Stay Organized, Stay Sane

As parents, we often have 15 things going on that we are trying to remember and accomplish at any given moment. Aside from careers and the everyday things - making sure there is food in the house, the kids have clean clothes to wear to school tomorrow, the electric bill got paid – we have to keep track of lessons, practices, games, doctor’s appointments, school events, and oh so very much more. No matter what we do, it always seems as if something gets forgotten, something falls through the cracks (I’ve paid my share of charges for missed doctor’s appointments). With any luck, it is nothing major but even forgetting the smallest things cause tremendous guilt. We feel like we are failing, not doing our job, not living up to our responsibilities.

So what can we do? How can we start to become more organized? More importantly, how can we make sure the whole family is on the same page? The best and most important thing you can do is establish a family calendar. In this time of smartphones, tablets, and laptops, make them your biggest asset and choose a calendar app that can function for the whole family. This way, everyone has access to the whole family’s schedule at any time. If one of the kid’s doctor’s appointments gets rescheduled, Dad can update the calendar on his phone and it updates the calendar on every device. But with so many options out there, what do you choose?

Cozi: By far one of the best options out there and it’s free! When setting up calendars, each family member can be assigned a color for quickly locating information. Calendars can be set up individually for each family member and they will sync to a complete family calendar. For even more accuracy, you can subscribe to your children’s school calendar to stay up to date on events and breaks. One of the most convenient things about Cozi is text and email reminders can be sent for certain items.

HomeLife: Also free and also offering individual family member calendars and a combined calendar, HomeLife also has the capability to sync with Outlook and import data from your Google calendar. Events and appointments can be tagged and color coded for easy sorting and locating and it even has the option to invite other friends and family members to view certain calendars.

Jibidee: Like Cozi, Jibidee allows for the color coding of each family member for easier viewing on the combined family calendar. This free option will have the capability to sync with Outlook and other calendars with the next upgrade but offers the bonus feature of being able to create “sticky notes” and lists. This little gem of a feature can be invaluable when you need to remember it your turn to bring snacks to little league.

Wunderlist: Offering the individual and synced family calendar, Wunderlist also is a great “reminder” app for families on the go. Family members have the ability to add items to a shopping list, assign or remind someone of a chore or task that needs to be completed, and set event and appointment reminders. It also has the fantastic option of allowing you to print a hard copy to keep at the office or on the refrigerator.

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