Kim’s colorful mix of digital and paper calendars is a helpful example of time management for busy families. A mother of three active boys, Kim is a writer, producer and actor. (You can check out an important safety video for kids she produced here.) She’s one of those moms that make you wonder, “How does she do it?” Well, read on and find out!
Describe your current time management system: its components, how it works, and how it came to be.
I started keeping a calendar in high school, and was rather obsessive about writing down everything I did, every day. You can ask me what I did on Tuesday afternoon January 25, 1984, and I will be able to tell you that I cleaned my room that day, and probably started a diet. I kept all of them, see:
So I was really used to the idea of a paper calendar and persevered for as long as possible, much to the amusement of my more tech-savvy friends.
But as with all things, everything changed with children! I have three overscheduled boys and managing their schedules is a test each week. So I started writing down a lot less, and I went digital. I of course also stopped cleaning my room and going on diets.
I keep a master Google calendar that I can access from my desktop, laptop and iPhone. I find it both convenient and functional. The “repeat” option alone is a life saver. I can’t imagine having to rewrite their same daily activities each week in a paper planner. I have separate color-coded calendars for each of my boys, myself and my husband.
A couple of years ago, I realized that the boys (only one of whom is old enough for a phone) needed something each week to have a sense of what was going to happen in their lives. For this, I get to use my old paper habits.
I order these brightly colored weekly planners from Erin Condren and post them each week in my kitchen. I only write down the events that the kids are a part of on this calendar. This visual is great because they can see what is coming, say a field trip for school, or if my husband and I will be out one night. I feel like it makes them feel more organized and secure to see it each week.
Why does this system work for you given your life now? In other words, what’s good about it?
The Google calendar is really useful because I can share the boys’ calendars with my parents and in-laws, so if they are helping out with a pickup they know when and where to go. Having separate calendars means that I don’t have to share all the details of my life, just the ones pertaining to the boys. My husband uses our Google calendar for all family-related and personal events, and a different calendar for his business events.
I also love being able to have the calendar on my phone, so I can add things as they come up, and I am constantly checking it, since I live in fear I am going to forget someone and miss a pick up! Also, my school has this neat feature on their website where I can subscribe to the school calendar and it merges with mine. This way I am not surprised with early dismissals, random days off (but of course I am very supportive of Faculty Development Day!) and all important assemblies AND I don’t have to write them all down, and possibly make a mistake. It is all there, accurate and effortless.
Also, I can set up reminders for myself, so my phone will zap me when its time to leave for a pickup, or I have to remember to pack lunch for a field trip the next day.
How does your system fall short? What aspects of it could be improved?
So far my system is working, but I am always looking for tweaks!
Read more about the series and how other real women manage their time by clicking here.