As you read last month, my family is on a mission for a simpler life. This past year we let things get so incredibly hectic that we had major breakdowns in communication. As I am sure you’re aware, it’s very hard for any relationship to function without communication. For the past few months we have been working hard, both together as a family and with professionals, on effective ways to communicate. It may sound totally counterintuitive, but we have utilized some great technology to help keep our family running smoothly.
Before we get into the tech, a little update: back in September I scaled back my marketing agency to just include some website design work and social media consulting. The plan was for me to have more time to focus on our homestead (still a work in process) as well as our 10 year old’s homeschooling (more on our homeschool tools at a later time). I never in a million years thought I’d be a homeschool mom, but the Lord works in mysterious ways! All that considered, time is very precious. I could not have a client’s consulting time with me be interrupted because the rest of the family didn’t know my schedule.
Enter stage left, the first and most important tool on my list: Trello. Trello is a web based project management app that I have used for years in my agency. It’s basic structure is this: you can have teams, under teams you can have boards, under boards you can have cards. Cards can hold anything from notes, links, pictures, check lists, and due dates. My favorite part about Trello is how easy it makes planning. For example, I can create a card for “family vacation” and add my comments, suggestions, or links. I can tag my husband and my son to ask for their opinions. Everyone has the information they need to make decisions quickly.
Here is how we have our Trello set up:
- Team: Hayse Family
- Boards: To-Do Lists & Our Weekly Schedule
- Cards: Tasks & Events
Now, if you’re looking to take your family tech to the next level check out G Suite by Google. G Suite includes email, documents, and calendar. Pro tip: you can sync up your Google calendar so that anytime you set a “due date” in Trello it also creates a calendar event with reminders! My favorite part about G Suite is that by using Family Link my 10 year old can use all the services, but my husband and I are able to monitor his emails and set up parental controls.
Two other noteworthy apps we also use are:
- Mint – an Intuit product where you can hook up all your bank accounts and credit cards so you can easily check them, as well as set budgets and keep an eye on your credit score.
- Wunderlist – a Microsoft product we use exclusively for grocery shopping. Over the Summer when we had long term guests we had them each download the app so we could all add items as they were used up and whoever did the grocery shopping next could have a complete list for the household.
Disclaimer: I am by no means saying we don’t still have scheduling or communication mishaps from time to time, I am simply sharing the tools that have helped us improve. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions about the apps I mentioned above, or to let me know about another awesome app that you are using!
XO – Olivia