Jan 20, 2009

Works for Me: Google Calendar

It happened gradually, starting when Alex was born nearly four years ago, and then escalating dramatically when Tyler was born two years ago: DISORGANIZATION.

Before kids, I was one of the most Type-A, organized people you would ever meet. Now, I sometimes struggle to remember to pay the bills on time.

Here's one way I've learned to adapt: I no longer have a paper calendar on my desk. There was no point – half the time, I wouldn't be able to find it, one quarter of the time, I'd forget to write something down, and the other quarter of the time, I'd forget to look something up. I realized I needed another way.

My new way turned out to be Google Calendar. It has a reminder function that I use constantly. I list appointments and send myself multiple reminders – usually one week ahead, and then the day before, and sometimes additional reminders if I need to act before the actual event. I've even created a recurring weekly event, with a corresponding weekly reminder, to remind myself to pocket my office key card every Monday morning. That became a necessity after I forgot the card three Mondays in a row upon returning from my maternity leave after Tyler's birth.

The reminders are particularly useful for events scheduled way ahead of time that I'm likely to forget because my brain simply has no room left to store extraneous information. Things like calling in to the jury duty phone line to see if I am supposed to report the next day, and dental appointments that were scheduled at our last cleaning six months ago.

I simply can't keep track of paper anymore, but with Google Calendar, I don't have to. I must admit, I don't keep notes on it the way I would on paper – partly because an online appointment book doesn't feel anything like a journal, and partly because I just don't feel comfortable putting personal details and information online, even though logic tells me it's perfectly secure. But that's okay – Google Calendar keeps me from dropping the ball on so many things, and that's all I ask.

Find more Works for Me Wednesday tips at Rocks in My Dryer.


Gina @ MoneywiseMoms said...

I just switched to Google calendar and am trying to get used to not using paper--it's hard--so I'm still using a checkbook sized one. How do you deal with being out & about and not having a calendar to check? That's where I get stuck.

Catherine said...

We have started using Google Calendar for me and my hubby. I can sync Google with Outlook and then my (rather old) Palm with Outlook, so I'm always up to date. My husband recently got a Blackberry, so he's always on Google now. Sigh. I could be so fortunate.

Great post!

Michelle said...

We switched to Google Calendar in October for my husband & I - and now I can't live without it!!

Micah and Katie said...

We LOVE google calendar too. Hubby has it all set up with different colors for each of us, dates that we are for sure attending and even a special color for tentative advents.

I love google. Have you tried google docs to keep all your recipes! Its great I love the search feature that I can find my recipe in a snap!

Diane said...

I posted about this too last week for works for me WEd. I love it and then I found out about the reminders even better!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Great post on Google Calendar. I've tried so many times to go paperless with my planner but I always go back. I love to be able to take random notes. I always have my planner with me.

I might give it one more try in the sometime soon. I would have to remind myself about everything too.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I'll have to give this a go then! I'm still trying to find a system that works for me. Currently, I'm working off of memory - which works ok most of the time. I've been blessed with a great memory for the smallest details. But, occasionally I'm overwhelmed with stuff and I can't remember certain things. Plus, it's stressful trying to remember EVERYTHING! I want a place to put it all down. Paper doesn't work, I've tried that. I'll do really well for a week and then I just don't sit down and do anything with it. But, I'm always on Google, so maybe this is an option...and it's free, which we financial types really like! Thanks!

Chief Family Officer said...

@Gina - If I have to make a note for something, I'll do it in my cell phone. But it really hasn't been a problem for me - of course, I work so most of the time that I'm not with my computer at home, I'm with my computer at work.

@Katie - Hm, different colors, I hadn't thought of that. Brilliant! And no on the recipes - sounds great, but I haven't had time to think about new recipes much lately!

Anonymous said...

I also just got my entire family on Google Calendar. It works out great because I can see not only my schedule, but my parents' (my caregivers!) schedules as well. And they can see ours.

My mom isn't quite on board. She still trasnfers everything from Google onto her paper calendar.

Even better, it's synched with my BlackBerry!


Anonymous said...

I too use Google Calendar. It's great. I've created one for my husband and I as well as one for myself. My favorite part is that if I create a household entry it will automatically appears on his calendar. So we don't have the "you didn't tell me about this" conversations!