->Choose a room or project
->Go to work
My oldest son, a teenager working three summer jobs to save for a mission (for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), found he needed a system to organize his schedule. This week he went shopping for an electronic organizer. What he wanted is old technology: a calendaring and journaling tool with bells and whistles, but without telephone or internet capability. After a harrowing escape from a determined salesman, he returned with a traditional, pocket-sized planner — which cost fewer than five of his well-earned dollars!
“I think it’s a better choice anyway, Mom,” he explained. “There is something almost spiritual about writing things down on paper and going back to read them later. It uses a different part of your brain, or something, and it means more.”
Our already busy lives get busier as more people are included in the mix; one family member’s appointment affects everyone. Tracking the comings and goings of all members of a family is more than a good idea: it is essential.
Enter: The Old-Fashioned Calendar.
Bigger is Better. Choose a calendar with enough space for plenty of writing. Visual appeal is great, but the form must follow the function of using it to track your collective lives!
Look Ahead. Write in important dates in advance. Calendars from past years can help you remember these. Computer calendar programs are also available that will automatically print birthdays, monthly commitments, and weekly lessons on a customized calendar. Include dates for youth camps, family reunions, and other not-to-be-missed events so things do not get scheduled over one another.
Use Stickers. Stamps, stickers and other visual reminders may help remind you and your family of recurring activities, but be careful not to let the process overwhelm the purpose! A fat pen with an ink color for each family member that is exclusively for use with their calendar items — and which is stored with or tied to it — may help to eliminate clutter on the little squares and give instant visual cues about who is to be involved with that 4:30 appointment with Dr. Johnson or the dinner engagement tomorrow night. Remember the purpose of these extras and evaluate them to see that your system really helps your family.
Prominence. Hang the calendar in a prominent place, near the hub of your home, in such a way that it can be easily removed and re-hung. This usually means that it is on a nail near the main land line telephone and/or where your mail is handled. It is also useful to have near the dinner table where daily discussions, plans, and re-commiting can easily take place. Invitations and reminders can be handled effectively if your previous commitments are accessible. Attractive calendar holders are available, usually around Christmas that can turn a normal calendar into a decorative and functional wall feature.
Update Now. Regularly update your calendared events with family members. A brief segment in weekly Family Home Evenings or other family council meetings helps even young children recognize the importance of their plans to the family unit and helps the family stay connected, even as competing interests pull family members in multiple directions.
As my son noted about his personal organizer, there are additional spiritual aspects to keeping a calendar for your family: not only are we able to coordinate our daily efforts and plan ahead, a family calendar can be a useful tool to chronicle our collective past. Calendars kept year to year can aid in our family history efforts and in looking ahead to better organization during future years.
They can help us prioritize and put joys and sorrows in proper perspective. And they contribute to peace and love at home.
Photo from sxc.hu. Used with permission.