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Extreme Calendaring: the Full Contact Sport of Life - Evolved Mommy

Extreme Calendaring: the Full Contact Sport of Life

| On 01, Jul 2011

Guest post by Kerri Case, the snarky and poignant author of Damn You, Little Rock and co-founder of the Southern Girl Academy. You can and should follow her on Twitter @kerrijack

I am writing this post quickly because I am under the threat of terrible retribution if I don’t get it done. I actually kind of forgot about it. Not because I didn’t want to do it, but because I didn’t put it on my calendar. If it doesn’t go on the calendar, it won’t happen.

Kerri originally posted this screen shot on Facebook. It’s how I knew we were, indeed, soul mates.

Despite the fact my house has more tall people than short people, it is virtually impossible to keep straight the 200 things that have to happen every day to keep things running. Between two jobs, 1.5 kids (it’s complicated), two dogs, birthday parties, dental appointments, hair cuts, church activities and stuff I somehow volunteered to do, stuff can slip through the cracks. I can assure you, the “Um, are you going to pick up your son?” phone call is not one that makes DHS smile.

So after the second call like that, (What?) it became clear we needed a system. So the family calendar was born. I’m the tiniest bit extreme. When I commit to a system, I’m all in. We won’t even begin to delve into the psychosis that is my laundry system or how I throw parties.

Every family member is assigned a color. Each person 18 and older is required to update his or her calendar with travel, work schedules that change from week-to-week and anything that may affect my schedule. I enter my son’s school calendar with conferences, early dismissal days and school plays. I downloaded calendars with national holidays and Razorback football games, which really should be the same thing, if the world were just and right.

I have three calendars just for myself. One is for the other family members to see: these are usually after-hours appointments or activities others will be involved in. The other two are for work-related stuff: lunch meetings, deadlines, etc. Those are not shared because no one else cares what my work deadlines are. For some reason I’ve never been able to correct, when I synced my Facebook birthdays with my calendar, everyone got two days of celebration.

The system is not foolproof, as evidenced by sending my husband to a birthday party for our son’s classmate a week early. However, it’s saved me more often than I care to mention. For my kidless friends who told me my system was “too structured and restrictive,” I refer them simply to the late policy at daycare: $2 per minute payable in cash before they release the kid.

Structure is a lot less expensive than late fees.

While Kerri likes Google Calendar, I prefer iCal. Either way, we both have a passion for color coding.

UPDATE: This article was originally scheduled to post a week ago, but sometimes things happen that throw the entire calendar out the window. This week a dear friend of mine died suddenly, and unexpectedly. As soon as I found out I packed the car and hit the road to my hometown without even a glance at the calendar. While it’s important to plan, it’s also important to know when none of those plans matter.

How do you manage your chaos?

Comments

  1. First of all, sorry about your friend.

    Second, as a fellow organizational freak and scheduling nut, I have to recommend an even better solution. You’ve probably heard me rave about Cozi before. It’s everything these calendars offer plus tons more functionality and features. YOU WILL LOVE IT. Check out http://www.cozi.com

    And I know this whole post sounded spammy but it’s not.

    • I’m going to check out cozi now. What features do you love in particular?

  2. Kim

    I love this ~ How do I get a calendar like the one pictured?

    • Kim, the one Kerri uses is google calendar and it’s free. Just go to google.com to get started. I believe you’ll need to set up a gmail email account, but that’s no biggie. I can walk you through it if needed. Mine is iCal, which is a Mac program and comes standard on Mac computers.

  3. Girls after my own heart! Color coding is the only way to go. My inbox at work is organized by color and it helps tremendously — my boss is red, stuff I cc to myself is grayed out, clients are pink, creative director is yellow, etc. It’s AWESOME. This post has inspired me to attack my calendar with a box of crayons! :)

    • Sarah, remember paper calendars? Weren’t they cute? I used different colored highlighters back then. Oh the glory days.

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