Family life has a lot of routine to it. A lot of us keep the routines in our heads and use our calendars just to manage the exceptions. But trying to keep track of everything in our heads actually adds to the stress of keeping the family running smoothly. “Clearing the Mental Clutter” is good advice.
So how can you use your calendar to help you clear the clutter, keep things running smoothly AND be your safety net? Here are a few simple tips:
#1 Keep the recurring appointments in the calendar and include addresses and contact numbers
If you are sick or your babysitter is sick and someone else like Grandma or a friend are filling in, you can simply forward the calendar item and all the info is there. Often, a spouse who isn’t as familiar with the routine is trying to fill in. Set them up for success by having these details in the calendar when you create the appointment in the first place.
#2 Capture cancellations in the calendar
If the piano lesson or the soccer practice gets cancelled, update the calendar to say something like “Piano Lessons Cancelled Today”. If you just delete it, when you look at that week, your first thought will be, “Did piano get cancelled?” Turn that question into a statement. You want to be confident that it’s cancelled and not force yourself to remember why the appointment isn’t in the calendar anymore. If you’ve got a babysitter managing the schedule, this will also save you from getting an unnecessary text in the middle of your workday asking to confirm whether or not Piano Lessons are actually cancelled.
#3 Put reminders in the calendar
A lot of these routine appointments involve things you need to remember. If your child needs to remember to wear a white shirt and black pants to her choir assembly on Wednesday at school, add an item to your calendar for the night before to remember to lay out those clothes. You may even need a second reminder so those items are clean so you’re sure you can set them out the night before. Google Now and Cortana are great ways to capture these reminders in your calendar and by doing so, you’re getting them out of your head and putting them into your calendar to remind you when you can actually act on those things.
Part of the stress of juggling a family AND a profession is keeping track of all of these details. By dumping these details into your calendar, you remember things at the right time and your calendar becomes a safety net when you need a friend or family member to fill in for you.