Last week I wrote about how to set up and use Google Calendar to orchestrate a seamless school year for your family.
But I know as well as you do that there’s WAY more to family life than just school stuff, which is why I’m sitting down again in my comfy chair, with my buttery coffee, to show you some of the other things we track in the Saccoman household.
You’ll find some awesome tips and tricks in here that you probably haven’t thought about.
First, let me reiterate that I geek out on productivity boosters, and Google Calendar often makes me feel like Super Mom. I get So. Much. Done.
ALSO let me disclose that I don’t always check my calendar. Which, you know, is my kryptonite – sometimes all of the cogs aren’t turning in sync with each other.
But this works most of the time, and that’s what matters. The last thing us moms need is to put more stress on ourselves for not being perfect, amiright?
Read my previous article to learn about the school items you NEED to get on the calendar this year and how to set up Google Calendar, and then dig into this one!
1. The check’s in the mail
Typically we’ve got a bead on paying recurring bills with online payments for things like credit card balances. We don’t have to remember those because they’re set up to pay automatically.
But there are just some things that we can’t set up in that way, including payments for Emma’s volleyball club and Maddie’s horseback lessons. They’ve got a specific schedule when payments are due, and we track that by adding it to Google Calendar.
Shared with: Mom and Dad
Super Mom Tip #1: Keep the address in the “Where” area of the calendar entry to remember where to send the check to, along with the payment amount. Set this up for recurring payments if you pay regularly (the first of every month, for example).
Super Mom Tip #2: I set up a notification for 4 days prior so I’m reminded early on in order to get the check in the mail and to arrive on time.
2. Seriously…put these young people to work
If you know me at all, you also know that I really, really don’t like cooking. Thankfully everyone in the family helps out with dinners, so I’m really only making a couple of meals each week.
In order to know who’s doing what and when, we’ve got a calendar for that. It’s recurring, so Emma makes something every Tuesday, I have Wednesdays, Maddie has Thursdays, Joe does a weekend day and we also note “Leftover” and “Dinner Out” days.
This also works if you’re the only one making the meals, of course. It’s a great way to track and plan each month and saves on trips to the grocery store.
Shared with: All family members
Super Mom Tip #1: Stick the recipe or ingredients list in the description area of each calendar.
3. Did you forget Aunt Pearl’s birthday? Again?
I don’t know about you, but I used to be pretty darned horrible about remembering to send cards, birthday and holiday gifts on time. Like…I was just so bad at that. Now, though, I’ve come up with a cool system for making sure I’m on track and things aren’t missed.
First, make sure you’ve got everyone’s birthday on Google Calendar, and make sure they’re set up to recur annually so they’ll appear on the calendar every year.
Then, set up notifications within the calendar to remind you prior to the birthday that you’ll need to buy and send a gift or card. Mine’s set up for 3 weeks prior so I have enough lead time to shop and get it in the mail. (Most of my family lives in different states.)
Shared with: Just me. I’m in charge of this for the family.
Super Mom Tip #1: Put the birthday guy or gal’s address in the description area of the calendar – you can refer to that every year to send those cards and gifts without searching other places.
Super Mom Tip #2: If you don’t have a complete list of birthdays you want to track, you can add a birthday to the calendar from your Google Contacts. You’ll get a cute little birthday cake icon on there to boot. Thing is, you can’t add notifications to these entries, so the “gift planning” piece of this is lost. Use this function to keep track of birthdays for folks you don’t want to forget, but that won’t necessarily receive a gift or card from you.
4. Deck the halls with…lots of cobwebs
There are a lot of moms out there who love decorating for holidays. Christmas and Thanksgiving might come to mind for you first, but I’m one of those who likes theatrics. And what better holiday to plan for than Halloween?
Go big or go home, I say. And so my planning and prop-making starts in June. (Pick your jaw up off of the floor, please – this is big time.)
So, naturally, I need to get this stuff on the calendar so I have enough time to get everything done (hours and hours go into this) and so I can work things around the husband’s hunting schedule in the fall.
My “Halloween Prep” calendar is set up with specific days for specific tasks, such as “Frankenstein’s Lab planning” or “Build Bride of Frankenstein’s lair.” I’ve also got the “Go to Costco for party food”-type-stuff on that one, too.
Shared with: Just me. I get others who help me involved by just connecting with them personally.
And for the record, I know folks raise an eyebrow about my holiday choice here, and that’s ok. Gets my creative side out there in a fun way! I’d be lying, though, if I said I didn’t feel a little vindicated after Modern Family aired for the first time in October a few years back that highlighted Claire Dunphey’s obsession with Halloween. 😉
5. Get off your arse & take action
Ok, I know you. You’ve got plans for yourself and for your family. Maybe that’s getting healthier and into great shape. Maybe it’s organizing all of your photos, or saving for a family vacation to somewhere awesome. Maybe you want to start a new business.
Time to stop talking and just start doing. Put Google Calendar to work, Mom.
First, download the Google Calendar app for Android or iPhone. Open that and then click the “+” on the bottom right, and choose “Goals.” Follow the user-friendly instructions from there to create time on your calendar to exercise, build a skill, make time for friends and family, read, organize stuff – anything you can think of!
Click here to see it in action:
Coolest thing is, the calendar will search for times in your day that are free for you to do this type of thing. No more excuses!
So, go ahead, Super Mom! Become an efficiency and productivity machine. Just remember to keep your Google Calendar easily accessible so you’re consistently being as organized as you can, and make sure to engage the rest of the fam with it, too.
Do you use Google Calendar? How have you used it to keep track of things for your family? Enter a comment below!