Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Staying Organized - Family Calendaring

So I don't know if "calendaring" is a real word but I'm running with it.  Our family has a lot of moving pieces - three kids in activities, two working parents, you get the idea.  I get asked often about how we stay organized and although I was super resistant (#teampaperplannerforever) we switched to using shared apple calendars last year and it's been THE BEST THING EVER!

The main problem that I had with my paper planner was that I didn't have access to it all the time - and if I had it with me inevitably Dave would need to see it for some reason and it just wasn't working at all.  I know that some of y'all are like, "seriously?!?! she's blogging about Apple calendar... I've used that for years" and I get it!  I wish I had listened sooner!  So today's post is for those of y'all on the same struggle bus we were on, ok? ;) 

Here's how we set ours up... every kid has their own "calendar", I have my own calendar and then we have a family calendar, meal plan calendar and "school work" calendar (for Griffin mainly).  Dave and I share all of these so we can see them from our phones, laptop and desktop computers.  

The kids calendars are for their individual practices, parties, events., big due dates for school, etc.   My calendar is for things that just pertain to me (hair appointment, dinner with friends, etc.) and the family calendar is for things that involve our whole family (i.e. school play, church small group dinner, etc.)

The "Griffin School" calendar is where we put her memory verse and spelling words for the week.  That way if we're waiting at football practice or stuck at the oil change place or WHEREVER we have the spelling list and memory verse handy without having to track down an email or look through our camera rolls.  We've had one of these for Mason as well, but he's handling his own studying this year so he's in charge of keeping track of his words and verse.

The other calendar that we share on our devices is our "meal calendar" - we typically meal plan on Saturday morning and shop/prep that afternoon but keeping it as a shared calendar helps us remember what we're making the next day so one of us can pull out frozen chicken, etc. 

Okay - so here's what I love about using apple calendar...

- It's shared!!!  If Dave's at the coaches meeting and finds out that practice times are changed for the coming week he just makes the change in the calendar without having to tell me, write it down, etc.  I love that the family calendar really is shared between us and it's not "my planner" and he's unaware of all the things that are going on.

- You can set reminders!  This has been another big help for me - I love that I can add an event (i.e. bringing dinner to a co-worker on the 18th) and have a reminder set for the 16th (and the 17th!) so I remember to prep that and get it to them.  

- I feel like it's compatible with EVERYTHING! Maybe I've just had my head stuck in the sand for years and years but I love that I can RSVP yes to an evite or confirm an appointment from an email and in one click can add it to a calendar.  

We have a large calendar on the fridge where we also write down the meal plan and any big events that are coming up (birthday parties, games, etc.)... things that the kids will more than likely ask about and things that they like to have a visual of.

I've also started keeping my to-do-list on the "reminders" app on my phone... I like that I can schedule them out on future days and, again, I love that I have access to the list wherever.  I've always been the worst about making a list and then losing it halfway through the day so this has been working really well for me. 

As far as my blog goes, I'm still paper all the way (in general).  I have a notebook where I "schedule" things out and then make notes, check posts off as I write them, etc. but a lot of the daily tasks for the blog will then go on the reminders app on my phone/computer. 

And yes, I still use a paper planner for my school stuff.  I'll share that later if y'all are interested but it's pretty much the same as it's always been.

I REALLY hope that this post was helpful for at last one person.  I know that last year I felt like something had to "give" in the organizational department with keeping our family running smoothly and giving up my paper planner and switching to digital has been exactly what we needed to get back on track!

If you have any calendaring tips or tricks please leave them in the comments.  

HAPPY Tuesday, friends!


  1. I loved this post! I love anything having to do with being organized. I've switched over to my Google calendar in the past six months for the same reason as you- I needed all the time and easy access. I'm so old fashioned and still prefer paper, but it just doesn't make sense anymore. Also, I'm getting older and my brain just doesn't work as sharply as it used to! Thanks for sharing with us!

  2. I have not jumped on the digital calendar bandwagon yet either. You mention everyone having their own calendar. Do you have to look at each individual calendar when adding something or does it merge them all into one so you can see at a glance what is taking place on a certain day?

    1. Yes! This is my question too! As a parent of teenagers...can we all change things as they come up and all see the changes?

    2. Each color is a different person but I have them all displayed at the same time so you can see everyone’s “stuff” on one calendar. So for example, in my first pic the red items are our “meal calendar” and the yellow are our family calendar. The purple dots are Griffin and green are luke. On the left hand side I can deselect which calendars I don’t want to see - but everything that’s selected displays on one calendar. And YES! As long as you’re sharing calendars (I’ll post a pic later if how to do that) if someone changes something it changes it on everyone’s.

  3. We have started using Cozi app and I am loving it!

  4. Oh my gosh, this has changed my life. I did not know you could do this. I'm not tech savy :) Thank you for sharing!

  5. I've been using Cozi too and I'm loving it!!

  6. I'm on the bus. Help me. Please help. Get me off.

  7. I am a Google user, so this may be different for Apple, but how do your kids access their calendar? Or do they not, and it's just a way to visually organize for you?

  8. Loved my paper calendars for so many reasons but had to give them up for digital several years ago due to too many teenagers to keep up with ;)
    This year we bought digital frames for all the grandparents (instead of the traditional photo books) and that has been a “win” too. Sigh. I like the non-clutter of digital but miss the color and creativity of paper products


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