Friday, March 23, 2012

We (heart) Google Calendar

Even before we had BabyT, we realized we had a need for a shared calendar so that we could add family birthdays, upcoming travel, concerts and sporting events for which we had tickets, and anything else we needed the other person to know about.  Like TJ's motorcycle track days/weekends, or my girls' nights out.

With the arrival of BabyT, that became even more important since we had to track all my prenatal doctors' appointments, and then the million appointments for BabyT in her first year, not to mention her physical therapy, allergist appointments, and all of those enrichment classes I signed her up for.

2011 calendar
Super cute calendar from milk and cookies on Flickr

After bouncing around a bunch of different solutions, we're using Google Calendar for shared family stuff.  We started with Windows Live Calendar when I had a Windows Phone, because it synced the best.  TJ had an Android phone app that would allow him to view our Windows Live Calendar.  That worked fine, but was a bit of a hassle for me to get to online since I rarely log into my Hotmail account.

I played with Cosi for a while, but it was more complicated than we needed.

But once I switched to my new fancy Android phone, I figured we should just switch over completely to Google Calendar.  TJ was using it for some of his own personal calendars, and I set one up for our Toddler Group.  I'm nearly always logged into my Gmail, which has a convenient "Calendar" link right at the top of the page. 

Functionally, the Windows Live and Google Calendars are pretty similar.  They let you set up a bunch of different calendars under the same account and you can hide/show them as needed.

I can display either of them in my Outlook calendar at work but keep the appointments separated.  Unfortunately, Outlook doesn't let me edit my Google calendar, which is a bummer, but I can live with editing online or on my phone. Interestingly, my Windows Phone let me edit my Google Calendar just fine, so props to them for making it interoperable.

We have a shared calendar for family stuff:  all of Trillian's appointments, social outings that involve one parent being out and thus another to cover, trips, our Seahawks football tickets, and concerts.  We have another one for family birthdays. 

I also have one for my "routine" tasks, like monthly housekeeping/errandy-type stuff, to remind me to do stuff like swap out my disposable contacts or process photos for the week.

Most of the appointments are set to send an email reminder. I set up text message reminders but it got too crazy.  I love that we can both access the calendar on our phones or on our computers.  We don't use a paper calendar at all.

TJ points out every now and then that we *do* actually have to talk about the items.  Sometimes I'll put something on the calendar, and expect him to see it and forget that we never actually discussed it.  In general, I guess it's good for married people to you know, actually TALK to each other.

It's not perfect, but it's working for us.  What do you use?


  1. Since I don't have nearly the life that you do (as in I have to keep track of only three: me, myself, and I) I'm still old school. I have a 8X11 DayRunner monthly/weekly calendar. I love it for the month view. And then the week view I use as my To Do list at work. I've tried to go digital, but I just can't let it go yet. Someday maybe.

    1. Jenn - do you keep your work stuff totally separate in Outlook?

      I used to loove paper calendars but between work Outlook and now family stuff, it needs to be electronic. I'm still struggling w/ the to do list, though.

  2. I use a dry erase board that holds one month at a time, and scraps of paper on a cork-board with things from future months. It barely works - I should really figure out something better...

  3. @Stephanie - we don't use a "home" calendar because we're out and about so much, and I need both TJ and me to be able to access it at work. It's a bonus that we can also see it on our phones wherever we are :)

    But there have been a number of times when we're out running errands or whatever, and I realize there's something on our calendar we need to get home for, because I glanced at my phone. Super helpful :)


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