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Calendar Craziness

on October 20, 2013

True confession time, I am a person who tries really hard to be highly organized, but there are times when that just epicly fails.  In one area of my life, I thought I had things together, but a small incident made me face reality–it only looked like I had things together (which is pretty much how I operate.  Thus, the name of my blog).

What organizational issue was bringing me down?  What made me do a palm to the forehead and think, you are kind of an idiot sometimes?  It had to do with one of the most important organizational areas of my life, which is why it probably bugged me so much.  My calendars.  Yes, that was calendars plural.  Due to the fact that there are too many calendars in my life, I dropped the ball on something.  I scheduled an outing with my daughter’s girl scout troop on the one weekend I am out of town for work.  Seriously, how does one do that!  Well, here’s how.  These were the calendars in my life:

1) iPhone calendar–to keep track of all personal events like GS stuff, doctor appointments, family events, dinners with friends, fun weekend outings, etc.  And some of my out side of work work stuff like committee work, part time job work, etc.

2)  My work calendar.  This keeps track of all my full-time job work obligations and appointments.  My job requires lots of travelling around town and many meetings–all of which need to be kept in the calendar provided by my email client so my higher ups can figure out where I am during the day if needed.

3)  Two paper calendars.  Both of these are through he ARC system from Staples.  One is in a small purse sized ARC notebook that also contains my address list, important business cards, etc.  The other is a larger version that I keep in my work bag and take to any meetings and also includes notes pages.

4)  Dry erase calendar on our fridge.  This is part of our command center and helps keep all of us up to date on important things going on for me, my husband, the kiddo, and as a family.  Above this is a Martha Stewart weekly calendar fridge sticky where I write down the meals we will have each day for the next week or two.  Mainly, I just transfer what’s on my phone calendar to this “public” space.

5)  My list of to-do items that I keep in an app on my phone.  This is mainly for the reminders I need about a task or chore that is out of our normal routine.  For example, call to set up flu shots, clean carpet on main floors, fix daughter’s broken slipper, etc.  While not a traditional one, I still think of this as a calendar because it tells me what I need to do or where I need to go.

So, with five or six calendars, how could a girl possibly lose track of one important piece of information?  I think the question answers itself.  I needed a solution, but I needed to really examine what my requirements were before I got started, or I would just have a whole new mess on my hands down the road.

My needs:

1)  I needed something portable that would fit in my purse–my phone was logical choice because it is now my go to center for info (like many people I am sure)

2)  I also needed it somewhere other than my phone.  The calendar on the iPhone has randomly deleted EVERYTHING on a more than one occasion.  Hence, the paper calendar back-ups.

3)  I needed to be able to access it at work–meaning something our filter wouldn’t block.

4)  I wanted to be able to add things to my phone calendar and an online calendar and have them talk to each other.

If you look at all of this, and you are at all technologically savvy, your automatic response might be Google Calendar!  It will do all of those things and color code them and send me reminders.  Huzzah!  And, yes, this was a definite option, but up until a few months ago, that was not something I could access while at work and therefore had never considered.  But, now I can!  That means my life just got a whole lot simpler.  Here’s the how and the why…

First of all, I already had a gmail account.  Without one, you cannot use Google calendar.  While in my mail account, I simply click over the the calendar.  Super simple!  From there, I add my events.  ALL of my events–that includes kiddo activities, date nights, bill pay reminders, work meetings and appointments, committee meetings and appointments, family events, etc.  If it is an event in my life, my daughter’s, or my husband’s that will affect my schedule in any way, it goes in the Google calendar.  I did color code things so that when looking at the calendar online I can differentiate between who is doing what.  It is very very easy to submit events online.  The initial set-up was a little time intensive (1 1/2 hours, I kid you not) and involved my having my paper calendars, phone calendar, and work calendars at the ready.  I took everything in each of them and added them to the new Google calendar.  Part of the reason why this took so long was that I was also updating the other calendars at the same time making sure everything was consistent from one to the next.  From here on out, if it goes in one calendar it is immediately written down in the others.

Next, I synced this calendar with my iPhone.  This was more complicated than I imagined it being and required some help from some online forums.  It all comes down to what type of iPhone you have.  I just Googled syncing Google Calendar with iPhone and found some helpful tips.  Half an hour later, my phone calendar was now my Google calendar.  I did have to go back and erase all of the events I had already entered into my phone, but that was not hard, just tedious.  I waited to do this until after I proved to myself the sync would actually worked both ways–events save to my phone show up in the online calendar and vice versa.  Once it worked, I felt safe to remove the now duplicate entries.  My one complaint about syncing the items is that the color coding I put online does not translate to the iPhone calendar.  Everything just shows up gray.  But, I still color code just because I look at the online version quite frequently too.

Then, I did a little celebration dance in my chair.  Finally, everything was connected!  Well, almost everything.  I did attempt to find out how to sync my work and Google calendars so I didn’t have to enter everything twice, but alas, they will not play well together.  So, when I enter events on my work calendar, I have my Google calendar open too and just add them to both places.  Sort of a pain, but not too time consuming.

Now, what to do about the paper calendars.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE the ARC systems, and I had systems that worked really well for me when using them, but things have changed.  Obviously my calendars system is different, but so are how I track my to-do items and my shopping lists.  This will require some more thought on my part.  I still want to be able to use them, but need to do so in a way that makes sense.  Hopefully, there will be more on the paper calendars soon.  Also look for a post on FREE to-do list apps in the next few weeks.  I’m trying a few out and will share my thoughts on each.

For now, I am just blissfully happy that the new Google calendar arrangement seems to be working.  I am one week in and so very very happy it is all going smoothly.  Fingers crossed that it makes life a bit easier and more organized.



One response to “Calendar Craziness

  1. […] finally, I worked on organizing my calendars and to-do lists.  Mainly I had trouble because I had too many of them–between paper and […]

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