I love the idea of having a homemakers binder – it makes sense – to have everything in one place. Over the years my binder (which became very heavy) has moved over to my phone and/or my ipad. I like my digital binder because it is much lighter to carry which means I tend to keep it with me, it is also quicker to update, and easier to keep all family members up to date. My homemaker’s binder organises my time, my responsibilities, my money, my projects, my social life, my blogging life, my homeschool plans … every aspect of my life.
Although I love apps – and you can find an app for everything – I have found Google Calendar to be a big part of my digital solution for a homemakers binder. Google Calendar organises my time and commitments, it records my menu, my blogging plan and my homeschool plan. Let me show you how Google calendar is more than a Calendar.
Benefits of Google Calendar
The biggest benefit of Google Calendar is that you can have more than one calendar. So I have a calendar for my time commitments, I have a calendar for my menu planning and cleaning, my writing/blogging schedule and my homeschooling plans. You can switch your view from calendar to calendar so you only look at one aspect of your life, or you can see them all at once.
The second benefit is that you can share your calendar with someone else which means they can see your calendar and you can see theirs. Peter and I share our calendars with each other which simply means he can see what I’ve got on in my day by a click of a button – and I can see his commitments. Because Peter’s work comes and goes from home this helps me greatly as I plan our family or social time.
Sharing calendars is also a great tool to help your children be responsible for their time. Google Calendar is available on browser so your children don’t need to have a device to be a part of this system. If each child has a calendar they are learning to see how to prioritise their time, and balance their day – but by sharing the calendar you as parent can add or remove commitments.
With my children being older they don’t share their calendar with me but we do share particular events with each other keeping each other informed of our movements when they affect each other. For example – when I have accepted a dinner out invite for the whole family I add them to my event. This sends them a note which when they accept the event gets added to their calendar. Of course we still talk to each other but it is an easy way of making sure everyone’s calendars are up to date.
Another way we have used the calendar with our older kids is when either of us have travelled we have opened a new calendar for that trip, we record our activities then share the calendar. That way everyone knows where the person is and what they are doing.
It is also possible to add a to-do list to the side of your calendar. I’m just playing around with this aspect.
Setting up my Homemaker’s Binder
Obviously using a calendar is first and foremost for managing our time and Google Calendar does this well. I like to block out my expected days – my routine. This way I know that if all goes according to plan I can fit everything in. Reality is though I tweak nearly every day. The benefit of blocking out time even though it isn’t a confirmed commitment is that I know if I say yes to something new I know what I’m saying no to.
But like I’ve said – I use Google Calendar for other things other than my time management.
Menu Planning: I have a calendar called “Menu”. When I plan our weekly menu I put each day’s evening meal (and lunch on the weekend) as an event. I use the ‘all day’ setting; this way I get to see it as a note at the top of my calendars, instead of at dinner time. This is helpful because if it is recorded at 6.00pm then I can tend to forget all about it until 6.00pm – which isn’t helpful if it needs 2 hours to cook! Which is why I use the all day setting. I also record where to find the recipe – which recipe book, or website – in the description section. And because my children help with the cooking, I add them as a guest on their cook day. They accept the invite – which means the event gets added to their calendar, making a reminder for them – but it also tells them what to cook, and where to find the recipe.
Homeschool planning: Once again I start a new calendar called Homeschool Plans. Each aspect of our study schedule is a time slot. For example: 8.00-10.00 is Daniel’s discipline studies. Because he is independent I just list a sketch of what he is supposed to do. But when my kids where younger I would have a time slot for each lesson – math, writing, typing, etc. In the note section I’d add the lesson plan – or at least the outline of where to find the lesson plan. For example in the event I’d have “FIAR – Madeline / germs” and then in the description/note I’d have: “Discuss why we need to use soap – do handwashing experiment. Pg. #…”
You may have to click on the image to see the details …
In the top image you can see that I have Daniel’s homeschool schedule marked out. The benefit of having this on your calendar set up is that if you have to tweak your own daily activity you can see what changes you may need to make in your homeschool as well. For example – if I wanted to go to town on Monday morning I’d have to tweak when I did Bible study with Daniel.
In the second image you can see that when I open the dialogue box there is a ‘description’ section where I add my notes. You can’t see this on the calendar but it is there if you open up the event.
Cleaning: I’ve tried a few different cleaning apps that are connected to programmes like Flylady. Though I have used Flylady myself for many years the truth is her straight programme and plan doesn’t suit how my days unfold through the week. So I tweak. When you use an app but have to tweak it takes up time that could be used doing the task itself. I like to be reminded – daily – what my cleaning tasks are for that day. I have set up a cleaning calendar – and set an event for each cleaning activity I need to do. For example: On Monday I do a quick but thorough clean. Flylady calls it Homebless. So on my Monday calendar I have a reoccurring event at 8.00-10.00 where I do a quick pickup declutter, dust/fingerprints, change my sheets, clean my ensuite, vacuum and mop my floor. Every Monday I am reminded to do this at 8.00! I am also reminded, thanks to my calendar, to stop doing whatever I’m doing and start turning my attention towards the house and preparing for family time (dinner) at 4.30pm. Each day I have a different focus (as does Flylady) so my calendar is set up to remind me of those tasks. This way I can do what my house needs regularly.
Birthdays: This is a calendar Google has automatically and I have been working at getting it current for my family and friends. Once again the reminder sits as an all-day event, so it sits at the top of the calendar and doesn’t interfere with your daily activities. You can turn a calendar on and off so you see only what you want to see. I usually turn the Birthday calendar off except for when I’m planning my week I turn it on and have a quick look at the few weeks ahead so I can be prepared to celebrate with family and friends.
Blogging – This would work the same for any project plan you were working on. Once again, I created a calendar for my writing and blogging. I have used the all-day event for planning long term goals or repeated tasks and the daily events for specifics.
This is a lot of information to keep on a calendar – which is why it is important to have different calendars for different purposes. I don’t need to see my blogging plan or birthdays or even cleaning when I’m planning our menu. But it is helpful to see the family activities and commitments. I don’t need to see the family activities when I have my blogging hat on. So by a simple click I can create the combination that is helpful for the planning I’m doing at any time.
The idea of having a homemakers binder is to have all your plans and goals and reminders in one place. I find a digital solution works best for me.
Have you found another use for Google Calendar? Love to hear what you’ve done (please share in the comments).
Do you want to be Heart Focused in all you do?
Download your set of Reminder Posters - Printable posters to put around the house to remind you to be relational, intentional and heart focused in all you do. These posters are the heart of this blog.