Friday Faves-Google Calendar

Intended for:  those who walk a thick line between being an uber neat-freak and organized and yet somehow still messy and scatter-brained

 There was one day in particular that I came home from work and told Scott that I had blocked off a week of vacation in September for his birthday.  With a quizzical look, he asked me “Why?  My birthday is in August.”   Oh boy.  Hand to forehead, foot crammed in mouth.  In a way, it ended up being the best birthday gift I could ever give Scott.  For the next year, anytime we had a difference in opinion on where to eat, or what to do, or what movie to see …Scott would just  pull out the “you didn’t know my birthday” card and suddenly we were eating Taco Bell and watching “The Transporter 2.”

So this week’s Friday Fave is not as sugary to the taste buds as last week’s S’mashing S’mores, but it has made my life and marriage a lot more sweeter.

Despite that one huge forgetful error, I would consider myself an avid planner.   I love to schedule out my days and months to maximize the most out of every precious hour of free time.  I used to carry one of those fillable student calendars in my backpack wherever I went.  I finally transitioned to a technological version, the Microsoft Outlook Calendar.  For years, I catalogued daily tasks, birthdays, appointments, travel plans in my handy-dandy Outlook calendar.  I still remember my customized color-coding

  • Green-Travel involved (this included exercising because I figured running was technically a form of traveling)
  • Red-Family
  • Purple-Personal
  • Black-Work (ha ha, I guess my day job isn’t exactly a bright rainbow in my day)
  • Blue-birthdays
  • Gray-Things that were related to finance or needed special attention/preparation

I used to just gaze wistfully at my outlook calendar (below).  I just thought it was so pretty.

Example of my personal outlook calendar screen shot

The downside was that I have to have access to my computer to be able to see it. 

One of the best investments that we made last year was we got new phones.  I always had a simple flip-open cell phone with a limited text plan.  Scott convinced me to try out a Google Droid phone with a data plan.  And we switched over to using Google calendar to record all our appointments and events.  Google calendar is a free, online source that is provided for anyone who signs up for a gmail email account (which I also highly recommend). 

The best thing Google Calendar offers me is that Scott and I can actually share a calendar.  It syncs up our calendar so that it shows entries I make (marked in red) and entries he makes (marked in blue).  Now, when I make an doctor’s appointment for our daughter and enter it in my calendar.  It instantly appears in his calendar.

We used to have those lovely discussions where one of us insists the other person never mentioned that they were going golfing that Saturday.  Now the “calendar rule” prevails.  If it is on the Google Calendar (below), then it is set in stone.

Picture of a shared google calendar

One of my other favorite organization tool is the To-Do List.   The one thing that Scott and I always ask each other is  “Okay, this is what I would like to accomplish today.  What would you like to accomplish?”   And I always have a list of things ready to go. 

But I really have to write it down.  This old lady brain can’t rely on memory all that much.  I feel so scatterbrained when my mind is throwing out random thoughts every 5 seconds. 

Me thinking to myself: “I should empty the trash.”

 While I’m getting out a new trash liner, I see some dishes in the sink: I should wash some dishes.  Oh, but I should probably refill the dish soap container.  I bought some dish soap from Wal-mart.  Oh, the bag is in my trunk.  I should clean out my car. Did I enter that receipt for gas yet?  I should see if I can find that shirt on Amazon…”

If you see ever see me at home walking around in a daze, just picture that conversation because it’s playing out in my head.  And somewhere between walking to the car, I’ll sit down at my computer to check facebook and suddenly I’ve forgotten everything.  So, I like to write down lists every day. 

My new trick is to combine my To-Do List with my Google Calendar.  I simply create an all-day event for the day.  And in the details, I write out tasks and goals, varied from easy/short to difficult/involved tasks for the day.   Then I can just erase each line as I go.  It rewards me with such a feeling of accomplishment when I get to kick stuff off the list.  If I run out of time, I move the list to the next day in my calendar and I know I’ll wake up with goals already laid out.

Here’s my actual list for today.  Sadly, I only got through a third of the list.

Screenshot of Google Calendar Task Details To-Do List

I can create an appointment or I can use it to make a task list for myself.

 Running around?  I access my calendar and goals via my cellular phone.

side by side of galaxy phone showing google calendar and to do list

Now I can carry my calendar around in my pocket.

 There’s probably tons of other applications out there to help organize your life.  This is just one way that helps me keep on track from the day-to-day hustle and bustle.

By the way, I am looking for lunch dates to fill up my calendar.  Any takers?

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