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September 11, 2015

When Dates Get Mailed To Your House: The Case for a Comprehensive Calendar

I haven’t done a total tools refresher for new readers, so here comes a short series on why certain tools are needed!

I recently received this calendar in the registration packet for my 2-year-old’s fall preschool program. I’m a purger and I usually expunge pieces of paper very quickly, but this one looked important. Later this fall, it will become even more so because my daughter will be in kindergarten in a different school district (read = following a different calendar) and my husband teaches in yet another school district (read = yet ANOTHER calendar.) Have I mentioned I also travel at least once per week?

If I don’t contain all these calendars in the same place very quickly, we could have a huge problem of runaway calendar babies on our hands.

Pre-School CalendarI quickly checked the school website to see if there was some nifty plug-in that allowed me to click a button and have all of these dates magically land in my Comprehensive Calendar (housed in Outlook).

Ummm. . . nope.

So, what to do?

Option 1: I could pin the calendar to our kitchen Command Center. However, I know how quickly this area becomes a messy stack of papers, and it doesn’t solve the problem of being able to see everyone’s commitments at the same time.

Option 2: I could make some kind of digital or hard copy folder called “Calendars.” Then I would have to review the calendars each week to check for collisions or overlaps.

Option 3: I could enter each date from everyone’s calendars into the family Google calendar, which imports into my Outlook calendar. This will help me look out for work and family conflicts.

What is the right answer here? For me, it’s Option 3.

Yes, it is more upfront work. Yes, it is annoying. In fact, it took me at least 25 minutes to enter every single one of those dates. PS Huge shout out to my daughter’s elementary school which allows parents to synchronize the school Google calendar to your own digital calendars. They even had instructions with screen shots at the Back-to-School Night! #togetherschool

But I would posit that the problems it would have caused to realize the week – or even the day—before that my son has a half-day or no school when I’m on a trip and we have no baby-sitter would be way worse than the prep time it took me to enter the dates.

Is your calendar totally Comprehensive? If not, what will it take to set up for success for the school year?

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