Apr 022012

We probably all agree that using calendars effectively can result in less time “lost” during the day, which means more time to do the things we want to do.  Managing your time effectively can result in saving money, too- if you’ve calendared your friends’ birthdays, you can buy presents well ahead of time when you see good sales, instead of waiting until the last minute and paying full price.  But even though we might agree that calendaring is worthwhile, we might not be using the best calendars for our own particular styles and preferences.

Here’s a list of some of the best electronic and paper calendars around- take a look and see if one might be the right fit for you:

  • Microsoft Outlook: This is a very “feature-rich” calendaring system that you can buy and install on your computer.  It does a great job handling recurring events (like scheduling your kid’s swim lessons every Tuesday) and multiple calendars (you can create separate calendars for appointments, birthdays, and even separate family members).  However, its main drawback for families is that you can’t sync your Outlook calendar onto your smartphone or other device (iPad, husband’s computer, your office computer) without an expensive business syncing account.  So, you won’t have your calendar with you when you’re out and about, and your spouse won’t know what’s on your calendar.  Which is why you might consider…
  • Cozi: Cozi is a free, web-based calendar system that is specifically designed for families.  Each family member is assigned a color, so it’s easy to see, with just a glance, who is supposed to be doing what at any given time.  You can program the calendar to send text messages to remind family members of their appointments, and every Sunday evening Cozi sends users a nice color-coded list of the upcoming week’s events.  There are even custom calendars you can add to Cozi- if you’re a fan of FlyLady’s cleaning system, you can add FlyLady’s Cozi calendar to yours so that your housecleaning tasks will be scheduled for you.  Even more fun, Cozi has a grocery list function- if you type in “Zuc” into the grocery list, it will automatically pull up “Zucchini.”  Check boxes next to the items make it easy to cross items off your list once you purchase them.  Cozi also has smartphone apps so that you can easily pull up your calendar and grocery lists when you’re on-the-go.  And if you don’t have a smartphone, Cozi has a toll-free phone number you can call anytime to hear your upcoming appointments or grocery lists.  Cozi is so fun to use that it would be my number one recommended calendar if it weren’t for the fact that it has ads flashing at you in both the browser version and the smartphone apps.  I used to have fun using Cozi on my iPhone, but I got sick of seeing ads all the time, which is why I switched to…
  • Google Calendar Unlike Outlook, Google Calendar is free, and because it’s web-based, you can view it from any device.  So, you can enter an appointment from your home computer, and your spouse can view or edit that appointment from their smart phone or work computer.  However, being web-based is also a drawback: if the internet goes down at your house, you won’t be able to view your appointments.  To get around this you can set up Google Calendar to automatically download into your Outlook calendar or your smartphone’s calendar app so that you at least have something to look at until your internet connection is re-established.  A lot of people love Google Calendar for its sophisticated functions like recurring appointments and color-coding, as well as its ability to handle multiple calendars and multiple users.  Now it might be that fiddling around with electronic calendars is just not your thing, in which case you might want to stick with…
  • Paper Calendars: These have been tried and true for generations.  You might have heard about Day Runner and Franklin Covey calendars, but it’s worth checking out some very creative paper calendars by lesser known brands, such as WeekDate, that feature fold out pages that allow you to schedule recurring appointments without having to write them down every week.  And  Family Calendars give you a column for each family member’s appointments.  Or, if you don’t want to buy a calendar, try free printable calendars, such as this one.

What type of calendar do you use?

Viva Harris

+Viva Harris writes The Daily Citron, a fun blog about setting goals, saving money, staying organized, and enjoying life in the process. Don't want to miss any tips? Sign up for the free Daily Citron Weekly Newsletter.

  10 Responses to “Find the Right Calendar”

  1. Having calendars that sync between my computer and my phone has been a lifesaver for me! Since we’re on Macs, my husband found this software, Spanning Sync, that syncs between Macs and Google Calendar. Since I have an Android phone, that sync happens perfectly. The really great thing is that we share calendars, so he has both our household calendar and our kids’ school calendars on his computer. If I forget to tell him that we won’t be home until late because of an event, there’s no confusion. My favorite thing about electronic calendars is that I can make them “yell” at me if there’s something I know I’m likely to forget. If I have a tendency to dismiss an alarm and forget about it, I have it send me e-mail. Then I can’t ignore it!

    • We sync our Google calendars to our iPhones and it’s fairly seemless. However, I didn’t like the iPhone’s default calendar interface that much, so I got the WeekCal app, which has been fantastic. It syncs my iPhone with my Google calendars perfectly, and it has all sorts of fun colors and icons to use. I don’t know what the equivalent Android calendar app would be…

  2. Funny how you didn’t like all the ads on Cozi, but I am sorry to say that your blog has quite a few itself.
    Great article though on the different calendar systems. It is my first visit to your blog

    • Hah, good point! I guess I’m used to ads on news sites, blogs, and other informational sites, maybe because they seem “public,” whereas a productivity tool like a calendar or an iPhone app seems more private or personal to me, and not a place I want to see ads. BUT, you’re the second person in two days who’s knocked my ads, so it looks like I’ll have to work on the sidebar layout. ;)

  3. Thanks for the run down on different calendars. All of the android phones I have had will sync with the outlook calendar from my work with the apps that come with the phone. I can add appointments to my phone that stay separate from my work calendar, and I can add appointments to my work calendar from my phone. I can see all of them in one place. It really saves me!

    • For me, the frustrating thing about Outlook is that you can’t sync it to your phone unless it’s through an employee account. So in other words, you get to sync your Android phone to your employer’s Outlook work calendar, but your personal calendar appointments on your Android phone won’t sync to a home desktop using Outlook. Unless you’ve figured out some way to make that work? I guess it’s only a big deal if you like to view your personal appointments on your home desktop, which I do…
      thanks for your input!

  4. I had this problem when I got my current phone, but there is a work around on mine. Working from the phone: press “+” to add an appointment. At the top of the screen there is a box that says Calendar. When I got the phone it defaulted to Phone calendar. There is a dropdown by Phone calendar where I can choose which calendar has the appointment. I choose my work calendar. After that, it now defaults to phone calendar. It does sync to my work calendar now.I agree that it is easier to have all of them in one place.
    I currently have a Motorola, and I think each one works a little differently.
    I hope yours will give you an option!

  5. […] of great free printable 2013 calendars available right now.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of electronic calendars, like the Google Calendar that I use for my weekly and monthly calendars, but there’s no […]

  6. […] so that she can take the initiative to see for herself what our plans are.  My husband and I already use a shared Google calendar, which we access using the very cool Week Cal app on our iPhones, but I think we need something in […]

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