We are full force back into school. Clothes, supplies, soccer season, school photos, sports photos, PTA meetings, fundraisers and events. There are a lot of things to keep track of. Here are a few of my favorite ways to stay on top of everything:
Google let’s me set up multiple calendars and color code them (I LOVE color coding) so that I can quickly see what is going on.
I can also share the calendars individually with other people. For example, I share a calendar of the sports events and activities with my sister, brother and parents so that they can see what the games are if they want to attend. The biggest breakthrough I have had with this recently is getting it added to my husband’s smart phone so that I don’t have to write everything down on multiple calendars.
In addition, I am able to access this from home, work or my cell phone. It makes things extremely flexible and mobile for me, which is important since I commute an hour each way for work and still tackle soccer shuttle for kids. It allows me to catch up on things while the girls are practicing and helps me stay on top of my “to do” lists. I don’t necessarily use the task lists associated with Google in the way they were meant because they don’t show up on my phone as I need them to. Instead, I add them as an all day item and they show up at the top of my calendar. If I don’t get to it that day, I move it to the next day that I think will have time to tackle it. If the item will take a while, I add time into my calendar to work on it. It has worked very well to keep me on top of the many projects I am working on and to get things off my mind and into a system that let’s me enjoy the time that I am with my family so that I can just BE.
Here are some other ways to make Google apps work for you…
Gmail lets you organize by folders and flag items as immediate next actions, important next actions, read, and waiting. You can set up folders by project (more on this within the full Mind Organization Program).
Google Documents is wonderful for those projects that you need to be able to access from different locations. They are able to be shared and worked on by others, making them very collaborative. You can even share them publicly and link them to your blog or website.
Speaking of blogs, Blogger is what I use for my blog. However, I’m not very consistent with posting articles. I’m sure most mom bloggers can understand that, right? I love to blog, but other projects are taking a lead in my life right now, and blogging only happens occasionally. I do, however, know that in another season of my life, blogging will rear it’s head with a driving force.
Blog Reader keeps me on top of the many blogs I follow for entertainment purposes, as well as for part of my role with Power of Moms doing Blogger Outreach. The Reader is wonderful in that I can categorize the type of blogs so that I can easily find the topic I am looking for.
Google Sites is the most recent app I have started using. In June, I became the President of our school PTA that was changing from a PTO to a PTA and required all of the paperwork and steps of starting a non-profit. I am fortunate to work with three amazing moms to get this off the ground. It required a lot of changes, communication, planning and meetings. We created a site to keep parents, teachers, and the community informed.
Thankfully, Google sites is user friendly and I have been able to learn it without too much trouble.
While not one of Google’s apps, Pinterest has also become a huge help to me. I do have to add a disclaimer here as Pinterest is tremendously addicting and hours seem to just disappear. That being said, it has helped me organize all of the MANY things I come across (pictures, projects, inspiration and, of course, organizing ideas). I have always had a habit of tearing out magazine pages to keep for later use and Pinterest is my electronic version of magazine pages. When we are ready to create gifts for the holidays, teachers or friends, we have a place we come and skim through the ideas we have pinned. I say WE because my girls and I have an amazing time sharing what we find and talking about plans, hopes and dreams. It has become a great bonding activity for us.
Now…If Google and Pinterest could just help me figure out how to get my house to clean itself, my house would look as organized as my calendar.
There are so many other great apps and programs that can help keep our lives organized. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear what you use. And if you are on Pinterest, I’d love to follow you and see what inspires you!
CHALLENGE: Make your computer, phone, and electronic devices work for you. Find one way to use your electronics to keep you organized and make your life simpler.