As a stay-at-home mom, sometimes, it’s hard to feel that I got anything done in a day. (And oftentimes, I didn’t.) But a few years back, I started doing something that makes me feel accomplished, every single day.
I almost didn’t share this because it’s kind of silly and only my closest friends know that I do this.
I am a total nerd!
I put everything I do (EVERYTHING) in a Google calendar.
And when I say everything, I mean everything.
When I fold laundry, meal-prep, fix a button or clean out my kids’ closet, I write it down in my calendar!
I started doing this when I became a stay-at-home mom, soon after I’d realized that I was busy all day long, but I didn’t feel productive.
And that’s probably because, at the end of the day, all those circular tasks (laundry, feeding kids, cleaning up) didn’t add up to anything I could check off a list.
So, I changed that. And started writing every little thing I do in my Google calendar. Like, watering the porch flowers, wrapping a birthday present or painting my nails.
This is entirely pathetic but here we are.
But I don’t care because I love it, and it’s a way to quantify my day.
When I used to work as a TV news reporter, my day was easy to quantify: find story, interview people, edit story, go on TV, done. Your previous career was probably the same. It was easy to cross items off a list.
But as a stay-at-home mom, what do I really do all day?
Well, one day, I spent 2 hours folding laundry. And yep, I’m darn proud of it.
So I put it in my calendar and color it green when it’s done.
And you know what? It’s awesome. Because it makes me feel that I’m productive.
And it’s encouraging. Because I can see all that I did today.
And you know what else is super fun?
***geek out alert***
Turning all the entries from gray to green! It’s the digital equivalent of highlighting, and it’s kind of amazing.
No, it’s really amazing.
Besides inputting when I fold laundry or wash my kids’ bedding, I also use the Google calendar in a few other ways that have helped me maintain routine, so I thought I’d share them:
- I input birthdays of everyone I’ll ever need to know, and set them to repeat every year so there are never any surprises.
- At the start of each month, I set a “look at birthdays and buy gifts” reminder so I start the process of budgeting and picking out birthday gifts. Since most of our family lives out-of-state, this also gives me time to find and ship gifts so that they get there on time.
- If we have an event and I need to remember to bring something, like a check or a snack, I write it in an entry just above the event.
- If a friend has an important event coming up, like a surgery or a funeral for a family member or something exciting like a moving day or first day at a new job, I put it in my calendar so I can remember to text them to check in. (I realize this sounds lame but I can barely remember where my kids go each day, let alone keep track of someone else’s life.)
- I share events with my husband’s Google calendar that he needs to know about, such as the kids’ baseball games or upcoming trips. This way, it automatically shows up in his calendar, and I can also choose to send him an email as well. (And you know, men need extra reminders sometimes. *wink*)
- When I ask a babysitter if she can babysit, I input the exact times I asked her for in the calendar, so that I remember. Then if something changes, and I need to ask her to come earlier or later, I can just look at the calendar and quickly see what times she’s planning on and how it’ll need to change, before I text her.
- When my husband leaves town, I input when his flight departs and arrives home (because I don’t need to know any other part of the trip details) and also create an all-day reminder that he’s gone so that I can make other plans with friends for the evenings to stay busy. (Hello, witching hour.)
- When events are done is my favorite part! Highlight them! I highlight them in color code: blue for workouts/fitness, yellow for blog-related business, light blue when I do something for my husband’s company and green for the rest! This way, I can look back at the week and visually see when my workouts were, when I blogged, etc. When I input upcoming events, random chores and things that aren’t time-sensitive, I color them in gray. Upcoming events that are time-sensitive, like Bible study, doctor’s appointments or school, are in pink.
- Another great thing: it’s easy to search my life! For instance, when our accountant asked how many miles I used my car for blog-related events in 2016, it was easy to search and find the information immediately, both by looking for color-coded entries and using the search field! Also, when 3 of my post drafts recently disappeared in WordPress, I was able to search Google Calendar for the posts I wrote, and ask our site guy to retrieve the posts, by name, from his backup database. (This all occurred because my site was hacked a few months back! What a pain, and expensive, to fix but we’ve debugged it completely. Phew! Thank you for your patience on that!)
- Each week, I write what I’m planning to make for dinner each night, even if it’s leftovers, so I can prep and know each morning what to prepare for. And if plans change, it’s easy to move dinner events from day to day.
- I also have the Google Calendar app on my iPhone, and I love that it’s so easy to use. I access it constantly if I’m not near my computer to see if I’m free for a playdate, meeting, dinner, etc.
And no, Google isn’t paying me to write this post!
This is just truly something that’s helped my life so much, and it helps keep me organized when I feel overwhelmed, unproductive and like I’m barely keeping my head above water (which is all the time. *wink*). So, I thought I’d share it! I hope it was helpful!
How do you stay organized? What kind of calendar do you use? Share your tips in the comments section.