When I started this blog, I wanted to share some ideas on how technology can help the working parent. Since I published my blog on the electronic calendar, I have been able to use the products much more regularly, so I wanted to give an update.
When I published my first article, I was skeptical about keeping two calendars – one for personal and one for work. But, when I found myself unemployed, I had to quickly transition to a new calendar, and I chose the Google calendar, and I have found it really effective. It’s full of great features and sharing abilities. As long as someone can send me an iCal format, I can upload it into my calendar. No, it’s not as seamless as excepting an Outlook meeting request, but it’s not difficult. Also, more and more people seem to be using the Google calendar, which makes it much easier.
Of course, Google Calendar can be an app on your phone, so it goes with me everywhere. This is imperative because I need to know when I have interviews and doctors appointments scheduled. I can quickly check to make sure that I am available to schedule other events. I have also scheduled recurring reminders for things like reminding Tess to change her set or sensor.
I’ve decided that even when I am employed again, that I will keep my Google calendar and just invite my work calendar to appointments and events during the work week.
The other app that I have been using is Cozi. Sometime in the last six months, I got tired of my family telling me that we needed something AFTER I had already gone to the store. (As an aside – not sure if this is some unemployed phenomena, or just a coincidence, but I go to the grocery store 3x more than when I was working). So, since I have a set grocery list for each week via my Meal Plan, I decided to set up my shopping lists in Cozi where I could share them with the family. Everyone except my 12 year old has access to the Cozi app on his/her phone, so if they want something, they have to add it to the list. I also created a “Target” list to keep track of things that I buy there – cleaners, paper towels, etc. And a “Home Depot” list. I plan to put all my special occassions (birthday party, vacation, Easter, etc.) on there too.
I’ll admit that the family still needs some training. Now when they tell me we need something, I ask, “did you put it on the list?” I figure a couple weeks without the item, and they’ll start to remember to use it.
Also, the set up does take some dedicated time. I was hoping that I’d be able to cut and paste my Excel shopping list into the list function, but it wouldn’t let me, so I had to type everything over. But, it does let you create headings, which I love so that I can organize my lists into the different areas of the grocery store. The shopping list function doesn’t really lend itself to a reusable list – when you check off an item, you only have the option of deleting those items from the list, not unchecking them all in bulk. But, it’s a small inconvenience. When I’m doing my 10 minute weekly planning session, I just uncheck anything on the list. Still, this is something that I’m going to suggest as a feature – you should be able to at least clone or copy the lists, that way I could have a template, and then I could remove or check items on the copy. Whatever, I guess I am ahead of the times with my reusable lists 🙂
Cozi also integrates with Google calendar, so I don’t have to duplicate entries. And since I have a scheduled appointment for each week in my meal plan, this shows up in the Cozi calendar – that way the family member always know in which week to add their items. It’s a work in progress, but I think it will be more efficient (and hopefully mean less trips to the grocery store!)
If you haven’t given these apps a try, I highly recommend that you do.