How to Use a Digital Calendar to Organize and Manage Your Family Time
Does your family have a lot going on? You can get the whole family on the same page with a shared family calendar. Plus, it can all be done from the comfort of your smartphone.
There are a few different apps to choose from, but all of these digital calendars sync up with your family members so that when one person adds an event, everyone sees it.
That way, you know when your spouse has a dentist appointment, and they know when you have a really important meeting. Or when the season premiere of Game of Thrones is. (Or whatever is important to you.)
Digital Calendars Keep Your Family Organized
Whether your working or retired, we all have lots going on. Work schedules, doctor appointments, events, and vacations all take their place on the family calendar.
But how often do you find yourself (or your spouse) saying, “Hey, what’s going on this weekend?” or “Did we have anything planned for next Saturday?”
While those questions are innocent enough, things can escalate when you schedule a haircut the day you’re supposed to leave for the Bahamas or you signed yourself up to volunteer at the local church the same day as the grandkids’ soccer tournament. With a family calendar, you won’t double-book anymore.
Even if you’re a pen-to-paper kind of person, there’s a huge advantage to having a digital calendar that syncs for your whole family.
There are several smartphone apps to choose from, but rest assured that there are options for both iPhone and Android. These apps also have other neat features, such as shopping lists and to-do lists that the whole family can see, and even a shared family journal that everyone can contribute to.
Events can be color-coded by family member so you instantly see who’s doing what.
The pros of having an online family calendar may just be enough to ditch the physical planner.
Google Family Calendar for Android Users
If you’re already a Google or Android user, you might especially enjoy the Google family calendar option. This can also be a great option for families that have a mix of Android and Apple products. In other words, this is a good “universal” calendar option.
It’s comfortable, familiar, and has a great design that’s easy to navigate. Another huge plus? Google Calendar has over 500 million installs, which means a lot of other people use it. That makes accepting, editing, and declining event invites super simple.
You can create a “family” on Google, which automatically creates a family calendar that anyone in that family can see. This can be done on a computer, Android, iPhone, and iPad.
To start, you visit the “Your family on Google” page and click “Get Started.”
When you do that, you’ll be automatically listed as the “Family manager,” and you’ll select “Create Family Group.”
Then, you just add the email addresses of your family members.
Once they accept, you’ll be able to share not only your family calendar but notes and lists with Google Keep as well as photos and videos with Google Photos.
The nice part about using Google Calendar is that there is no “other” calendar that needs to sync. You’re adding events and appointments to one place that everyone in the family can access.
Plus, you can count on Google for fresh, clean design and a calendar that’s simple and user-friendly.
Adding events and reminders is really easy – just click “Create” and add the event details. In the following example, this is a reminder, and you can set reminders to happen once, or on a recurring basis.
If it’s event for the whole family, you can select “Family” from the dropdown.
Easy as pie!
What Is the Best Family Calendar for iPhone?
If you and your family members are iPhone users, Apple Calendar is probably the way to go.
It comes standard on all iPhones, iPads, and Macs which means you don’t have to download anything to get started.
You can create multiple calendars that are color-coded using Apple Calendar. For example, you might want all events that are work-related to be yellow and events that are family-related to be purple.
When you set up family sharing, a family calendar is automatically created and everyone that is invited will see the calendar. They can see and add appointments and events, and they’ll be alerted when you make a change or add something.
To set up the shared family calendar, visit Apple’s Family Sharing page.
When you set up family sharing, you not only get a shared calendar, but you also share iTunes, Apple Books, App Store purchases, and a photo album. You can even help locate each others’ missing devices.
To get started, tap “Settings” on your phone and tap “Set Up Family Sharing.”
Cozi, a Family Calendar App for iPhone and Android
If you have a large family or everyone has a different type of device, Cozi is a great shared calendar app. You can access the calendar from a PC or Mac as well as any mobile device - iPhone, iPad, Android phones, and Android tablets.
If you and your other family members already use a calendar, those existing calendars can be synced to Cozi. That includes Apple Calendar, Google Calendar, and Outlook.
For example, you may use Apple Calendar and your spouse may use Google Calendar – you can easily sync those up to Cozi so that when you add an event to those calendars, they automatically transfer to the shared family calendar.
With the Cozi shared calendar app, you can easily organize everyone’s schedules, activities, and appointments in one place. You get reminders when something is coming up, and you can view your day’s agenda by looking at “Cozi Today.”
The app also has some other nice add-ons, like to-do lists, shopping lists, recipes, and a family journal. There’s a reason this shared calendar app has been downloaded by 20 million people!
How do I share my calendar with family members?
When you get Cozi, you have the option to share your existing calendar with family members. You do that by getting the calendar URL. You then paste that URL into Cozi, and it starts syncing your calendar.
If you have an Apple Calendar, that URL can be found by logging into iCloud on a desktop, clicking on your calendar, selecting “Public Calendar,” and copying the link. You then sign into Cozi, click “Set Up: Internet Calendars,” and “Add an internet calendar.” Then, you just paste the URL and your calendar is synced.
The same thing can be done for Google Calendars. You click on “Settings” in your Google calendar (the gear icon) and on the left, under Settings for My Calendars, you click on the calendar you want to share. Scroll down to Integrate Calendars and copy the URL listed under “Secret address in iCal format.”
You can view all of the instructions for syncing up calendars on Cozi’s site.
What Is the Best Shared Calendar App?
We’ve gone through 3 of the most popular shared calendars online, but you may be wondering… which family calendar is the best?
The short answer is that each one arguably has its place. However, after reviewing each option and testing each out, this iPhone user has decided to go with Google Calendar.
My spouse has an Android, which automatically comes with Google Calendar. I already use Google Calendar for work events, and out of all three options, it seems to be the most user-friendly.
Even though I currently use Apple Calendar, I found it really simple to copy all of my events over to the new Family Google Calendar.
A few other pros of the Google Calendar:
- We already use Gmail and Google Drive
- It looks really tidy and organized
- Google Calendar can scan your emails for events or appointments and automatically add them to your calendar
- You can invite people to events even if they don’t have a G Suite account
Honestly, if we both had iPhones, Apple Calendar probably would’ve won. But the fact of the matter is that Apple Calendar isn’t friendly to people who don’t have Apple products.
Google Calendar is simply more universal, and its design is a bit easier to use.
At the end of the day, all 3 shared family calendars will help you stay in the loop with your loved ones, and it’ll undoubtedly make your life more organized.
Let us know in the comments below if you have a calendar system at home!
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