Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's Come To Color Coding

Two weeks into the future is as far as the human mind can apprehend.
For a long time, I kept our affairs straight using my brain and the little calendar on my iphone. I still use both those things, but now I have these two whiteboard planners that I write on. One for this week and one for next week. Each member of the family has a different colored marker. We're in a pretty light period right now--there's not much ink on this week--but back in September/October, gah. At about 7:05 every morning, I would come stand over the whiteboards, scanning them and then visualizing the rest of the day in my head. In the dawn light, I would root out and resolve instances of magical thinking, impossible geographies, and optimistic double booking. It was cray.

Visualization is the key to success in all our endeavors.

And when I get through the week and we all did our activities and nothing is forgotten, y'all, I feel a sense of satisfaction. Like I've put a puzzle together.

Then, on Sunday night when I wipe the whiteboard for the previous week clean, I record in my paper planner what actually DID happen, i.e., how we deviated from the schedule and what other details I want to include. Things that would actually jog my memory about the actual living of those days.

When I first started this system, one night before I wiped the board off, I carried it to Matt and said, "Before I erase this, I just want you to appreciate it."

I'm crazy, I do know.

But he took it from me and said, "Let me see." Then he made a very good show of studying it, and then he said, "Nicely done. Good job."

Reader, that is all I need to hear. RIGHT?

What is your system? Have you gone to color coding? Do you need an audience for it?

PS: One day Hank wrote one of his appointments on the whiteboard, but he used a sharpie. So, permanent. But I found out you can just write over the sharpie in dry-erase marker, and it renders the sharpie dry-erase. And thus the cause of human knowledge advances.


Beth said...

Lordy LORD. I have not come to the whiteboard stage yet, but I am constantly, and I mean constantly, looking for a system that works. I've tried iCal, Cozi (which we still use so that Steve and I can both access and change the calendar), paper calendars, Google calendar, yadda yadda. Mostly it's my own life that I need to organize; I can kind of handle the scheduling thing. For the past 6 weeks I've been trying this new thing called Bullet Journal ( I kind of love it. I've made a few tweaks to it myself, but it seems to be working for me as a way of keeping track of what needs to be done on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis. I should probably do a post on it?

I'm here to be a witness to your color-coding greatness.

Elle said...

I use Cozi (Gold). The whole reason I ditched my BBerry to type on glass was to be able to really run Cozi's mobile app. I am the worst double-booker.

The kids have a daily template with their agreed-upon routine of time allotted for chores & self-care & standing appts & living. It's an Excel spreadsheet their father made. Sundays we have a family meeting & I inform them of things which maybe are haps that week. They work out how they're going to meet their goals, finish their schoolwork,.what ambitions they have for their leisure time, etc.

And then, yk, my man goes away to work, so whistles off into the night & leaves us to our runaround. A lot of the times he remembers to make a big show of appreciating my geniusy, desperate fixes, but usually I have to repair a large appliance or something.

Star said...

great to know about the dry-erase marker "writeover" rendering permanent ink erasable, thanks. Just yesterday, I saw an ad on Italian TV for calendars with the days/times? down the left margin and numerous columns stretching out to the right for the individual family members. Clever., but I think your color-coding works better. Cute about the "pat on the back" incident. Thanks for sharing.

Kate said...

I have a week planner that goes on the fridge for all to see. It is their job to look at it everytime they open the fridge to understand what is expected of them. Don't ask me when your ortho appointment is, it's on the freakin' fridge!!!! I also have a paper calendar in the kitchen as well, and a paper organizer in my purse. I like paper. Old school baby.

Keely said...

We use a shared Google calendar. But it would really be helpful if Paul actually looked at it.

Cassie said...

Dry erase over sharpie equals dry erase? Whaaaaa...?! That is important info right there. Thanks for the tip!

I have a big ass calendar that hangs in the mud room. I am a pen-to-paper gal. That sense of satisfaction looking back at the month of completed activities... oh, yes. It is difficult to discard the previous month once I have ripped it off. We usually have a moment of silence before it goes into the recycling.

sevisser said...

We use Cozi... a wonderful (American!) invention. Colour coding included.

Suzanne from the Netherlands

Leigh said...

I, too, have a color-coded dry erase board on my fridge, but having one for a second week is a great idea. I also use Google calendar and installed it on all my family's iPhones (against their will, I'll add), so no one has any excuse for double-booking.

I often say that trying to manage the schedules of two working parents and two daughters in high school and middle school is like trying to plan a military invasion accessorized by Vera Bradley. It takes some high-level skills and I wish it were appropriate to include on my resume.

Becky said...

I clearly need to explore this Cozi!

Common Household Mom said...

I use a large paper calendar that hangs in the kitchen. The only writing implement allowed to be used on this calendar is a pencil. Don't use a pen, or else.