Keep you Family Organized with a Personal Day Planner

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The benefits of using a calendar or day planner in this day and age cannot be denied. Families have undoubtedly gotten busier over the years. Work, extracurricular events, friends and family; how do we keep it all straight?

Since the days of Benjamin Franklin the benefits of using a day planner have been documented.

For a busy mom, finding and maintaining a calendar system that fits your particular needs is a major component of successfully managing your life.

Paper or electronic, that is the question!

The route you choose will depend on several things. Are you a tactile or visual person? Do you love the feeling of scratching something off your to do list, or highlighting different family members’ activities in different colour highlighters?

Or do you like not having to deal with paper? The security that your calendar can neatly house a magnitude of information and be backed up, never worrying about lost data all while fitting neatly in a pocket?

Whichever you choose, make sure you choose the one that is right for your life and comfort level.

In this corner… Paper:

As with everything, there are advantages and disadvantages to using a paper day planner system. The most obvious of the advantages is that a paper day planner can’t break or run out of batteries. You can quickly flip to a month-at-a-glance calendar and view every day of your entire schedule and there is room for note taking at meetings. The disadvantages of the paper planner are that you can lose it, and there is no backup. They can also get quite messy with frequent updates and revisions. The fact that there is no security or password required, and that it can often overflow with assorted papers and sticky notes if you’re not committed to staying organized.

For paper people, there is something reassuring about writing out a to do list by hand and crossing things off. There is a permanency about it, it is not as easy as hitting delete if you decide to not complete a task. It remains there, looking at you from underneath the line, scribbles or whiteout. Some people find it easier and more productive as well. There are so many great inexpensive but awesome day planners on the market.

05.21.13_4Mom’s Ultimate Family Organizer: A One-Stop Planner for Busy Moms – This fantastic day planner is set up in binder fashion. There are sections for calendar entries, birthday parties, teacher notes, tear out notes and to do lists. Everything that a mom needs in one location at www.amazon.com for $25

WeekDate Is a creative way to capture all the family activities and to do’s in one location. With WeekDate you write in all of your monthly recurring appointments, all of your weekly recurring appointments, and then all of your specific day appointments on different folded-in “flaps” of the calendar itself, so that you can view them all at once and have no need to rewrite things. Not having to rewrite recurring events, you are saving precious time! They retail for $36.99.

05.21.13_6Mom Agenda – A mom favourite! The MomAgenda desktop day planner, a 16 month day planner, helps busy moms manage multiple schedules featuring separate spaces for mom and up to 4 kids. The accompanying MomEssentials pamphlet lets you keep your family’s medical information, birthdays, websites and passwords organized all in one handy place. Weekly and monthly views and an inspiring quote each week will help keep moms motivated. While, the bright, fun colours available allow moms to stay organized with style! Retails for $43.

05.21.13_7Woman’s {life} Planner A great way to organize your life, it consists of 5 note pads, which are dedicated to the activities in life that can make you crazy. ‘The art of juggling’, a place to record all those things that your mind is juggling, ‘my dreams and doodles’, ‘today’s most important tasks’, ‘the month at a glance/’what’s cookin’ baby-meal plan’, as well as a weekly planner. This one-stop shop for all your organizing, to-do list needs retails for $59.95

Electronic Day planners:

For those moms who are tactile and tech savvy, electronic day planners are a great solution for keeping the whole family organized. On top of being able to synch the whole family’s schedule in the push of the button, the electronic organizer has several other advantages. They are; lightweight, small, and portable, they hold thousands of contact names and numbers, have a search capability to find to-do’s and contact names, the electronic PDA’s can have reminders set for appointments or to complete things on your to do list.

There are some disadvantages that come with the electronic day planner as well. First off, there is the chance of crashing, data wipeouts, and screen freezing. There is no month-at-a-glance view. You must click on individual days on a monthly calendar to see appointments for that day, and note taking is tedious and time consuming.

05.21.13_8Google Calendar – This web-based calendar is great for families who spend a lot of time online. Access can be given to co-workers, family, and friends to see your calendar. Family members can be easily accessed when you are out and about, through mobile phones and other computers. Invites can be sent to other g-mail users as well, it offers the option of sending to outside users as well. Invitations to events once sent, can be tracked. Although there are no family friendly features like a template shopping list, multiple task lists can be created and subsequently printed. There are great interactive options between, e-mail calendars and to do lists. You can then sync that calendar with Outlook, iPhone and Android and share it with other family members who use Google Calendar. The best part…the price. Free.

05.21.13_9Cozi – A mom favorite! This online calendar is ideal for clearing the paper clutter from your life and can be easily shared among family members, who are each assigned a colour. It is a great tool to keep all family members aware of meetings and appointments. Individual and recurring entries can be made. There is also the ability to send text messages and email reminders, as well as a weekly digest. Downside, you can’t send invites outside of Cozi. This fantastic tool that syncs with Outlook is available through iPhone, Android and BlackBerry apps. Cozi has a great reminder system, ensuring that family members are getting to where they need to be on time! Cost: Free (for basic package).

05.21.13_10iCal – Apple has switched things up a little for Apple users and moved to a more generic “Week Calendar”. Noted as a popular favourite, this calendar is golden for moms. This is an upgrade from the standard calendar, however according to reviews the $1.99 is absolutely worth it, as long as they are Apple users already. It comes with a day-, week-, month, year and agenda-overview. ICal has great functionality and colour coding ability for various events. The touch and slide allows for easy editing of tasks, to dos and events. This piece retails for $1.99.

Famjama A very familiar feel, the layout and fonts are very similar to Cozi. This free web app is what every mom needs to keep her family schedule on track. It is an efficient family event organizer and online family calendar manager. The best part of this app versus others out there is that it is organically ad free, with no upgrades required. You can sync it with iPhone, Android and iCal. Famjama displays a colour-coded calendar by family member. Event reminders can be delivered via text and email, but you’re limited to making appointments only for those using the service.

There are other planners out there, hundreds of them in both formats. It is more important to have the right planner than to have the latest and greatest. Find one that works with your style, and you will be far more likely to take advantages of all of the available features.

About The Author

Karyn Beacock
Karyn Beacock, founder and owner of Spiral Into Control Professional Services, has always understood the difficulty of juggling life’s demands and the need to approach each day ready and organized. After returning to Canada from Australia, where she’d moved her family for a job with a Fortune Global 500 company, Karyn decided to leave her job and combine her skills with her passion... CONTINUE.

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