chores, devotionals, fun (ß dare I say it!). The key times I plan for are naptimes, independent play times, and screen times. None of those things are a free-for-all in our home, but are always a planned, consistent time.

3.    Think creatively and flexibly

If you are really struggling to complete a specific task because of lack of time, think through your schedule to how you can move something around or change something. One of the best changes I made in my schedule was moving screen time to the time when I am fixing dinner in the evening. Like most Moms, it is my most stressful, tired, time of the day. It might be as simple as moving family dinner up 30 minutes or back 30 minutes to create more time for bedtime routines or more time for dinner prep.

It might also mean you need to eliminate something from your schedule or relax your schedule on something. One of the biggest critiques to Babywise or scheduling in general that I hear is that it lacks flexibility. My thoughts are that if you have a schedule, YOU are in charge of it and can flex it to fit your needs. If it were just a free-for-all every day, I would feel like I amserving the day more than my day serving me.

Ultimately, I think it is important to remember why you use a schedule in the first place. For me, it is because it helps meet the needs of my whole family, not just a baby or child, and it keeps my family running on a long-term basis as well as a daily basis.

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