Thank you, Erin Condren, for sending us family calendar products to review, in return for my honest opinion. Every opinion stated is 100% mine.
The Best Family Calendar Tips for Crazy Busy Families
Hi, my name is Tove and I am a perpetual to-do list maker and re-doer. My to-do lists even have their own to-do lists. Some days, I add “drink coffee” to my list, just to have something to cross off at the end of the day.
Do any of those things sound familiar? Are you sipping your coffee while reading this and quietly thinking “I get you, girl!”?!
Well this summer (aka the summer of chaos), I realized that something has to change. Our family calendar was a MESS. Making to-do lists did little to nothing for my productivity and it really just gave me bad hand cramps… so back to the planning-drawing board, I went.
Now, if you know me (and my “type”), you probably already have guessed that I LOVE planning tools and gadgets. I love them, I buy them, I surround myself with planners, notebooks, journals, and calendars.
I was recently sent these two Wall Organization Center beauties by Erin Condren. This family calendar and chore chart have changed our family’s planning strategy – for the better.
Why a weekly family calendar?
Our days are no longer a bad version of “who’s on first?”. My husband and I don’t wonder which one of us is doing what and hoping none of the kids are forgotten at school or soccer practice! Whew, it’s a relief knowing our family is a well-oiled machine – with soccer practices and games seven days a week, often twice a day, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks. Or rather, with our old system, something (or someone) could get missed, but probably not now.
“So, what’s the secret to your weekly planning bliss?” you ask?! It boils down to a very simple four-step process I go through each and every Sunday.
I used to plan our lives and my business (this blog) a month at a time. However, I found if I fell behind just one day, the rest of the month was a desperate attempt to catch up on things. Feeling behind is not motivating in the least.
As parents we all know that life has a way of throwing us curveballs, so keeping our planning flexible is paramount, hence my WEEKLY planning strategy. If things get thrown out of whack one day, it doesn’t affect the entire month. You get to start fresh on Monday and the coming week is a clean slate!
Productive planning strategies for busy moms:
This has quickly become my favorite hour of the week. Every Sunday afternoon, before everyone gets tired and cranky, do this:
- Spend 30 minutes to review your LifePlanner for the next TWO weeks.
- What appointments or deadlines (personal and professional) do you have for the two following weeks?
- What (if anything) do you need to do to prepare for the appointments and deadlines?
- Make a list of these items.
- What commitments do the kids and your partner have?
- Do any of them require your involvement? (ie. extracurricular activities and playdates.)
- Do you have childcare/ transportation planned for all the commitments? If necessary, plan those logistics right way.
- Have a quick family meeting. (I love this time we spend together as a family!)
- Review the next week’s commitments and plans with the entire family, so everyone is on the same page.
- This is a great time for the family to reconnect and feel like you are working as a unified group towards a common goal.
- Make sure your partner is writing down or making a note of the dates and times he’s needed for pick up, transportation or other important commitments.
- This meeting is also meant as a dialog and a time for the kids to share if they have anything going on at school or with friends. (ie. science fair projects, after school activities and playdates.)
- Update your planner with any new or changed commitments after you heard from everyone in your family.
- Review your to-do list and break the tasks into categories.
- (ie. errands around town are grouped together. Phone calls, administrative tasks, household duties are separated.)
- Here comes the fun part… planning your week in the most productive way: Break out your markers and go to town on your Erin Condren weekly wall calendar!
- Start by adding your commitments with specific times, such as sports practices and music lessons.
- Next, block schedule your to-do list by category, duties and “free time”.
- For me, this means I my “normal” days and weeks look like this:
- Write newsletter and blog posts on Monday
- Take photos and edit images on Tuesday
- Run errands and do household chores on Wednesday
- Product creation on Thursday
- Schedule blog posts on Friday
- Family time Saturday
- Schedule social media on Sunday
- For me, this means I my “normal” days and weeks look like this:
By block scheduling, you ensure that your concentration isn’t constantly interrupted. You focus on one specific task at a time without having to redirect your attention. Personally, this has been a game-changer for my productivity and our family’s collective sanity.
Writing your tasks on the calendar along with your family’s commitments gives everyone a clear picture of who’s expected to do what and be where when. I also find that the rest of the family respects my work hours when I clearly state what I am working on.
As you can see, Erin Condren products are VITAL to my family’s organization and my business’ productivity.
The Erin Condren Wall Organizer was really a game-changer for our family.
We use one as a chore chart, so all the kids are painfully aware of what we expect of them. They check off when their chores are completed and we use this information when it’s time to pay out allowances at the end of the week.
The other awesome features of the Erin Condren Wall Organization Center we love:
- Personalization of the text, font, AND colors.
- Choice from over nine customizable layouts.
- Frames are available in black or white.
- The insert can easily be changed.
- All boards are magnetic.
- Lots of accessories available to trick out your wall organization center: push pins, storage cups, and hooks!
- Use either wet or dry erase markers.
- (I did find when using wet-erase markers, you have to leave the alcohol on the writing for a few seconds to remove all residual color. )
A number of these features are exclusive to Erin Condren. There’s simply no other product like it on the market!
More than anything, the things that keep our family organized are our family meetings and constant communication about whereabouts, plans, and expectations from everyone.
What are some of the weekly planning strategies that have worked to keep your family on the same page? Please share in the comments so we can learn from each other.