Tag Archives: organization

Five Ways To Organize Your Life With Google Calendar

Welcome to everyone who’s stopping by from Shannon’s blog for this week’s edition of Works-for-me-Wednesday. ! If you’ve been with me for a while, you probably remember a post very similar to this on my other blog. I’ve revamped it and added a few things that people mentioned in the comments from the old post.

I am a Google nerd.

It all started when I signed up for a Gmail account and fell in love with it. Then about a year ago, I discovered Google Docs, where you can create Word documents online and access them from any computer with the Internet. This was especially helpful when I was working on things both at home and at school.

It’s hard to describe how exciting it is for me to see all the colors and details when I open up GCal for the eighteenth time each day.

You can see from the categories at the left (shown bigger below, or you can click on the picture) that I’ve got a lot of different calendars within one large calendar.

Here are five ways you can use Google Calendar to make your life simpler.

1. Give each area of your life its own calendar, and color-coordinate them appropriately.
Each of these labels to the right is a different ‘calendar.’ You can open all of them, some of them or one of them at the same time within GCal. Having different colors is helpful when you’re opening a lot at once, because you can easily tell what’s what.

2. Update events with one click and set up frequent events to repeat.
If all you want to do is just add an event – below, I’m adding in a lunch date with my friend Emily – you just click on the date and this little bubble pops up. Type in the time and title of the event, choose which calendar (color) you want the event to be part of, and click ‘Create Event.’ If you’re adding an event that happens frequently, like soccer practice, you can set up events to repeat weekly, daily, monthly – even on Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays.

3. Plan menus with as much detail as you want.
Below I’m showing a couple days of my ‘Menu’ calendar in ‘Agenda’ mode. It’s not very detailed because all it’s showing is what I ate for lunch and what leftovers I took to Christian for a few days (And the very observant will also notice that this is from July. I haven’t planned menus much now that I’m living at home). However, you can always add in more details, for example, about what you’re going to be making for dinner.

4. View as many or as few calendars as you’d like.
Maybe you just want to see how your dinner plans will fit into your work schedule. On my calendar, I’d just select “Menu” and “Work” and deselect the rest. Or maybe you just need to quickly glance to see who has a birthday coming up. Deselect everything but “Birthdays.” You get the idea.

If you have several kids with busy schedules, you could give each kid their own calendar. You could print off their own calendar for each of them, then select them all and keep a master calendar for yourself.

5. ‘Share’ your calendar with other people, or have them share their calendars with you.
When Christian was still living in Tennessee, I encouraged him to set up a Gmail account so that he could use GCal. It took a little prodding to remind him to actually update his calendar, but when he did, all I had to do was log into my calendar to see, for example, his work schedule. You can turn someone else’s calendar on and off with one click, and you can pick and choose with calendars you want to share.

Google Calendar works for me, and it might work for you, too.
This level of organization might not work for everyone, but it keeps me on track with menu-planning, exercise, Bible memorization and spending time with friends and family. If you’re having trouble keeping your life together, use this wonderfully free program to start pulling things back together.

How do you keep your schedule organized? If you use Google Calendar, what are your favorite features?

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Labels Aren’t Just For Nerds

Welcome to everyone who got here from Shannon’s blog! Kitchen management is the theme of this week’s Works-for-me-Wednesday. Check out Rocks in my Dryer for other great tips to staying organized in the most-used room of the house! And remember, if you like what you read, consider subscribing to my feed!

I don’t have kids or a husband, and the kitchen I use right now is really my mom’s. But for three years, I shared a kitchen with at least one roommate. And believe me, two 19-year-olds with grand cooking aspirations makes for one disorganized kitchen. We always had more food than we could eat, pots and pans we never used and we were also pretty terrible at doing the dishes. Thankfully, I think I’ve grown up a bit since then.

When I moved into an apartment with three roommates, things had to change. Especially when other people started eating my food (that is serious). And so I became a fan of labels. I would label my cheese, my leftovers, my drinks, etc. But probably the best way to use labels is… in the freezer.

How many times have you gone through your freezer (that’s a good question in and of itself, actually) and found meat that has been in there for approximately eight years? And also, you have no idea what it actually is – chicken, beef, pork? Keeping a permanent marker in your kitchen is a great tool for keeping up with what’s in your freezer. When you bring home a couple pounds of ground beef from the store, bag it up and label the bag with how much meat it is and the date you put it in there. Meat does last a long time in the freezer, but being able to “triage” your meat by using labels is one way you can make sure that when you open your freezer, everything doesn’t fall out on top of you.

Because trust me, that’s not pleasant. Even when everyting is labeled.

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The Basics: Keeping Your Area Clean

If there’s one thing that motivates me to get everything else done, it’s keeping my room clean. For some people, maybe the bedroom is not that motivator. It might be the kitchen or the bathroom or the laundry room.

But for me, making sure my bed is made, my clothes are all put away and my desk is clear is a surefire way to make the day get off to a good start.

Probably the best tip I can give for keeping this a priority without it getting overwhelming is to time yourself. Right now, get up, set a timer and do the minimal things to get your area clean.

Ready? Go!

OK. You’re back. How long did it take? It takes me less than 5 minutes to make my bed, clear off my desk and put clothes in drawers. Five minutes! When you’re trying to motivate yourself to do it, it seems like it’s going to take at least three hours. Prove yourself wrong by timing yourself so that next time you’re tempted not to do it, you can remind yourself how little time it takes.

It really does make a difference. The picture above is of my nicely made bed on a sunny September day. Just looking at that picture makes me want to sit on the bed and write a letter, or read a book, or write blog posts for next week (or… look for jobs online).

For a comparison, here’s my unmade bed. What can I say, I’m a rough sleeper.

Now that I look at that picture, I’m thinking maybe the best reason to make your bed right away is so you aren’t tempted to crawl back in it.

Whatever your area, whatever your motivation, pick that most important area and go at it. You won’t regret it!

And that’s the end of a week of looking at the basics! In case you’ve already forgotten where we started, here are the topics we’ve covered this week:
* Introduction
* Spending time with God
* Running and exercise
* Drinking lots of water

Come back next week for new recipes and a new once-a-week series on how to use the Internet to your advantage!

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Filed under the basics