Make no mistake about it. If you have a family then you need a separate family calendar. Believe me. It will greatly improve your life and your relationships. This is because it will keep you and your family on the same page. It will also ensure that your family maintains all of their commitments and appointments.

But, if you’re already using an online calendar — can’t you just use that one for your family as well? Not necessarily.

Why You Should Have a Separate Family Calendar

“There are 35 million families in the United States with one or more children under the age of 18,” writes Elena Krasnoperova, the Founder of the family calendar app Carloo.

“We estimate that every family spends at least 10 minutes every single day on coordinating family logistics: Who’s picking up the child from soccer practice, what do we need from the grocery store, wasn’t the parent-teacher conference happening today, I have to work late tonight – can you cover for me at home… The list goes on and on.”

After quickly crunching the numbers, the Carloo team concluded “that every family spends at least 60 hours every single year on family logistics and coordination.”

Counting the 10 minutes per person, per day, per numbers of families, per year. This means in the U.S. alone, families devote a whopping 2,165,800 hours annually on “the administrative “busywork” of being a parent.” That comes out to 2.2 billion hours.

In other words, having a family calendar ensures that you aren’t wasting any of your time — or anyone else’s — valuable time.

Besides this very good reason, a family calendar also comes with the following advantages:

  • You’ll be less to forget or miss doctor’s appointments, school and extracurricular activities, or important events like birthday parties.
  • You and your family can see each other’s schedules. This means if you children have a soccer game on Wednesday night, no one in your household will commit to another event.
  • Ensures that household chores get accomplished since everyone is assigned a specific household task.
  • Your family can help each other out. For example, if your spouse is has a doctor’s appointment, then you or your children could start dinner instead of your spouse cooking when they finally get home.
  • It simplifies your plans. For example, you can plan your meals and grocery lists based on your family’s schedule. If you see that your household is busy on a Thursday night, you may want to cook a quick meal instead of something that’s more time consuming.
  • It makes scheduling family time a lot easier — which to be honest, should be a priority.

Why Merging Personal and Work Calendars Make Sense

If you’re like me, you probably already have an online calendar. So, wouldn’t it make sense just to merge your family calendar with your existing work calendar? What if you forget it’s your day to pick up little Suzy? Your partner wrote it in her calendar. You didn’t.

In a previous Calendar article, Kayla Sloan definitely believes that you should merge your personal and work calendar for the following reasons.

  • It saves you time. Having one calendar means that you aren’t creating duplicate events in each or switching back-and-forth between calendars. Your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly agenda can be viewed in just one calendar.
  • It’s more convenient. Let’s say that a client will be in town for a couple of days and wants to meet for dinner. If you have separate calendars you’ll have to flip between each of these to see when you’re available. You don’t want to pencil-in this important business dinner on the same night that your children have a parent-teacher conference.
  • You’ll stay organized. Having just one calendar means that you aren’t coordinating two different calendars. What a mess. If you are one of the flippers, you can easily “lose track of appointments. The worst is when a meetings in one of them ends up missing in the other calendar and an important event is missed by one of the individuals.” It can even lead to double booking yourself.
  • Allows you to plan ahead. Let’s say you have to leave early from work because you need to pick-up your kids from school. Having just one calendar lets you plan ahead so that you’re prepared. Maybe you could work from home on this day or delegate tasks to someone else so that you don’t fall behind.
  • It prevents rescheduling. Bouncing between two calendars means that it’s easier to double-book yourself. As a result, you have to reschedule events. It can be embarrassing — but most of all — it’s time-consuming. Having one calendar can decrease the need to reschedule.

The Reasons Why You Should Have a Separate Family Calendar

While there are definitely perks to merging your personal and work calendars — there’s also some very good reasons why you should keep them seperate.

For starters, it is possible if you are not careful — you may fill your calendar with both family and work events, tasks, and reminders — your calendar will become so cluttered that it will become unreadable. Even worse, it will be packed with back-to-back activities and so many events and tasks that not everything will get accomplished.

Additionally, there are some serious concerns if you share your calendar with colleagues and clients, such as:

  • Your colleagues and clients may see your family’s personal appointments. I don’t know about you, but I don’t always want my co-workers to see all of my doctor’s appointments.
  • They can also see you and your family’s personal information. Again,maybe I don’t want my work contacts, whether if they’re co-workers or clients, to know exactly what I’m doing on my time-off.
  • Sometimes there’s information you don’t want your colleagues to see. I’m not saying you have to deceive your colleagues. But you don’t want to upset them by saying you can’t attend a meeting or social event because you’re busy with your family.
  • Finally, if there are micromanagers within your organization they may attempt to schedule every minute of your day — even when you’re off the clock.

Online Calendars Your Family Should Use

Most online calendars and apps can also be used to create separate calendars. For example, Google Calendar allows you to get multiple calendars. This way you can create and share one just for your family and other strictly for work. The same is true for the iCloud Calendar.

If scheduling is an issue with your family, you can use Calendar. This way you can share your availability with your family and they can then pick an ideal time to schedule an event.

There’s also some calendars and organizers that were designed specifically for families. These include the above mentioned Carloo and the popular Cozi.

Of, if you want to go old school, try out Sandra Boynton’s Wall Calendar or a magnetic dry erase calendar.