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May
28
2013

Time management for dummies: How Google saved my sanity

in Time Management

calendar

Photo by magurka on www.sxc.hu

Drowning in a sea of events, must-dos, and a traveling spouse, Google tossed me a life preserver and pulled me to shore. I believe that the invention of Google calendar is one of the essential elements of maintaining sanity in my household. Allow me to explain.

I heart Google

As my kids got older, they each started having more things to do. I first tried to keep it all on a calendar in the kitchen. The problem was that my husband would schedule a dinner with a client on the same night that a child had a performance. Soon we’d be in a bind. We tried to communicate all the upcoming events, but things slipped through the cracks.

Soon I discovered Google calendar. I created a family email address and we use it only for the calendar. I keep all the kids’ extracurricular activities on it, my husband puts all of his late-night bike rides and traveling on it, and we keep weekend family get-togethers and camping trips there too. Anything that could affect another member of the family is shared on this one calendar.

I have the app on my phone, and we both have it on the computer. Since we started using this, we haven’t double-booked once. The trick is to actually keep it updated.

A second calendar

My work is in a second calendar. That printed planner allows me to keep up with deadlines and assignments as well as word count and what I am suppose to work on each day. Mid-month I will begin writing out the next month’s specifics. If I have a deadline on the 30th, I’ll figure out how long that will take and start spreading it out across the month.

Each weekend, I breakdown the time more specifically. I know that on Monday morning from 9:00 till noon, I should be able to knock out 1,000 words in a specific project. I give myself a lunch break and then write in some social media time before heading out for carpool.

This calendar allows me to see professional progress and stay on track with meeting goals and deadlines. It is also great for personal challenges like the 30 submissions in 30 days that I just completed.

Why two calendars?

I find the two-calendar method essential because, as a work-from-home mom, I have to strive to keep work and family separate. Having an online family calendar makes for effortless communication between family members, and having a printed work calendar makes it easy to carry my schedule and add to it as needed. The specific breakdown of each given day provides a much stronger connection for my visual mind.

Your turn

What kind of calendar or planning system works for you? How do you maintain it? Comment below.

In the next time management installment I’ll share my secret stash that is great in a pinch.

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