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Digital CalendarMy number one tip, first step towards being organized is to be running a diary or calendar and using it effectively. Hopefully you already have a diary or calendar running for 2012.

I've talked about it before, and I'll talk about it again, because my own calendar system is always evolving and cool new tools are always emerging.

Using a calendar is not just about keeping track of commitments you have made. It's one very important tool for driving your own life and keeping it on the path towards what matters to you. Be brave and fill up your calendar with fun things, necessary things, and things which will be unfamiliar to you but which you know will be good for you and good for the greater good. Your calendar can be a tool for stretching yourself. As we give ourselves opportunities to learn and grow, we are able to make a better contribution to our world. Yes, that's a bit deep, but it's good to look at the big picture "why" stuff as well as the fine detail "what and how" stuff. You don't just want to know what you're doing, you need to know why you're doing it.

To have your calendar or diary working for you effectively, you need to:-

- Select the right one for your needs
- Have a system you follow for using it
- Refer to it at least twice per day

As much as possible, it's better to be able to carry your calendar around with you so that you can see when you're available and enter new commitments on the spot. This might mean you use more than one, for example if you keep a family wall calendar in the kitchen, and also need to be able to make appointments when you are out and about.

We have a giant calendar in the kitchen which has the days of the month running from top to bottom, and six columns running across, one for each of the kids and one for me. This, providing it's kept up to date, allows us to plan as a family, taking each other's commitments into account. It's also good for the younger kids to develop their concept of time, and we can stick gold stars on there for a reward system. Weekends are highlighted so it's easy to see the weeks.

I know some of you are still hanging onto a paper diary, as I did myself for a while until Google improved things and I got used to the idea of going digital. A paper diary or appointment book means you have some work to do in preparation for each new year, entering things you know will be coming up, and is larger to carry around than a smart phone. Tablets such as iPads though, are about the same size as many paper diaries, but quite a bit more expensive.

I personally, have now made the leap to just a digital calendar on a cloud. No paper pages, nothing to be synced with my computer and phone.

Wherever I am, whatever computer, whatever new phone – my contacts list is there, my email accounts and my calendar. I can see at a glance what appointment slots are available for coaching, when my kids need to go to the orthodontist, outings, business appointments, regular activities like exercise, study, shopping, housework and time scheduled to do what I'm doing right now. Anything regular can be scheduled using the repeat function, right down to an sms reminder to put the rubbish bins out. I can drag and drop some flexible time boxed activities to make room for appointments, and I can colour code types of activities.

Some of the things to enter into your calendar or diary are:-

School terms and holidays
Term schedules for kids' activities, parent committee etc
Public holidays
Appointments, eg meetings, doctor, dentist, bank manager
Social events, eg parties, dates
Due dates for study assignments or work assignments or projects
Sporting events, competition dates
Regular appointments such as classes, practice sessions, lessons,
Your monthly cycle information
Fertile days if you are trying to conceive
Election dates when you need to vote
When your car is due for service
When you are due to make an appointment for the doctor, dentist etc
Pets vaccinations and flea treatments
Medications you need to take regularly but not daily
Dates for access or visitation for parents who don't live together
Vacation/holiday dates
Rubbish/garbage collection days (if you need reminding like me)

A digital calendar can also include a task list. I find this quite useful and love being able to tick things I've completed or drag and drop things to a different day.

Whichever type of calendar you use, you will also need either a document on your computer or a folder with loose leaf pages for your goals and planning. If you are using a digital calendar, you can add tasks to your task list from your goals and planning document. Your task list or to do list is always a work in progress, but is often used in conjunction with a diary or calendar. More about task lists and goal setting soon

Your calendar is there as a tool to run your life. You are in charge of what goes in your calendar and when you are available.

How we keep our calendar is a reflection of how much we respect and value ourselves, just like our appearance, our manner, our language, how we keep our home, our car, how we are in our relationships. Keep this in mind as you construct and maintain your calendar. Be prepared to say no, be prepared to say yes, write or type your decisions in there with confidence, with useful detail, and be prepared to change your decisions if there is good reason to, if it is in your best interests, and be prepared to commit to what you know is a good decision.


#5 MaryBeth 2013-07-16 17:47
It's a good thing to have a digital calendar, but do you have any back up just in case your gadgets running out of battery or you need info or phone number while you're on the phone? How about if you lost your cellphone as well?
#4 YvetteSLB 2012-10-05 04:21
Hello Vee. I'm not an expert on available types of online calendars. Yes, I'm currently using Google, but thank you for suggesting that one for comparison. LifeHacker seems to be a good source of info about this kind of thing. Thank you for reading and commenting.
#3 Vee 2012-09-25 04:32
Have you compared/evaluated Mead's Cozi calendar system? I'm concerned about privacy, but in reading your blog, it sounds like you are sold on gmail cal/including use of the google cloud? Wondering if you can provide some comparisons or would you recommend the best product out there for moms/families, as the one you have adopted? Thank you in advance!
#2 FreeFromGuru 2012-03-22 15:16
Loving my gmail calendar on iPhone, like having the pc in your pocket.

One other feature to mention - including the email address of others (spouse/kids especially) who also need to have the event in their diary is great.
#1 christine hayes 2012-03-02 05:41
I agree


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