Using Google Calendar to Manage a Family

Google Calendar. I think our entire family structure would descend into chaos without it.

Okay, maybe not. That’s a bit of an exaggeration.

How to use Google Calendar to manage a busy family

However, the orderliness of our family life now that I have five adult kids who all live at home is heavily reliant on Google calendar.

Let’s talk for a bit about how I use it, and what Google Calendar does for our family.

Hopefully this will give you some great ideas for using Google Calendar to keep track of appointments, work schedules, and menus in your own family too!

Sample Menu Entry in Google CalendarGoogle Calendar for Menu Planning (Linked to Recipes too!)

First of all, I use Google calendar, along with some other Google products (Keep, Drive) to organize my recipes, and plan my menu each month. I’ve posted about this in more detail in another post.

In case you’re wondering why I plan my menu by the month, I just find it easier. Planning for the month also allows me to stock up on what’s on sale if I know I’ll be needing it sometime in the next 30 days.

I have a calendar inside of my Google Calendar account that shows my menu for the day. If you click on the event, there’s a link to the recipe, which I have stored in Google Drive (mostly). Sometimes I link to a recipe I found online that I want to try. I don’t bother importing it into Google until I love it.

You can see in the example here, that there is the title of the meal, and then a Google Drive link (circled), that I can click on to grab the recipe if I need it. Very handy.

No more digging around in my cookbooks or trying to remember when I saw that recipe.

Even better? If I need one of the younglings to make dinner due to my own schedule, they know what was planned and where to find the recipe to finish it off if needed.

Creating Calendars in Your Google Calendar Account

Wait, what? You are probably wondering about how to create a calendar within the calendar.

This is the best part, I think, as it keeps things compartmentalized while still using Google Calendar.

Creating a new calendar within your google calendar account

In my calendar account, I have several calendars, all set up to display in different colors so I can see them at a glance:

  1. The Default calendar that has my name, which I use for appointments, general family events, and personal things.
  2. The Menu calendar
  3. A calendar of design clients and client work
  4. A calendar for content creation and sharing via social media, so I stay on top of marketing my site.

To post to the specific calendar, just click the drop-down menu in the box that appears when you are creating the event. If you accidentally save the event or reminder to the wrong calendar, not to worry. Just click “edit event”, and it will let you change that.

You can also toggle on and off which calendars display in your account.

Sharing Calendars Within the Family

As with most of the calendars we have, this one is a “Shared” calendar. This means that my family members, whom I “invited” to the calendar, can view it at any time in their own calendar apps. At a glance, they can see what is for dinner tonight.

They still ask. Drives me nuts.

To share a calendar, click the small triangle next to the calendar name. A pop up will appear, with the option to share the calendar. You will be able to either make the calendar public or to share it with specific people (via their email address).

How to share calendars in Google Calendar

Keeping Track of the Crazy Family Schedule

This brings me to the other primary use of Google Calendar for our family: keeping track of everyone’s crazy schedule in one place.

Everyone in our family works greatly fluctuating work schedules, with people coming and going at all hours of the day and night around here. It’s like Grand Central Station.

Thankfully I have at least some idea of where everyone is based on everyone’s individual Google Calendar’s shared with me, and on display on my Google Calendar App.

I like to know where everyone is, you know?

Organizing Appointments

Usually, when I make appointments for kids (although they’re starting to make their own now), I invite them when I make the event in my calendar using the “invite others to this event” feature. I just enter the email address.

By the way, this is so much easier and more efficient than keeping track of those little cards we used to get for appointments that we’d invariably lose long before the next appointment.

Furthermore, unlike those little cards, a Google Calendar (especially an app on a smartphone) will remind you when the event is taking place. I set mine to remind me 1 hour before I should leave (see next point).

Making Note of WHERE the Event is Taking Place (and How to Get There)

I love that I can link my Google Calendar events to Google Maps, so that

  1. I know where something is taking place (especially if I’ve never been there before)
  2. So Google can tell me about how much time it will take to get there, so I leave on time
  3. I am alerted if I need to leave sooner due to road conditions, construction, detours, etc.

Reminders of Something I need to Do

I also use Google calendar to remind me of something in the future that I will probably forget by the time I need to remember it. Google will keep showing you the reminder (set it as a reminder, not an event) every day until you click “Done”. I am the kind of person who needs this.

For example, I just used it in regards to remembering to pay the property taxes. For some reason, I always forget that those are due at the end of February.How to use Google Calendar to manage a busy family

Want to Learn More About Using Google Calendar?

If I’ve piqued your interest in using Google Calendar, but you want to learn more, I’ve found a super helpful course on the topic over at Udemy. This is an up-to-date course that will help you use Google Calendar to get started organizing your life.

Introduction to Google Calendar for beginners

Learn to manage your time effectively and schedule events with Google calendar