Families are busier than ever before. Meetings, bible study, practice, birthday’s, date nights, vacation, cookouts, eye appointments, etc…Does this sound familiar? One of the best things Marilyn and I ever did was figure out a system for syncing our schedules. Here’s how we do it…
First, understand that the secret to a successful calendar sync is layering your communication. It should be easy, fun, and NOT legalistic. Remember, this is supposed to help eliminate fights, not start them up.
So if you’re the organized one of your family (like me), be patient with your spouse as he/she learns new technology and breaks bad habits. If you’re the more abstract spouse (like Marilyn), make sure you meet your spouse halfway and let him/her know what forms of communication/technology you will actually use.
This is what works for us during this season of our life. Feel free to use this, tweak it, and share what works for you…
- We Eat Together. No it’s not outdated. Families still actually eat meals together. We try to do this as often as we can, but doing it every night isn’t very common for us. Three to four meals a week is more typical. Great conversations can take place including discussions about what happened today and what’s coming up this week.
- We Use Phone Calls & Text Messaging. There’s not a day that I don’t take some time to talk with Marilyn via cell phone. We really benefit from checking in on each other during the breaks of our work day. Plus, it has been really beneficial when plans change or new opportunities present themselves.
- We Hold A Weekly Review: I do this anyways to get my priorities of the week established, sort paperwork/notes, and create a to-do list. I decided to start inviting Marilyn into this time as it gives her a chance to give input on those priorities and to-do’s. It’s been pretty beneficial as a weekly opportunity to update each other on the highlights of the upcoming week seems to be the right rhythm for us.
- We Use The Same Systems. This helps us both know where to look for info. Here are some of the ones we use now:
- iPhones: iMessage (iPhone’s hybrid form of text and instant messaging) has been great. It’s instantaneous and doesn’t increase our cell phone bill. Plus we can use the same apps to help manage the other parts of our life.
- Google Calendars: I can’t say enough about them. They have simplified our life tremendously. Marilyn has her own calendar. I have mine. We subscribe to each other’s calendars making it so simple to keep up on day-to-day events.
- Wall Calendar: We use a weekly calendar on our kitchen to highlight the events of our week. Either of us can scribble on it, but its high enough that the kids can’t get to it.
- We Have Bi-Annual Planning Dates. OK, I know this doesn’t sound romantic at all, but it helps. In the past, this has involved us going to Starbucks for a few hours with an iPad (so we can get into Google Calendars and other apps) or a cheap paper calendar to scribble all over. Once we’ve had our indulgence of coffee and planned out the major events of the next 6 months (vacations, meetings, etc.), we will finish by working on a major project. Last time, this was crafting our will. After all the work is done, we usually go out to eat and do some shopping.
This list certainly isn’t exhaustive and may not work for people at different seasons in their life. Would you care to share what things you and your spouse do to stay connected? Leave a comment and let the great ideas begin!