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Scheduling Successes

Episode 5: Scheduling Success

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e dearly love our children, and our time with them is limited.

It’s limited by their age, the time they aren’t present because they are at school and sharing them with our CoParents.

Even if you are Parenting full time or you are a Single Parent, it’s a fact that we do not have an infinite amount of time to raise responsible adults.

Time is the new currency.

This is especially true as both you and your kids get older. Money, Health and Wellness can subjectively be created with work and effort, but time is and always will be finite.

This means that you get what you get and you can’t really create more of it.

Whenever I get frustrated about this, like a deadline is due at work or I’m late for my daughter’s Softball game, I remember when my Son was 5 years old and I’d tell him “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit”.

Today’s CoParent Courage Podcast is about Scheduling.

It’s very logistical, so it’s right in my wheelhouse. What I’d like to do is to give you the exact system I use to track recurring events and time with my own Partarent.

Oh, and if you missed the first four episodes you should really go back and listen to those first. We came up with a term together that I am going to use in this segment as well. This is the term “partarent” and, in simplest terms, it’s referring to the person with whom you co-parent your child. It’s basically a word that is just the combination of “part-time parent” and “ex-partner”. The intention is that this term transcends gender is just simply a shortcut term for the person you co-parent with.

Before we jump into super-specifics I wanted to mention something I recently came across that is fascinating.

A book that I was reading, unrelated to Parenting and more for myself, is called “The Time Paradox” and it talks in depth about our relationship with time, but more importantly it discusses how we have a bias with time, almost a cognitive bias.

What I mean by that is that some folks relate to time as the past, present and future to more of a degree than the others.

We think, in general terms, that we’re balanced between them. We know that nothing in the Past can be changed and that the future is pretty uncertain for anyone.

I mean, when I was younger I never thought that I would even have kids, let alone have one and even go through the Adoption system to get one.

The point of the book was that in all scenarios (or options) one can be stuck in a dream-like happy state or dismal, painful state in any of those.

So, someone trapped in, say, a tragedy in the past can live their lives in misery because they are re-living that event over and over again in their heads - perhaps even to the point of being depressed about it.

That same event could be transposed as anxiety because they fear they are going to repeat that event in the future.

Either way you slice it, we all have different views of time and even different relationships to time.

In fact, there is even an online test to see where you fall in your own relationship to time. If you’d like to start a deep dive into this, get the book “The Time Paradox” by John Boyd and Philip Zimbardo. It’s a really great read. I will include a link to this book in the show notes of this Podcast.

While it doesn’t apply directly to the boots-on-the-ground scheduling that we’re talking about here, what came up for me was how my relationship to time is - and moreover to treat it like money or some other precious commodity because it’s really that: A precious commodity.

Regardless of the relationship you already have or want to have with time, you need some solutions right now that are going to help you with your scheduling.

This is scheduling for activities that your children are going to be engaged in, potential play dates and even the division of time between you and your previous partner.

Now that we live in 2017, just about everyone has a “smart phone” of some kind or another.

And we’re all familiar with Google and the Google Suite of programs they call GSuite.

If you didn’t know it already, your Gmail account that you use to check email has a “baked in” calendar which you can easily share with other people. This means that just having a Gmail account means that you also have a sharable calendar that comes with your account.

So, when it comes to scheduling let’s first take a look at a shared calendar. This service can, at a glance, show you when your next meeting with your child is and also, if kept clean, can provide a historical record for visits and length of visits.

The real “secret” to using the Google Calendar is to know what to share and how to share it. I’d like to take this time for some quick instructions on how to setup a Calendar, how to share it and how to create a calendar item.

If I go too fast or this doesn’t make sense there is a ton of documentation online that will help you get setup.

How To Setup A Google Calendar

So, let’s break this down:

First, create your calendar. This is done by going to an icon the upper right-hand corner of Gmail and hitting the nine dots icon. It’s also called “Google Apps”. This will expand quite a few things that come with your free Google account.

Find and select “Calendar”.

This will fill your screen with a “week view”, or the days of the week that you are on.

Look over to the left hand-side and you’ll see a section called “My Calendars”. Hit the down arrow and you’ll see a choice to “Create a New Calendar”. This will open up another screen where you really only need to enter in two pieces of information:

The first is the name of the Calendar. Let’s call this your child’s name. Secondly, you need to share this calendar with someone and you’ll see a section called “Share with Specific People” about half-way down the page. Enter in your Partarents email address and then hit “Create Calendar” at the bottom of the screen.

That’s it. You’ve created a calendar and you’ve successfully shared it.

Now, it’s important to mention that your Partarent needs to acknowledge and accept that they are going to use the calendar. This is done through Google, who sends out an invite that they need to accept. I think it’s just a link inside of an email that they need to click in order to gain access to the calendar.

Once a calendar has been created, let’s create our first item.

Choose a day and time that something is happening. Let’s say that it’s your day to pickup your daughter from school. Go to the 3:00 PM time slot and click that area.

A pop-up window will appear with a blank box to write in what the event is going to be called. Let’s type in “School Pickup” and hit the “Create” button.

Now, you’ll see a block of time listed on the Calendar. It will be a different color than the rest of the calendar so it’s pretty easy to see.

This will give you the ability to edit the event and opens into another window.

If this is going to be a recurring item, select the radio button called “Repeat...” and fill out the drop-down menus on how often this event is going to recur.

Long Term Calendar Usage

Now that we can create calendar items and share them with your Co-Parent, set aside an hour or so and enter in all the important items for the rest of the year.

I know this sounds a bit overwhelming, but really take the time to put up what you know.

The reason I suggest this is that it shows transparency on your part and is a way for you to display your Mature Boundary by being upfront with your requests for time with your child.

This might include things like camping trips you have pre-planned for the Summer, trips you want to take, like attending a friend’s wedding where you want to bring your child.

The way you do this is you bring up a calendar item and go to the “Edit Events” section.

In the middle of the calendar item page, just over to the left, is a drop-down menu that says “Calendar”.

Here you will see your personal calendar along with the calendar that’s the name of your child, the one you just created.

For each event that you want to explicitly share with your Partarent, you’ll need to use that drop-down menu to select the calendar you want.

Then you can really take this to the next level.

You can even go through and setup your OWN calendars that overlay the one you’ve already shared with your Partarent in order to track your own things. Only this calendar, don’t share it with them. You’ll want to keep this one private.

In doing so, make sure that you aren’t sharing it with them.

So, for example, if you have a challenge with your Partarent dropping off your child at your house, you can make a note each time they are late. Now, you have your own documentation of when they were late.

Just make sure that when you are at the “Edit Event” section that the calendar labeled with your name and the word “Personal” in parenthesis is selected. If you don’t, you’ll be sharing everything.

I went through it pretty fast, but once you start creating a few calendar items and events in Google Calendar, you’ll start to see the benefit of shared calendars and how they can really assist you in keeping everything straight.

Let’s Review:

  • Time isn’t infinite. We only have a limited amount of time to teach our kids how to be responsible adults.

  • We talked briefly about how some people are stuck in a particular time, like the Past or the Future in regards to their relationship with time.

  • We then reviewed in great detail how to use the free Google Calendar with your Partarent and how to bring up scheduling. I also made some suggestions about personal calendars and how to setup a calendar for documentation purposes, if you feel that’s going to be necessary in your situation.

    Books Mentioned In This Blog Post

    The following are Affiliate URLs, please purchase through these links:

    The Time Paradox

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