Skip to main content

Shared calendars are one part of an organized family

by Douglas E. Welch, techiq@welchwrite.com
206-338-5832 Reader/Listener Line


As a parent with a school-age child, I often hear other parents bemoaning their disorganized existence. Along with the busy schedules of two working parents you might have art classes, karate classes, Little League, soccer and more. Add in more than one kid and organizing your life can quickly become a nightmare.

This is exactly why one of my most important organizing devices is a shared calendar that reflects all the activities and events for everyone in the household...and I do mean everything. If someone -- is required to be somewhere -- at sometime, it goes into the calendar. If we are given a calendar that reflects all the events for a particular activity (say, Little League), all these events immediately go into the calendar, along with notations on whether we are providing the team snack, working in the snack bar, etc. Even events that occur anytime during the day, like family birthdays, and other reminders are also included.

Here is a screen shot of my calendar for January. As you can see, I also make extensive use of color coding to tell me, at a glance, who is involved in an activity or what type of activity it is.

Welch Entourage Calendar Screenshot
Now, even as technology happy as I am, I will be the first to admit that maintaining a calendar like this doesn't take a computer, but it certainly makes it much easier. First, in my setup, events and appointments can be entered from either my computer, my wife's or even directly into my Handspring Treo PDA or cell phone and those events will appear, eventually, on all those devices in turn. For example, when I am at the dentist or doctor's office and we schedule my next appointment, I immediately enter that into my Treo. When I return home and eventually synchronize the Treo with my computer, that appointment also flows over to the other computers. It also works in the reverse direction.

Next, using a computer-based or Internet-based calendar allows you to easily add repeating and recurring events, days months and years into the future. This is what I use for family birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Imagine only having to enter these dates once and use them for years to come. For fun, I even enter birthdays of certain ancestors, like the grandfather my son is named after, to keep that bit of history alive.

The Available Tools

There are countless tools you can use to get your calendar in order. In my personal case, I am using Microsoft Entourage, part of Microsoft Office, which also provides email, to-do lists and more. It also has a built-in sharing system, using its Projects feature that allows me to share the calendar and other items with the other computers in my office. Similar calendar applications include Apple iCal, Now-Up-To-Date & Contact, Microsoft Outlook and others.

You don't have to use a program on your computer, though. There are a number of online calendars that can provide you even more flexibility. These calendars are accessed using your web browser, which allows you to update it from anywhere you have an internet connection, possibly even your cell phone. This type of calendar includes Google Calendar, , and a host of others, usually provided in association with other web services.

Google Calender Screenshot

Google Calender Screenshot


Some of these programs and web-based calendars will also allow you to automatically include event calendars and the calendars of family and friends within your own calendar.

No matter how you build your shared family calendar, do build it – and then use it. This single tool will help to keep you and your family on-track and less stressful.

Links:

Google Calendar
Yahoo Calendar
Microsoft Office and Outlook
Apple iCal

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Onion Pi makes your web traffic anonymous via Open Electronics

Hmmm, might be an easy (and relatively cheap) way to play around with Tor and learn a bit more about this anonymizing service. -- Douglas Adafruit’s Onion Pi is a Tor proxy that makes your web traffic anonymous, allowing you to use the internet free of snoopers and any kind of surveillance. Follow Adafruit’s tutorial on setting up Onion Pi and you’re on your way to a peaceful anonymous browsing experience. Tor is an onion routing service – every internet packet goes through 3 layers of relays before going to your destination. This makes it much harder for the server you are accessing (or anyone snooping on your Internet use) to figure out who you are and where you are coming from. Read Onion Pi makes your web traffic anonymous via Open Electronics * A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs ** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! An interesting link found among my daily reading

How to Build a Raspberry Pi-Powered Digital Photo Frame via Tom's Hardware

A digital photo frame is a small screen that can sit on your desk in your office or in your kitchen displaying your favorite pictures, changing at regular intervals. The first commercial digital photo frame was introduced in the 1990s shortly after the digital camera. Digital photo frames made a comeback in popularity during 2020, perhaps because people were staying at home more. In this tutorial, we’ll turn our Raspberry Pi into a digital photo frame using MagicMirror and the GooglePhotos module. Please note, we will skip installation of the 2-way mirror in the original Magic Mirror project. Consider this project, “Magic Mirror, without the mirror.” Read How to Build a Raspberry Pi-Powered Digital Photo Frame via Tom's Hardware An interesting link found among my daily reading

On my Mac/Windows PC…Disk Inventory X/WinDirStat

Disk Inventory X | WinDirStat   There comes a time in every computer user's life when they need to figure out why their hard drive is out of space and Disk Inventory X and WinDirStat are a great help. Their operation is pretty straightforward. Look at the hard drive directory and see what is taking up the most space. Then allow the user to prune, backup or other remove these files to free up some space. Simple, effective and very, very useful when you need it. Free Previously in On My Mac... iMovie Tweetdeck Celtx Scriptwriting Software LogMeIn Kindle Reader MarsEdit Blog Editor Cyberduck Minecraft Dropbox Garageband MPEG Streamclip Google Chrome Evernote On My Mac/Windows PC is an on-going series highlighting the software (and sometimes, hardware) I use on my Mac nearly every day. Look for additional On My Mac…posts in the coming weeks! -- Douglas