Have you ever missed an appointment or an important date like your loved one’s birthday or maybe even your anniversary? (I know! I missed a loved one’s special day last week! Yikes!) A calendar–preferably a print one–will help ensure that you don’t face that shame again, provided you look at the calendar regularly (daily? maybe weekly?) and keep it up to date as needed. Also, God forbid, if for some reason you become incapacitated, your loved ones can help make sense of your family’s current lives and needs if you have an updated calendar. Finally, you can start handing off some responsibility for some things to your spouse or your older kids, right?
Are you on board? Great! Let’s get started.
Obtaining a calendar:
Most people find it simpler to have a calendar printed as a section of their home management binder, and that’s why I had you make a section of your home management binder for the calendar yesterday. I’m going to make things easy because I have a free printable calendar available on my site! You just have to subscribe to my newsletter to access it. After you have printed the calendar, just punch three sets of holes in its pages, and place it behind the “Calendar” divider of your home management binder.
A pre-printed calendar? Do you already have a calendar? Maybe you have one from the local feed store or bank or insurance agency or some other small local business. Feel free to use that one, provided you feel comfortable writing on it and can post it somewhere conspicuous like your refrigerator door or slide it in your home management binder so that you can review and update it regularly. If you get Shutterfly calendars with pictures of your grandchildren for Christmas each year and you keep them year after year, you’ll probably want to avoid using that calendar for this purpose.
Smartphone calendar? Can you use your iPhone or Google calendar? Yes, I always encourage you to do what works for you–provided, of course, that the method actually works for you. If you hit the snooze button on those reminders on your phone or tablet and don’t actually handle the tasks, you know the system isn’t working for you. (Been there!)
Filling in the calendar:
Obtaining a calendar? Easy! Check! The hard part is determining the dates that need to go on it. You’ll need to hand write those in (or type them in on your smartphone or tablet). Here are some suggestions of dates to include on your calendar:
- The upcoming doctor, dentist, and optometrist appointments for everyone in your household.
- The date(s) your property taxes are due.
- The date(s) your personal income taxes are due.
- The date(s) your non-typical bills are due. Examples are membership dues and any insurance bills you pay quarterly, biyearly, or yearly.
- The date(s) your home warranty, pest control contract, or HVAC maintenance contract needs to be renewed.
- The date(s) you need to replace your toothbrush.
- The date(s) you need to replace your HVAC filter.
- The approximately date(s) you should get your vehicles serviced.
You’ll also want to add the first and last days of school and planning/teacher inservice days, your child’s graduation, your family reunion, your daughter’s play, cheer try-outs, football practice, your spouse’s deployments, and just about anything else important you can think of. My husband suggested putting the weekly trash day on the calendar. I wouldn’t take it that far (although I try to note special waste pick-ups on our calendar because we just get ten of those per year).
Keeping on track:
Now that you have a calendar with these important dates, you’ll need to review it consistently. I recommend reviewing your calendar daily, although some people can review theirs just weekly. Reviewing it each day at the same time is a good idea. Checking the household calendar needs to become a habit for you, whether you check it at dinner for the next day’s events or whether you go over it while you’re drinking your (first cup of?) morning coffee. If you review your calendar only weekly, perhaps you can review it Sunday morning over breakfast or brunch or Sunday night before the work week begins.
Maintaining your calendar is significantly more difficult long-term. My suggestion is that you update it each and every time you determine a new due date or set an appointment. I ask at dinnertime if anyone in my family has anything due, or has any new doctor or dentist appointment I don’t know about, or, in our household, any work travel or tentative or confirmed National Guard training days or mobilizations I should be aware of. If your life is less busy or if you’re single, have no children, or an empty nester, you may even be able to update this calendar once a month and still keep everything running like clockwork.
That’s it. If you’ve followed the steps above, you have the ritual, the system in place to stay on track. Just do it!
What good can come of this?
If you’re like me and sometimes feel like Frankie Heck from “The Middle,” this calendar should help you stay on top of who has what practice or doctor appointment and whose project or assignment is due when–assuming, of course, your loved ones inform you of those dates and you put in the effort to get those on this calendar. If you have a child like Brick, well, good luck to you!
- Copy paper
- Printer and printer ink or toner cartridges, depending on your printer
Time required: The time you will spend on this task depends on how many people are in your family and how many appointments, engagements, and important dates you have. Let’s be honest: I personally spent hours trying to recall the various birthdays of members of my extended family. Other than that, completing my calendar took me less than 30 minutes.
If you’ve found this information helpful, I’d love it if you could Pin this picture on Pinterest!
Question: What other dates did you include on your calendar? I’m sure I’ve missed something! Let me know in the comments!
P.S. If you arrived to my blog on this page and haven’t visited my other pages about setting up a home management binder, click here to find out how a home management binder, complete with the calendar on this page, a to do list, a menu plan, and a shopping list, can help simplify your life!