How to Schedule Time and Obligations

by Kelly · 10 comments

in Frugal Organization

So what with all this talk of volunteering (willingly and less so) and time obligations and being spread too thin, I thought I would share how I keep track of it all, and frugally to boot.

I have three places where I record information, although two of them are really just duplicates of each other. The two systems that mirror each other are both paper based. One is an agenda that I carry around with me, where I note appointments as I make them, obligations, birthdays and so on. The other is a monthly wall calendar, one of the monthly kind, which hangs just on the inside of the toilet door. (This is the perfect place to post information so that my husband can not say he did not know about something.) When I schedule something I make sure that the information makes it into both calendars. This system comes from my reading Confessions of an Organized Homemaker.

The wall calendar was a present from me to my husband last year. I admit that I gave it to him out of an ulterior motive, but it serves its purpose well. If I remember correctly, it cost about €12. My agenda cost €14, which is much more than I usually spend. It covers 18 months however, and I admit that I did splurge a bit on a Moleskin.

This system works brilliantly for appointments and the like but is not the best for obligations and assignments, particularly those that are blog related.

What I use for all my blog-related activity (posts to write, guest posts, entries into carnivals etc) is my Yahoo calendar. I like it because it’s on the desktop, so therefore it’s easy to enter information into the system. if I chose I could even have Yahoo send me alerts. And the very best part is that it’s portable and shareable: I can access it from any calendar and set alerts to be sent to my husband if need be. Not to mention that it’s free- that’s pretty cool too.

You might be wondering what all this has to do with personal finance. Everything and nothing! If you don’t keep track of your obligations, however, you’re not well organized. And being unorganized can cost you money and opportunities. Saving money and taking advantage of opportunities can save you money, and that, well that’s frugal. In my opinion, at least. I have a system that works for me, with much emphasis on the working for me bit. I would love to hear how you organize your time constraints and scheduling issues!

What’s your organizing system? How do you keep track of obligations? And finally, where is your calendar hanging?


1 Lucie August 6, 2008

I have been working on a home management system similar to the one Simple Mom has shared with her readers. In my binder I have her Daily Docket sheet that I use to record my daily activities (a full page in crucial – I splurged on a moleskin too but I never used it because there wasn’t enough room!) and I print out my calendar a few months ahead and stick it behind my daily sheets. I have separate sections in my binder for writing ideas, projects around the house (and their price estimate!), etc.

On my computer I use a calendar so I can have everything easily accessible, updated, and I can share it or have reminders if need be. The computer version is a nice supplement, but I am one of those write it down people.

And it helps that my binder is nice and pretty.

Current section I am working on in my budget: the dreaded budget. I think I am going to buy Dave Ramseys books today…

Lucie’s last blog post..The Myth of the Perfect Mom

2 My Daily Dollars August 6, 2008

My system is similar to yours. I’ve got two paper agendas. One is for my home life, and the other is for work. I haven’t figured out how to track my blog work yet. I have a notebook, but often forget to use it. I like your idea of using an online calendar just for the blog. I think I’ll try it. Thanks!

My Daily Dollars’s last blog post..Stress-Free Back-to-School Shopping, teenage angst included

3 Frugal Trenches August 6, 2008

For me it is my wall calendar & day planner all the way! Would be LOST without them and prefer paper copies to electronic!

Frugal Trenches’s last blog post..The Bandwagon!

4 Crystal August 6, 2008

iCal in my computer is the master schedule. I can set things up as repeating events there which is handy. Then hopefully weekly, at the very least monthly, I sit in front of my computer with my personal planner ( I love organizers because I can list the weeks to-dos separate from the dates and it’s easier to pick and choose at the moment without feeling totally shuffled) and then I take my personal planner to the family wall at the end of my hallway. That’s where I have the big wall calendar from and I keep track of everyone’s schedule there. I also pin-up black-out dates for places we have season passes to next to the big calendar, and the kids have their chore charts on that wall too. It’s eliminated a lot of “why didn’t you tell me?” – “I told you three times! Why don’t you listen to what I tell you?” arguments. ‘Cause even if my husband hasn’t read the calendar, or has forgotten what he read it’s there in black and white. He seems to be incapable of writing on it himself but with enough nudging he will e-mail me important dates from work and I enter them into all of the calendars which is better than living in confusion, even if I was hoping to have him entering stuff on the big calendar too. It’s not perfect but it works.

