The trusty kitchen calendar. For many years, we have had a kitchen calendar pinned to the wall, just next to the sink. Each month is neatly divided up so we have a section for each of us - Daddy, Mummy and the two kids. It has even become a tradition for my parents to buy us a new one for Christmas with clear requirements for enough space for us all and preferably a little notepad underneath for the missing sections. If there are any arguments, the calendar is always the word of truth. No appointment is truly booked until it has been etched in stone aka scribbled in biro.
Finally, after years of trying to persuade my wife that we need an electronic version so that we can actually see what we have booked while we're out of the house, I have a break through! As it was my birthday yesterday, she bought me a shiny iPad mini and a holder for it to attach it to the wall. Just slightly further away from the sink than the paper version, we now have an electronic device on the wall.
I spent a few hours setting up new calendars in my O365 account, one for each of us and there was even space for our impending arrival in April. These were then synced up on my phone and my wife's before syncing all on to the iPad. There are plenty of options for calendar apps but for now I kept with Outlook on iOS that we have both been using.
Next step was to add even more potential efficiency as I set up a Trello account for us all and started putting the list of tasks for all of us. I used the Card Repeater Power-Up (http://blog.trello.com/trello-card-repeater) so that we could have regular tasks, especially for our eldest who has his pocket money linked to getting his tasks done. After a few hours, I then had my long list of tasks up for setting up the baby's room and getting the garden ready for summer. My wife is now busily re-sorting them in to priority order - I did suggest a daily stand-up meeting but this was probably a step too far…
"I do not like Green eggs and ham! I do not like them, Sam-I-am."
Going back to the title of the post, this is much like the character from Dr Seuss' classic. He refuses to try Green Eggs and Ham because he doesn't like the look of it. He doesn't want to do anything different at all. It doesn't matter where it is, who it is with, how it is with. Whether it is a Mac, a PC, an iPad or a Kindle. It's a change for something that is key to the way our lives work and the thought of that working caused panic. The more I suggested it, the bigger a thing it became. The bigger the swell against it.
Until finally, the boat collapsed, we were in the ocean and my wife gave in. Let's try it…
So far, she loves it. She has filled her and my weekends and we both know what is happening. She knows when I'm planning to be out and when I can pick up the kids. I know if she's likely to be back late as she's seeing a friend. We have all the kids booked in for their playdates and in some cases have even shared the invite with the parents.
What has been even better is adding some more things on the iPad. It now has the Sonos Controller on there and it's so much easier to set the radio on than unlocking the phone. I've also set up Find iPhone so we can both track down where we left the phone. Another plus is setting up Netflix so I have something to keep me entertained while washing up. I've even debated suggesting the new Office 365 Bookings app so friends can book slots but think I may be taking that too far!
What does this mean to everyone else?
Am I saying that everyone should have a tablet attached to the wall? No, not necessarily. It works great for us but may not for you. What I'm saying is that you shouldn't just stick with the old way of doing things. Try out new ideas and see if it can make you more efficient. New tips can make life much easier and streamline your day to focus on more interesting things. Try and ditch your paper notepad for a tablet for a while - searching for old notes is so much better.
There are a very large number of processes in most organisations that have gradually slipped in to tradition but are not as efficient as they could be and don't make the most of modern changes. Traditional hierarchy intranets should not be the sum total of the intranet and email should not be your only collaborative tool. Slack and Microsoft Teams offer new alternatives that require people to change the way they do things but the results can be achieved surprisingly easily.
Let me know how it goes and if you have any suggestions for other calendar apps, please do tweet me!
With thanks to http://seuss.wikia.com/wiki/GreenEggsand_Ham for images