It’s probably safe to say that we all need ways to manage our time, whether we work outside the home, manage a small business, or manage four teens!  I have tried many different systems and like a combination of digital and old-fashioned pen and paper methods.

Just so you know, I come from a frame of reference that does not revolve around a smart phone. I spend most of my time in my home studio which has a desktop computer. I only just got a “real” cell phone a few months ago but could not justify the expense of a smart phone service. I do have a first generation Itouch that I bought used. I love it. I have encountered a few apps that do not work on my Itouch, but for the most part it has been great. Many places have WiFi now (even stores like Target) so I can use it to check my mail if I’m stuck in a long line.

I use Outlook for my calendar needs. I switched to it a number of years ago for a variety of reasons. I wanted to be able to record recurring Birthdays and Anniversaries. I set the reminders for those a week in advance, the theory being that I will remember to send cards.  I also like that I can color code the listings.  I have a color code for each child so their activities jump out. The Outlook calendar syncs with my Itouch so I can bring it to the dentist when I am making future appointments.

I print a monthly calendar and hang it on the wall in my office. I also give a copy to my husband.

I print out a weekly calendar every Sunday evening.

All of my activities, birthdays, etc. will print out on the weekly calendar. It leaves ample space for me to write in specific tasks. Ideally, it would have a lined, timed listing, so I could plan out each day. However, that option is only available on a daily listing and I don’t like to waste that much paper and ink.

You can even make multiple calendars if you would like.  For example, a work calendar and a family calendar.

In addition to using a calendar to manage family and business life, I like to make lists. I simply feel better if I write ideas down. I have “to do” lists, “things to buy”, “blog ideas”, and “new product ideas”, to name a few. I recently discovered Wunderlist2, a free program which you can download on your devices and which will sync between them.

Here’s an example of my Cleaning list. Not very extensive yet. But when I notice an area that really needs special cleaning attention, on my list it will go.

I also like having all of my lists in one place. In the past I had personal lists and blog lists and business lists in separate places.

The key to any system is checking it frequently. I admit that I have not perfected this. I could use a more formal system as in the Franklin Planner. But I simply try to check my lists and calendar the night before and/or in the morning.  (FYI – I have shown up at Dr. appts. on the wrong days….)

Here are some additional resources I found on Homemakers Daily and Simple Organized Living:

Six Ways to Make a To Do List

Weekly Planning with Download Sheet

How I Plan My Week

Simple Organized Living

What kind of calendars do you use and are you a list maker?