I think you’ll all agree when I say that paperwork is one of the biggest clutter culprits in most homes. ‘Going paperless’ is a semi-regular series on eliminating paper from your home in order to save time, reduce clutter and benefit the environment.
We’ve done Step 1 which was ‘Prevention’, now let’s move onto Step 2…
Step 2: Digitising
This post (actually, this whole series) feels kind of sacreligious since I design paper things for a living. However, I am prepared to go on the record as saying that paper calendars and dairies no longer suit my lifestyle and there’s no sense holding on to what’s not working for you.
Since my teens, I used week-to-a-page spiral bound diaries to organise my life. I found a couple of cute covers and just used cheapo refills each year. It worked well given my life (and the technology available) at the time.
Add a house, business, blog, husband and all that grown-up stuff that they entail and, well, things have got a teensy bit more complicated since my student (and then early working) days. Without a 9-5 schedule, I need to make sure my after hours client meetings and bridal fairs don’t clash with personal plans. With us and all of our friends having more responsibilities (including babies for some) social outings now require planning as if it were the invasion of Prussia. And of course it’s not just me anymore; I have to make sure I’m coordinating plans with a spouse, in-laws and far-flung loved ones.
Enter the digital calendar.
I’ve been using Google Calendar for a while now and find it great, but you can use any digital calendar that works for you. Here are some ways I use it…
I have about half a dozen calendars for the different aspects of my life. I can make them all visible to see an overview of everything I’ve got going on, or if I am working on, say, my business marketing plan I can hide all but the relevant calendar.
I frequently make social arrangements and then ‘invite’ The Man to join the event. This way, after a long day at work we don’t need to waste our precious time together relaying plans (that then the other person needs to remember to write on their own calendar), our schedules are synched automatically so we can discuss more enjoyable stuff.
The other advantage of having multiple calendars is that you can shareonly the appropriate information. For example I share my Personal calendar with The Man so he can make social plans for us, and if I were to hire an employee she could find that client deadline without having to hunt through my coffee dates and netball timetable.
My family even has a designated shared calendar to coordinate our trip this Christmas to visit my brother and sister-in-law in the US. All six of us have easy access to all our accommodation and flight details, all in the right time zone and updated to the latest info.
At the beginning of every year I used to sit down and copy out all of the birthdays and special occasions from the previous year. Now I add it once (or, better yet, attach it to the name in the address book) and never have to worry about it again. The public holidays are also automatically included if you wish. The recurring events feature also saves me time with everyday scheduling. For example, my blogging schedule fills itself out at the appropriate intervals and if you had regular plans (such as spin class every Tuesday at 7 or lunch with the parents every Sunday) they will appear in your diary without you having to remember.
Because the Google Calendar is stored online (unlike the Outlook calendar I was using before) I can schedule my next hairdresser appointment then and there using my phone or lock in plans from the comfort of the couch on my iPad without having to go back into the office.
These are a few of the features that I like, but there are loads of other uses, such as meal planning and of course daily scheduling.
How do you manage your schedule?
Are you a tech convert like me or do you prefer the traditional paper diary or calendar? Or perhaps you’d love to go digital but your household is chaos unless your calendar is front and centre for your kids (or other half)?