Hello, Google Calendar, I love you.

Everyone’s schedules can be done up independently and then superimposed, or made invisible, according to one’s preference at any given moment. Here is the full picture of a typical week, a week that doesn’t involve a trip to Calgary or a workshop in Nelson or a field trip or an all-day board meeting or an Aikido seminar.

Don’t panic. The big swaths of purple stuff is just Erin at school. I’m not involved there at all. The green blocks are family activities that involve me and the kids — and some of those, like the later-evening gym blocks, are discretionary. Red stuff is my work, whether at the clinic or Suzuki music teaching. Once we remove the red that only affects me, and Erin’s school, we end up with something that looks much better:

Isn’t that nice? Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays are terrific. Plenty of down-time.

The only problem is that now that I’ve got this over-scheduling problem licked, I seem to finally have on my hands a couple of kids who enjoy busy days with other people. Sophie and Fiona would like a little more in the way of activities. On my Google Calendar Sophie is yellow and Fiona is turquoise, plus they’re also involved in the green (family) blocks and the brown (driving) where relevant. Honestly, they’d love two mornings a week of art class, aikido, music classes or something — heck maybe even of school, if an appropriate program could be found. But none of these things are possible where we live. I suspect this is just a temporary situation, though, due to the fact that some regular activities are still gearing up. Once orchestra, aikido and Calgary trips begin in October, and the inevitable weekend workshops, concerts and recitals begin getting slotted in, I think they’ll be happy.

I figure a good balance has been struck if life sometimes feels a little over-busy and sometimes a little under-busy. We’re just going through a little phase of a couple of us feeling under-busy. The pendulum will swing the other way, I don’t doubt it. But I think it would be fair to say that the pendulum isn’t swinging widely these days, just a little to one side or other. We’ve got it pretty close to right for us, I think.

The colour of our week

14 thoughts on “The colour of our week

  • September 18, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Neato! I’ve played with google calendar before but I never thought about it bein such a neat tool to track family schedules. Thanks for the idea.

  • September 18, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    I love google calendar, though I am still trying to lick the over-scheduling thing.

  • September 18, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    I love Google Calendar too! My week only has two colours on it though, mine and Hubby’s. It is something of a shock to look at yours and realize that soon my children will each need colours of their own and my Google Calendar will become very, very colourful! It’s an interesting thought.

  • September 18, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Oops, sorry, one more comment. What colour is Chuck? He rarely features in your blog, what does he do when he is not in his smithy?

  • September 19, 2008 at 12:26 am


    Great blog. I love reading it. My daughter plays the violin, viola and piano too so its always interesting to read through your kids’ musical journeys.

    Could I ask- how do you colour code your Google Calendar for different people- I’ve been trying to do this for all my family members but haven’t been able to find a way.

    Thanks so much!


  • September 19, 2008 at 1:33 am

    Pragya, to get different colours you need to create a different calendar for each person. Under “My Calendars >> Create”. Once you've created a new calendar you use the little arrow button beside it to choose a unique colour.

  • September 19, 2008 at 10:34 am

    This is a fantastic idea, thank you!

  • September 19, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Hey Erin, Chuck isn’t on this calendar, except that his call schedule is in a stripe across the top (cropped out of these screen shots). He has his own vehicle, his days and weeks are predictable, I’m not responsible for getting him ready or taking him to his activities, and because the kids are into the double digits for age he’s no longer required at home to cover for me when I’m gone … so I just don’t need to fuss about the details of his schedule on Google.

    What he does besides blacksmithing is works 75+ hours a week as a small-town family doc, covering the ER and the local nursing home, as well as his practice. He works 5.5 – 6 days a week and is on call one week in two in an area without cellphone cover or reliable pagers (thanks to those rocky projections called mountains that we live in). So while he’s around the house most evenings, he has to be ready to scoot in to the ER. So he is therefore more of a casual conversationalist and putterer amidst our family life than an activity-initiator and project manager.

  • September 20, 2008 at 5:13 am

    I find it funny how just when you think you’ve cleared up your calendar, the kids go and overfill it again. We’d just got Tue-Thur free, and each child started something new, resulting in another 3 filled in slots in my planner!

  • September 20, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Too fun! I almost didn’t make it to the grocery store this morning because I was having so much fun with Google Calendar 🙂 Do you know if there is a way to create an event on more than one calendar at the same time?

  • September 21, 2008 at 6:57 am

    Oh weird. I didn’t think that comment went through yesterday. I figured out the answer to my question though. Thanks for blogging about this cool tool!

  • September 21, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    You’ve inspired me to try and make my own calendar…what a cool tool!

  • September 23, 2008 at 10:11 am

    That looks great! I love organizing our schedule but the color coding makes it so much easier to decipher who’s stuff is what 🙂 I’m going to have to check this out.
    Have a great day 🙂

  • September 27, 2008 at 2:18 am

    Cool – I’ve never tried out google’s calendar…might have to go mess around with it now. 🙂

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