5 Shevy August 6, 2008

Hmm. I just tried to post a comment and it seems to have disappeared into the ether (I finally got a website error after it sitting there, chewing on it for a while).

Anyway, I was saying that I have a big calendar with large squares and magnets on the back, on my fridge (right at eye level on my freezer door). It’s the one Flylady recommends but I get it every year at my local supermarket for $9.99. The calendar runs from September to the following December, which is great because all our other calendars only go from September to September (the Jewish year).

It comes with tons of stickers and it will be even more useful to me this year because my Dear Child starts kindergarten and I’ll need to have a place to keep track of Professional Days, early dismissal, etc. as well as birthdays, swimming lessons, Dr. appointments and so on that I already keep track of.

I also depend on my Chabad calendar for candlelighting times and religious holidays because everything revolves around candlelighting on Fridays. I try to transfer it over to the big calendar but that only happens sporadically so I just end up using both.

I also have a Daytimer that’s incorporated into my wallet but never remember to use it. I used a Daytimer extensively about 10 or 15 years ago, but have gotten out of the habit. I keep thinking I should try harder to get back into it, but right now it’s just one thing too many to keep track of.

Shevy’s last blog post..Good Riddance Fido

6 Kelly August 6, 2008

Hi Shevy,

I think the server is really slow tonight (this morning for you) as I’ve been trying to putter around on the site and it really is puttering tonight! Thanks for bearing with it and leaving the comment again!

I’m not familiar with the FlyLady calendar- which one is it? I’ve tried to do her system, but am too attached to being barefoot…

7 Kim Ayscue August 6, 2008

I’m a geek so am a sync-freak. My crackberry syncs to my Outlook (laptop and desktop) which syncs to Outlook (Office Live) which gives me the ability to add an appt or contact or to-do item anywhere and anytime and have it sync’d with minimal effort. I use my crackberry as my alarm in the a.m. so us that time to also check the agenda for the day. I can print out a hard copy of anything I need. I can export my contact list to almost any other application which helps me when I need to fine tune the list for a specific reason. For example–I’ve exported the contact list into Excel to set up a kewl little xmas shopping list with lots of columns added for “card sent” “thank you sent/received” “clothing size” or “favorite color”. As you can see, I can get a bit distracted if given half a chance. Loved the post–expecially the bathroom door idea. Am going to try that here.

Kim aka geekermom

8 Kelly August 6, 2008

Kim, I too have a tendency to go overboard on a system when I find that it works for me! But whatever works, works, right?

9 Gidget August 7, 2008

Like Lucie, I’ve recently put together a home management notebook, a la Simple Mom. It’s really helped me on a daily basis. I use Google calendar for everything and print it out to put in my notebook. I also have a wall calendar on the inside door of my computer hutch but I now use it mostly as an easy reference for dates/days of the week and don’t write on it much now that I’m using Google (and as a reminder of how beautiful Hawaii is!). I carry around a mini $2 calendar in purse where I can scratch down notes when I’m out (like signing up to bring snacks to Bible study) and then transfer them to Google later (I also use it to track more “personal/feminine” dates if you catch my drift). 🙂 The calendar-on-the-bathroom-door idea is great though! 🙂

Gidget’s last blog post..Homemade Cloth Diaper Liners

10 Crystal August 7, 2008

The FlyLady calendar I use is this one-

Like most things in my life I take the lessons from FlyLady that I find valuable (i.e. it is not only forgivable, but absolutely necessary, to take care of myself even if I haven’t done my chores yet) and I quickly abandon things that don’t work for me (lace up shoes, yeah right, I actually tried it and spent about four hours listening to a whining nagging voice inside my head pleading “we’re home, can I take of my shoes now? How about now? Can I take them off now?” Not productive). For a calendar I’m trying to train my entire family to refer to I really like the big squares and no fuss (no monthly art, just lots of dated rectangles to fill with important information) of the FlyLady calendar.

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