Calendars For Busy Moms

Recently I was reading an article about how to keep your calendar updated, stay organized, and manage a household.  Those are the types of ideas I’m always looking out for, so the article quickly caught my attention.  There were tons of practical tips, but the whole time I was reading it I was thinking there was NO way I could make them work at my house.

When I got to the end of the article, I realized why.  The author didn’t have any kids!  I have four little people that live at my house and destroy the bulk of my attempts at organization each and every day.  Four of them!  As a busy mom I have to be on top of my game all the time.  Claire on Modern Family said it best, “I take my eye off the ball for one minute and I’ve got one kid in a coma, one with a black eye, and one running a crime ring.”

I have two things that I use to manage my time and my household (and not get too overwhelmed in the process).  Without them I’m not sure how I’d make it through the day.  What are they?  My electronic calendar and my paper calendar.  That’s right, both electronic and paper.  Here’s why:

In order to schedule the comings and goings of all of the people in my house, I had to start using an electronic calendar.  Why?  There are six people in my house and keeping them all straight on a paper calendar was just too hard to do (even when I tried using different colored pens).  On an electronic family calendar, each person gets assigned a color and you can easily identify what’s going on with each person in the family with a quick glance.

But more importantly, you can schedule activities to repeat on a daily or weekly basis in about two seconds.  Before I used an electronic calendar I had to hand write all of the repetitive activities (think dance class, soccer, gymnastics, youth group).  Now I just type them in once and click the “repeat” button.  Easy!

And finally, all the members of our family can access our electronic calendar from any computer or smart phone, or we can print it.  My family uses the Cozi electronic calendar and has been for about five years.  It’s free, intuitive, and honestly can’t be beat.  I could sing the praises of Cozi all day long and how it has revolutionized my time management skills.  Try it out for your family, I have no doubt you’ll agree.

If I love my electronic calendar so much, why do I use a paper calendar too?  Because I still need a place to write things down for myself.  Even though I’ve gone all modern with a family electronic calendar, I’m still old school enough that I want an agenda of my own that I can actually write on.

So, each week on Sunday I print out a copy of my Cozi electronic calendar for the week and transfer my activities to my paper calendar. This process prepares me mentally for the week ahead by giving me a chance to review my schedule, write out my to do list, and decide on meals for my family.

I’ve bought many paper calendars over the years, but my favorite by far is the Day Planner by momAgenda.  It is stylish looking on the outside (yes, it’s true, a stylish calendar) and incredibly functional on the inside, especially for busy moms.  If you’ve been searching for just the right paper calendar, then look no further than the momAgenda.  Although it’s slightly more pricey than your typical calendar, this is NOT your typical calendar so the extra cost is well worth it.  And there are a number of free printables on the momAgenda website to enhance your planning (check out the grocery list, it’s my favorite!).

What resources do you use to manage your busy schedule?  Paper calendars, electronic, or both?  I know I might be kind of over the top using both, but for me it works.  What works for you?  Do you have any products that you just love?  Let us know!  We busy moms need all the help we can get!

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About Dr. Polly Dunn

Child clinical psychologist, wife, and mom of four blogging about her 'Perfectly Imperfect' parenting solutions.

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