Monday, January 04, 2010

Organize me: Going digital in 2010


Have you found a 2010 calendar you love yet?

Despite last week's cranky rant about the impossibility of simplicity at Christmastime, I really do appreciate being organized. I'm just a little slow about making it happen -- I suffer from Decision-making Peralysis Disorder.

I've admired, even downloaded, Donna Young's homeschooling forms and The Homeschool Mom's planner. And left them unused.

(The same went for my creative, but sadly ignored, magnetic calendar.)

I looked at this clever combo wall calendar/planner my cousin showed me, and the handy weekly planner/mousepad my sister uses.

I considered using an online curriculum planner like Homeschool SkedTrack or Edu-Track, and signed up for the free trial of the Simply Charlotte Mason online scheduler.

Since September, I've been using The Tanglewood Corebook to keep a record of what we're doing. It's pretty, and simple, and I could make up my own subjects, but it's not everything I need -- and it doesn't fit in my purse.

I really wanted something centralized where I could keep track of EVERYTHING -- homeschooling plans and records, appointments and events, chores and craft ideas, etc. And I want to be able to take it with me wherever I go without needing a backpack to carry it!

My friend Lauri and I have been coveting replacements for our overcrowded binder organizers and overloaded mama minds ever since another homeschooling mom friend pulled out her "external brain" (a Palm Pilot) and showed us how easy it was to use.


I'd been wary of something so small -- how could I see everything I need to on such a small screen? But, it really is possible to see the whole picture online. I started playing with Google's free online calendar, which can be synced with the iPhone or iPod Touch -- and loved it!

It was time to go digital. Both of our hubbies agreed to give us a shot at simplifying our lives (and theirs) by digitizing our calendars and to-do lists. Lauri got the iTouch, and I got the iPhone.

How blessed we are that this was even a possibility! And how goofy are we that we chose the same wallpaper without knowing it?!


So, I'm curious -- what kind of calendar/planner/organizer do you use? Low tech or high tech? Enormous, categorized binder, or the basic calendar on your phone? Stickies and notebooks scattered around the house, or a digitized system synched between your laptop and phone?

And... more importantly, does it work? Has it changed your life? Does it keep you from locking your keys in your car?

Ahem. Yes, the iPhone is cute, and very useful. But it is not so brainy that it calls out, "Stop! Don't close that door!" when you're about to lock it, along with your purse and keys, in the car.

Not that I would know that from personal experience or anything...

13 comments:

Goosey said...

I use a large diary which lives on the kitchen table. I divide each day into 3, morning, afternoon and evening and put chores/jobs/Quiet time/appointments/meal planning/when to send birthday cards/ etc in the appropriate bit.It works for me!I get the satisfaction of seeing everything crossed off at the end of the day....if it's not crossed through it gets carried on to the next day.
Hope you find your perfect system and enjoy using it too.

charityinprocess said...

Google calendar is perfect for my husband and I. We can see what the other is doing and has planned in real time and make good use of being able to have different calendars for different subjects.

Gina Stinson said...

Old Fashioned Monthly Calendar is what I am using this year. Seems to be working pretty good right now. I've tried to do the online calendars but when I needed my calendar I didn't have my computer with me! I can't wait to hear how your adventures with the iphone and itouch go. We have an itouch around here and that might be a solution if I decide to go digital.

HAPPYHANERHOME said...

Oh, I'm a little covetous of your new digital-ness. We have tried many of those same things you listed, and have always reverted to the good old calendar on the wall with everybody's stuff on there for all to see. It's ugly, and it doesn't fit in my purse, so I have to bring home all those little doctor's cards and write our appointments on the big ol' ugly calendar, but it seems to work. Doesn't help me with my key losing problem either though. :)

HAPPYHANERHOME said...

I think I found you through Lynette's blog, but I can't remember...my hubby teaches at BHS and we live in the NE near Thorner. Perhaps someday we can live on a commune in the country while our grandkids plow the fields. :)

Lisa said...

I was using the momAgenda calendars for a few years, but this last August when mine ran out I didn't want to shell out the bucks for another one. So for the remainder of 2009, I just copied the look of that calendar into a blank journal. Then, the other day at Borders I found a similar calendar that dedicates an entire page to each day without appointment times lining the side (I hate the appointment times on the side because I feel like I can't write other stuff in if it isn't an appointment. I know it is MY calendar and I can do whatever the heck I want, but it freaks me out). So that's what I'm using for this year. I go in fits and spurts where I'm really great at using my calendar and then really terrible at it. We also have a dry erase magnetic calendar on our fridge that I try to keep updated each month so we can see upcoming stuff. My husband keeps trying to get me to use the Google calendar and sync it to my smart phone, but there again I have the issues with the appointment times.

mandi said...

i use an old fashioned wall hanging calendar. which works for now, but i don't have tons of scheduling going on. i don't have a cell phone, so digitizing wouldn't work for me. at this point...

hey- i want to know about your amazon ferris wheel over there. have you seen any traffic from it? does anything weird happen when you sign up for it? does big brother come knocking? i like the idea of it...but as you can see...i'm a little freaked out about any kind of monetizing!

Lift Up Your Hearts said...

This year I'm planning on a big, boring, unsightly desk calendar. I don't like writing on a vertical surface. The obvious downside is that I can't take it with me anywhere, but I think it'll be ok.

guerrillaparenting said...

I use a very basic, cheap large-grid wall calendar at home [over the phone], and a purse sized dayrunner type thing [but thinner] with monthly & weekly [2 pages to a week, broken into daily blocks] appointments in my purse. I also have a large desk calendar at work, but it's more of a backup and to let office mates know where to find me if I'm needed.

I've tried several kinds of calendars, planners, and organizers, both electronic, online, and phone apps, but these work best for me. I think writing things down & seeing them on paper help me remember more.

Lauri said...

love, love, love the new pic!!!!!!!!!

Kathy's Red Door Welcome said...

I love your new header photo!

Rana said...

I use the google calendar and a dry erase board attached to the fridge. I also have been looking for a new dayplanner for my purse. For the last 3 years I have used the "Gomom" planner, but I want something different. I'm still on the hunt.

chaz said...

I had a palm pilot that Noey gave me. I loved so much that I named it the Tin Man... He needed a heart not a brain, but scare crow just didn't sound as good. Besides, my palm pilot was silver. But it died. I miss it so. It's like missing part of my brain. It had drawings in it. It had my failsafe grocery list. All my addresses. All my appointments. The names of artists I wanted to study. My music lists that I wanted to make CDs from. It even had San Francisco BART schedules (Remember, Noel gave it to me!)
Now I have to write everything on papers again. Ugh. My brain is scattered everywhere again...

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