Calendars and Household Compliance

household calendar small

View of our household calendar

It is hard to keep track of who is doing what with a busy family. You can’t show up on time and do what you are supposed to do if you don’t where you are supposed be.

My work calendar runs on an Exchange / Outlook platform, as does The Wife’s calendar. Now that The Son and The Daughter are getting their own activities, it is getting harder and harder to figure out who is supposed to be where.

The Wife and I could just copy each other for all of the events. But then our calendars would be mucked up with events that one of us is going to, but not the other. It’s also easy to lose track of the kids’ events.

We decided to use the Google Calendar application. It allows us to have separate calendars for me, The Wife, The Son and The Daughter. We even set up a separate calendar for family and friend birthdays.

The Google Calendar allows us to use a different color for each person so we can easily distinguish who belongs to a particular event. That’s a great visual clue and makes the mess of events easier to sort through.

On the settings for the calendar, you can assign different permissions: (1) make changes to events, (2) see all event details or (3) see only fee/busy. Even an unruly teenager should be able to be convinced into sharing their calendar if their parents couldn’t see the details.

When an event intrudes into the work day, we invite the work email to the event. Google Calendar plays nice with the Exchange/Outlook platform so the invitations from Google Calendar appear as calendar events at work and vice-versa. I try to keep the non-working hours events out of my office calendar.

By using separate Google calendars, each person can control their own calendar, while at the same time sharing the events with the whole family. It’s little or no extra effort and makes household management much easier.

Since the Google Calendar is web-based, I can use it at work and view the calendars on my blackberry or iPhone.

This post was based on a previous post from my old blog, KM Space: Calendars and Household Knowledge Management.


4 Responses to Calendars and Household Compliance

  1. Bill Winterberg October 12, 2009 at 12:40 am #

    Our family uses Google Calendar, and we’ve even shared events with family living across the country. In a way, allowing close family to see appointments, dinners, and special events makes the next phone call or Skype session filled with recaps.

    Also, being able to see schedules helps us give quicker RSVPs to invitations. I don’t need to call my wife, I just consult the calendar and respond appropriately.

  2. Steve Meltzer October 12, 2009 at 12:39 pm #

    This is great in theory and I’ve tried to implement it with my family. I’m getting too much resistance from management (my Wife) however; she won’t give up the paper calendar.

    The teenagers could keep separate calendars for stuff they want us to see and the stuff they don’t – the private calendar could have busy/available settings only.

    • Doug Cornelius October 13, 2009 at 7:38 am #

      I had similar problems with management. It took several months to get used to the system. It only takes a conflicting appointment or two to realize the value. (“It was on the family calendar.”)

      Fortunately, the Google Calendar prints very nicely. With a color printer, you still keep the color patterns. Weekly, we print the upcoming week and month and tack it up. I also make sure the calendar pops up as a default tab on the web browser.

  3. charles R October 20, 2009 at 3:04 pm #

    My family uses the same technique. although we use outlook at work, I am able to subscribe or link the google calendars to my work outlook. another nice option google has is the ability to create a calendar of your contact b-days!!!
    Go to your Calendar settings, under Other Calendars, Browse interesting calendars, More tab, Contacts’ birthdays and events. now put the birthday of your contacts in their file and you’ll have a b-day overlay!!