My Martha Stewart Calendar

Patient Expert

This year, I started using what I call my "Martha Stewart Calendar." Now, don't be alarmed. Other than a love of crafting, there's absolutely nothing Martha Stewart-y about me. I honestly don't understand why you would make your own candied fruit peel, unless you were unable to get to a store to buy it. I mean, I do have a strong streak of do-it-yourself in me, but seriously, what's the point of making something that's a pain to make and can be bought for almost nothing? Believe me, I have poked my fair share of fun at Martha.

I have to admit, though, that she may be onto something with the monthly planning calendar she includes in every issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine. Here are some items that were entered in the first week of the December calendar:

Dec. 1 - In season: grapefruit
Dec. 2 - Start handmade gifts
Dec. 3 - Unpack Christmas lights
Dec. 4 - Last gutter cleaning
Dec. 5 - Make New Year's reservations
Dec. 6 - Monthly housecleaning

Just looking at that list makes me want to lay down and take a snooze. Luckily, Martha lives in the northeast, so right now garden chores are minimal. I'm not the only one who thinks that the calendar is kind of crazy. But recently I started seeing the wisdom in this idea. One of my biggest organizational problems is deciding that I need to take care of something in the future, but forgetting it by the time I get to the future.

I keep track of appointments and events on Google Calendar. It works well for me because I can add to and access it at work, home and on my mobile phone. I can even ask it to text me a reminder of upcoming events. I hadn't really thought about using it to remind myself to do things, other than a weekly watering of the jade plant my son planted at Botanical Gardens camp.   (He would have been so disappointed if it dried up, and I would forget it, since it was the only plant that needed watering.)

Then, when we were decorating the tree on Christmas Eve, I found that some of the wonderful handcrafted Weed House ornaments needed to have their cords re-sewn or we couldn't hang them. We had too much else to do that night for me to sit down and do them then. "Crud," I thought, "I wish I'd known they needed to be done." I was also surprised to find out that we had no spare ornament hangers. I would have sworn there was an extra box.

Maybe I should leave the ornaments out of the "Christmas box" when we pack it up and fix them sometime...soon. That's what I thought about the ziploc bag of Christmas ornaments that had been sitting on the hall table since last Christmas. I had completely forgotten they were there, and they were never a top priority.

I wasn't thinking of the Martha Stewart calendar specifically until I decided to fire up Google Calendar and add the task to the next year, but it hit me shortly afterward. I figured the best time to do this stuff was really Thanksgiving weekend. Four days off, and the very real possibility of going shopping the day after Thanksgiving for Christmas decorations. In fact, for a couple of years I've been meaning to make an artificial Christmas wreath to hang in the house. So I entered into November 26, 2010 "Get clear Christmas box with ribbons to make permanent wreath and Weed House ornaments (need fixing) from garage." I edited the settings so that Google Calendar would text me a reminder on Thanksgiving.

In the last few weeks, I've also added a reminder to myself on the day that summer swimming classes open for registration online (they fill up in hours), a reminder to sit down at the end of February and decide on a summer camp and to check the oil every three months, among other things. It has already reminded me about a couple of things that I had completely forgotten about, let alone forgotten that I needed to do in the future. Like all organizational tools, I have to give it some time to see if it really works. So far, though, it looks good - better than my leaky memory, anyway