How To Use The Essential Calendar

Make this your best year yet! The Essential Calendar is remarkably versatile and can be adapted to households of all varieties. Once you’ve practiced with it for a season or two you’ll develop your own personal style, but in the meantime this will get you started:

CLEAR SPACE • Clear a table space at least 18” x 24”. Unroll The Essential Calendar and lay it on the table.

GATHER SUPPLIES • Gather anything you may need to make this planning session a success, such as:

  • Markers, colored pens/pencils
  • Digital calendar
  • Weekly planner
  • Schedules (school, work, lessons, practices)
  • Birthday calendars
  • Vacation itineraries
  • List of holidays
  • Blank paper

GATHER YOUR HOUSEHOLD • Plan a time to meet as a household and ask everyone to choose a colored pen or pencil. Have each person add their lessons, practices, appointments, games, parties, concerts, meetings, travel dates, and other commitments to the calendar. Add holidays, vacations, and birthdays.

Once the calendar is filled in you will get a high-level view of how your next few months are shaping up. You will know where you may have scheduling conflicts, where you need to create some space, and where you can add extra fun!

BRAINSTORM • Invite your household to write down a list of ideas for family goals, experiences, and outings on the blank paper. Have a conversation about the suggested activities and decide which ones best fit with your values, resources, and availability. Add the appropriate activities to the calendar.

DISPLAY CALENDAR • Grab tape, thumbtacks, magnets, etc. and mount your calendar on a wall or in a frame in a highly visible place.

KEEP GOING • Revisit your calendar weekly or as needed. Ask your household to adjust the dates and times of their assignments as changes arise. Take turns making off the days on the calendar by drawing an X or a diagonal line through the square when the day is coming to a close, and notice how your family moves through the seasons more purposefully. 

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If your calendar won't lay flat, we recommend two options: 1) use a frame to hang it  2) roll it in the opposite direction, secure with a rubber band, and let sit for 1-2 hours. Unroll and the calendar and it should lay flat for you. 

If you have textured walls, you may have trouble writing on your calendar when it's hung vertically. To mitigate this, simply keep your calendar pages stacked so that you always have 2+ sheets hung at a time. They extra sheets will act as padding to minimize the texture.