**WARNING**, I can get incredibly duller when in reflective mode - read on only if you have a strong will and a chemical stimulant...
In the nearly 2 years I've been the primary parent, the stay at home Dad or family organizer, I've tried lots of methods to try to plan better. Clearly none have been perfect.
My first attempt at a planning system was based on me being straight out of the workplace. I used a Google calendar which I shared with Lynn so she'd know what was going on too. Unfortunately, Lynn was totally new to an ordinary workplace and so she never looked at it and I didn't much either, as I was generally out and about setting up home in LA - we arrived with only 8 suitcases, so there was much to do.
Next, I decided to go retro and try to use a diary - the Institution of Engineers and Technology sends me a lovely one every year. Predictably, I lost this.
Third time lucky, I tried the huge wall-planner. It worked best. I'm generally home and Lynn generally asks me what's going on when I'm home. The only slight technical difficulty was that, the moment I left the house I didn't have a clue what was going on. Also, the aesthetic value of the huge wall planner was minimal - to the point that it was always in danger of being moved to somewhere less obvious and therefore less useful.
So at the moment, recurring appointments get entered into my blackberry and parties, visitors and meetings with Immigration Attorneys go on the huge wall planner.
Eureka!!! That's it, I've suddenly hit on the problem. We moved house and the huge wall planner is no longer in the kitchen. Hmm. Either I need a smaller wall planner or a bigger kitchen. Cost Benefit Analysis suggests smaller wall planner, however Feasibility Analysis suggests that a bigger kitchen would be more acceptable to significant stakeholders. I wonder which will win? I predict a bigger kitchen and the wall planner stays put.
Someday, no doubt, we'll all have built in screens in the palms of our hands and tiny living computers fused into our very being - but we'll still have to choose where to focus our attention at any one point.
You see that's where the problem really lies, it's not that the information can't be made available. It's that when I'm focusing on the something important and immediate, or something immediate and interesting, I don't always notice...well, anything else at all. Like the time I focused on taking my 7 yr old on the Metro to see Olvera Street on his day off and totally failed to remember that it was also a half day at preschool. Ever been 2 hours late for picking up your child? Not my finest moment.
So the planning mistakes are just a symptom of my time management issues needing resolved. If only I could remember the name of that library book I once read, something about managing your time so that you gets others to do all the work whilst you can put your feet up and lounge around.
I do so love a good bit of reflecting.