Are you making the most of your devices? Making them do the hard work?
Back in the olden days, when I was young and we wrote stuff down, I used to walk around with little scraps of paper in my pockets. Anything would do, to help me remember all the little things that I had to do. Things that popped up on the fly, or were out of my usual routine.
At the end of the day, I’d empty my pockets. What ever was left over I’d carefully store until the next day. I didn’t use a note book, they didn’t work for me. Sometimes I’d make a list, transferring all the little scraps to one piece of paper. Crossing them off was so satisfying!
But so was tossing each little scrap as I finished each task.
But now of course, we have devices! Clever, clever people invent apps and software to make our lives easier.
Calendars & reminders are a godsend. They boss you and nag you but it’s on purpose! We NEED them to nag us. They help us organise our time and give us the capacity to focus on other more important things.
Wouldn’t you rather be playing with your kids, making things, spending time with people you love? Instead of rushing around trying to get everything done when you suddenly remember?
Juggling multiple printed timetables, other peoples schedules, scribbled Post-its and a diary? Keeping everything you need to know, remember and do in one place is another small win against the busyness that fills our lives.
Of course there’s always the bullet journal, or any other paper based scheduling system. If that works for you, that’s great! But so often my friends and clients tell me they forget to take it with them, or lose interest in maintaining it.
Does the thought of starting up a new system, entering all those appointments, putting that much energy into getting organised fill you with dread? That might be a sign that you really need to.
If you don’t like the built in app for reminders or calendars on your phone get one that you do like. There are some very good ones that can structure your to-do’s like a game of 3-D chess and there are simple ones that are super easy to use.
So what’s the difference?
Calendars can be used for everything, but our busy lives often demand a separation of quick things to do today (or right now) and things that are coming up or happen often.
Calendars are great for repeating events like:
- Really Important Stuff: Feed the cat special food morning only (or you KNOW what will happen).
- Regular Jobs: Fruit and veggie shopping, wine shopping, chocolate shopping.
- Regular Jobs That You Seem To ALWAYS Forget: Clean the car every fortnight before date night.
- Take one kiddie to gym, and one to dance, every Wednesday.
- Fitness Routines: Leg day, arm day, cardio, spin class.
- Secret Parents Business: Recycle kids art from bottom of old pile.
- Self care: Waxing, hair, nail, brow appointments.
- Fun Stuff: Swing Class, Girls Sunday walk, poker night!
- When you have to be somewhere, where you’re not.
Calendars are also perfect for blocking out time slots.
Some calendar apps have the capacity to structure several different calendars or events in different colours (gloriously organised!)
- Green: A shared calendar the whole household can use to enter appointments.
- Orange: Sports practice and games.
- Purple: Planned nights at home – movie or games nights.
- Red: Work calendars.
- Pink: Chore calendars.
- Yellow: Wellbeing and medical appointments.
- Blue: Creative sessions for writing, filming, painting, pottery.
- I’m running out of colours here…
You get the idea.
Reminders are great for quick things that will be sorted quickly but are likely to be pushed out of your brain by All The Other Stuff you have to remember.
Reminder apps are great for prioritising a whole bunch of quick-ish things that need to get done. They’ll help your calendar to not get so cluttered up with little appointments.
- Throw neighbours balls back over fence before dogs get out (remember the vet bills!).
- Buy ticket to School Disco (wish I was going, I could do with a good disco).
- Ask Nanna to bring a pav with extra cream.
- Get extra cream just in case.
- And kiwi fruit.
- Put jar of Nutella in backpack. A big one.
- KMART: Get more fluffy socks, hand weights and one of those shelf extender thingys.
- Use the kale before it gets squishy!
- Buy cupcakes for school fair.
Keeping track of all the things we need and want to do can be difficult, and there’s nothing wrong with a good old fashion pen and paper, instead of, or in addition to calendars and reminders.
The cool thing about apps on your phone is… they beep, chirp, bong, trill and vibrate! Ignore them at your peril! (but it’s totally ok to reschedule, that’s The Joy Of Re-Prioritising.)
A virtual assistant or even a real life assistant could also be that step you need to take to make your life so much better. What ever works for you and helps you keep all the strands of your life together is good.
Make use of every possible method to make your life a little bit easier. We all want to have more fun and less stress and less panic about forgotten responsibilities.
It’s time to make YOU and your time a priority. Right now.
And if your kids complain you’re on your phone too much, just let them know that you’re organising their busy social schedule! In fact, if they’re ever in ear shot, tell them every single time you’re doing something on your phone, for them.
“JUST ORGANISING YOUR BIRTHDAY PARTY OVER HERE!” “I’M GETTING YOU A RIDE TO GYMNASTICS WITH SIENNA’S MUM” …. you know what I’m talking about.
There’s good secret mum’s business but sometimes, it pays for them to know how much time and effort you put in. They’re not psychic but they can be very judgy!