I love our family wall calendar! You can laugh, but here is why. Each year we get a brand new calendar, a clean slate to "start over", a new opportunity to put things in order for the coming year. Also, with each new month we get to flip to a clean page to get a mini clean slate. By the end of the month, my calendar is pretty full, so flipping over to the next month, which is usually mostly clean, is very "refreshing".
We have a single family wall calendar that has everyone's appointments and activities on it. It's a great way to know exactly where everybody needs to be on any given day. It hangs on my refrigerator right next to the kitchen counter area that we use most, so it's hard NOT to see it several times a day!
Here are some tips for using a calendar to its fullest potential:
1) Get a calendar that has large boxes for plenty of writing room.
2) Write every appointment or activity, etc. onto the calendar as soon as you can so it doesn't get forgotten.
3) Color code your calendar. I prefer to write everything on the calendar with an ink pen. Then I highlight the item with a colored pencil, using a different color for each individual in my family, and one color that is for the entire family. Use what works best for you. I tried colored markers, but if the color wasn't dark enough, it was hard to read the words, and too many dark colors look similar from across the kitchen.
4) Have fun with it! The family will learn to look there to know what's going on.
Here is a sample from my calendar. You can see how everyone's
activities are color coded. My kids like to look at the calendar to
find their color on it. Soon they'll be able to read what it says.
I'm currently using Amy Knapp's Big Grid Family Organizer as I have for several years now. This is a
great large grid calendar with lots of room for writing things in the
daily boxes (2 x 3.5 inches of room) as well as in the list areas
provided around the perimeter of the calendar. There is also a small area to write down your dinner plans which I find helpful for both planning, and trying to remember when those leftovers were put into the refrigerator! It also comes with 300
fun stickers and some perforated "to do" lists you can pull off at the
back. It hangs 22 inches by 15 inches when opened. I can't recommend it enough!
You may also want to carry a planner around with you to help organize your day, especially if you work outside of the home. The question is, "Do you prefer paper or electronics?" There are a great many electronic devices out these days to help you keep things in order and to carry information along with you. I have tried a couple in the past, but I always seem to come back to paper and pen. This is a personal preference, so you will have to decide what works best for you.
One advantage to having an electronic planner is that it can carry a lot of information. It may also sync with your computer allowing you to do some daily planning on your computer(s).
A word of warning... Don't go overboard with too many calendars and planners. Too many items to update increases your chance of forgetting to put an appointment in one, and then missing it. Keep it as simple as you can, yet functional!
I currently use the large family wall calendar and a spiral bound weekly planner (photo above) for keeping track of my daily to do lists. It took some experimenting to find what works best for me, and I encourage you to do the same.
For details on how I use my weekly planner to incorporate my "to do" lists, click here.
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