Are you and your spouse struggling to keep track of your busy schedules or are you arriving 20 minutes late to important events or appointments because you found out about them an hour ago?
We’ve been helping you simplify your home management by setting up realistic and repeatable schedules for cleaning, meal planning, budgeting and decluttering. Now we’re going to look at the best way we’ve found to manage all of our to-dos, activities and commitments.
Balancing work, social commitments and personal lives can be a challenge after you get married. It might seem like a daunting task to merge schedules and not feel overwhelmed (like how do we fit in a date night every week!?), but there is an effective solution to streamline your lives…a shared calendar!
In this article, we discuss the significance of sharing a calendar as a couple, show you how to set up a shared calendar and provide you with seven valuable tips to successfully manage it.
When you were single, your time was mostly your own. You could come and go as you pleased without needing to include anyone in your decisions. Now you’re married and have a very important person to keep in the loop.
Life gets hectic. You both have important things to do separately and important things to do together. Trying to juggle individual calendars can easily lead to confusion, miscommunication and unnecessary stress.
You might find that you miss appointments (that your spouse may or may not have told you about). Or you feel disappointed in the amount of quality time you’re spending with each other or you bicker over who is responsible for scheduling.
By keeping a shared calendar, you can effectively synchronize your schedules. This can help ensure that both of you are on the same page and gives you the opportunity for greater communication around how you spend your time as a couple.
A shared calendar is an essential tool to help you manage a healthy work-life balance and that your spouse is aware of how they can support you.
If you’re anything like me, you go go go until you realize you’re way overdue for some rest. So whether you work full time or are home with the kids, you can schedule in that “you time” and ensure you take it! Your spouse will know to give you a little space or (most importantly for parents) manage the kiddos so you can get some peace and quiet.
As your family grows or commitments change, having a shared calendar will help with managing an activity schedule because you can even assign who will be the chauffeur to the soccer match!
Most importantly, a shared calendar helps you and your spouse make decisions about your priorities. If it’s been a little while since your last date night, you can discuss and make changes together.
Setting up a shared calendar is a straightforward process that can be tailored to your lifestyle. Here's a step-by-step guide to get you started:
Choose a calendar platform
There are so many digital calendar platforms available. You could pay for an app or simply use the one that came with your OS. Select a platform that both you and your partner are comfortable with and can access easily across devices.
Unless you really prefer a paper calendar, we have found that the accessibility of a digital calendar can’t be matched. It’s hard to forget something when you always have access to it!
Share your calendar
Within your chosen calendar platform, you can share calendars by sending an invitation. Share your calendar with your partner and give them access to view and edit events.
Once you’ve got your calendar shared, use these 7 tips to get it (and keep it) organized and your hub for everything happening!
Now that you’ve set up your shared calendar, you can use these seven practical tips to make the most out of your shared calendar:
Both of you need to contribute
For a shared calendar to be truly effective, it's important that both of you are actively contributing to it. Shared responsibility ensures that the calendar accurately reflects both of your commitments and activities. If you have kiddos that are old enough, they may also benefit from being included in the family calendar.
Just don’t assume that because you added it to the calendar that counts as communicating it to your spouse! You still need to check in…
Do daily check ins together
Incorporate a daily check-in routine where you and your spouse review the shared calendar together. This helps you to stay informed about each other's commitments, discuss any changes or conflicts and ensure that both of you are on the same page.
Take a few minutes each day to discuss upcoming events, clarify expectations and address any concerns. This regular check-in fosters communication, promotes alignment and helps you stay connected as a couple amidst the busyness of life.
While the traditional paper calendar may be aesthetically pleasing at home, using a digital calendar offers so many advantages. Digital calendars provide real-time updates and syncs across devices. You can access and modify the calendar simultaneously making sure that both of you always have the most updated version.
Additionally, digital calendars have features like reminders, notifications and integration with other apps or services, enhancing the overall functionality and convenience of managing your schedules.
Put EVERYTHING on the calendar
Don't underestimate the power of comprehensive scheduling. Include work commitments, social events, appointments, kid schedules, personal time, your weekly Connection Point, date night …really anything you can think of!
By having a complete overview of both of your schedules, you can effectively plan for and prioritize your time together. Remember, the more information you include, the better equipped you'll be to manage your busy lives!
Keep it organized
Simplicity and clarity are key when it comes to your shared calendar. Avoid clutter and confusion by writing clear event descriptions and color coding your normal categories.
We use Google Calendar because it allows us to have several calendars syncing at once. Each of the calendars are assigned a different color so even at a glance we can quickly identify individual schedules and have a better understanding of each other's availability. We have color coded calendars for:
- Melissa activities
- Jake activities
- Melissa & Jake (date nights or anything that requires both of us to be present)
- Our son’s activities
- Household tasks (with reminders ON so we don’t forget to clean the toilets!)
- Stay Newlywed
- Our rental property
Regularly evaluate and adjust
Periodically review your shared calendar to assess its effectiveness and make necessary adjustments. Life changes, and your calendar should reflect those changes to meet your evolving needs.
Pencil in Downtime
In the midst of busy schedules, it's crucial to prioritize downtime and self-care. Include dedicated blocks of time for relaxation, personal hobbies or simply unwinding as individuals. Penciling in downtime on the shared calendar ensures that both of you have the space and freedom to recharge and take care of yourselves.
This intentional inclusion of personal time contributes to a healthier work-life (or kid-life) balance and prevents burnout. Remember, taking care of yourself individually is just as important as nurturing your relationship together.
By implementing these tips and staying committed to your shared calendar, you'll discover a harmony in managing your schedules, reducing stress and achieving more organization success in your home management quest!