I am conflicted about paper versus computer based calendars, but I have mostly used Google calendar for a few years now. Even if I miss the sensation of writing or can’t flip the pages quite the same, the ability to move things around on the calendar and send myself reminders has kept me using it. And there’s the color coding. I do wish they still had brown as an option, but nothing is perfect.
It is also useful that a separate calendar can be designed for separate people or categories. So, I can have each family member in in their own place, hiding and coloring things in the way that most effectively lets me try to get a grasp on what is going on. I can have a calendar for gardening and another for travel. If the color coding, or simply the number of events is overwhelming to look at, I can hide whichever calendars I need to for the moment.
Around this time of year, I like to make a rough, or potential, schedule of garden tasks. Emphasis on flexible. The weather, other family obligations, or interest of the moment will affect what I actually do. Getting garden work done in an enjoyable fashion is best done when balancing the pleasure of the moment with the reality of time constraints.
To begin putting things on the garden calendar, I hide all my other calendars. This helps me think more clearly about gardening. Since the gardening tasks are rarely strictly time dependent, it doesn’t matter if they overlap with other events. And, I can always move them here or there once I make all calendars show up again. (click on any photo to enlarge)
One of the first things I did was to put daily tasks on the calendar. After a while, I will usually remember them without needing to check the calendar, but just act of putting them there makes it more likely I will remember. When an event is scheduled, there are limited time frames in the drop down menu, but these can be fine tuned by choosing one, them deleting the minutes to change them to a more exact time. You will have to decide how much of the event description is important to show in the event “box” on screen. Using yellow for turning lights on, blue for turning them off, and green seedling care will also help jog my thoughts without taking up as much space with those regular tasks.
The window for making detailed editing of events is where you can set up reminders (near the bottom left). When you first mark something on the calendar, you have the choice of making a simple entry in the little box that shows up; or you can click on edit then and see the full window version with more options. Have no fear, though. There is always the possibility to go back and edit an event. Just click its box and it will give you the choice again. Even after a series of events has been set up, you can go back to one of the days and edit just that day’s event. Very useful.
It looks like it is possible to set up as many reminders as you want, via email and/or pop up on your screen. I mostly use pop-up reminders, since I find them easier to notice and get rid of. I have been known to set up reminders days, hours, and minutes ahead for a single calendar event. Having these reminders has kept both my seedlings and my chickens (separate calendar for animal care) alive. It also helps me mentally and practically prepare for what is upcoming. Like eating lunch on time.
For most of my calendars, I stay close to one color, unless it involves a combination of people or categories. However, I decided that I will probably look at my garden calendar as a unique page more often than not. It will also have more variety on it than most of my other calendars. With these things in mind, I am using many different colors to help me keep track of and notice events. But I do still wish they had brown. I like brown.
I have marked ideas on my gardening calendar for the next two weeks. I hope to plan planting and other imminent tasks soon. I will keep trying to remember what I wrote about making a realistic plan for my garden this year. There can be that tipping point at which the goals are so unattainable as to just be tempted to ignore the whole schedule. I will never be able to judge exactly what I can accomplish, but I can adjust and move all calendar events as I go along. I can even choose to keep the choices for next year (there is a yearly repetition option, which is also handy for birthdays and such).
One last thing about using google calendars is that it can be shared with others. If you are going away, or get sick, and or just need an easy way to show your helper just what needs to be done, sharing the calendar is a way to do that, assuming they also have google calendar. If they don’t, it is easy for them to set up in order to see your calendar.
If you want less of a feeling of hanging on the edge during the gardening season, this may be a way to do it. Take charge in a realistic way, marking on the calendar what is most important to you and what you are really likely to get done, if you could remember. If you want to see what I am putting on my gardening calendar, sign up for my email newsletter and you’ll get a link to it. I’m not saying it will be done at any certain time or never be changed, but it could help you make your calendar!