Technology presumes there’s just one right way to do things and there never is.
~Robert M. Pirsig
I am not one of those “I Don’t Know How She Does It” moms. We have a lot of those in my town. They volunteer at church, blog about keeping life simple, and have three or more kids, all of whom play three sports a week and maintain straight A’s in school.
Me, I am a run-of-the-mill mother of two, still trying to adjust from going from a Filofax to an iPhone. When it comes to pulling together my family’s much-more-limited plans I am organizationally challenged.
The iPhone might have changed other people’s lives for the better, but for me, not so. All the apps look the same. I swipe the wrong way almost every time. I press Delete instead of Save. Sometimes an e-mail I know I received is there; sometimes it’s not. And this is just the beginning.
I was a Filofax holdout for a long time because it worked for me. I never lost it; I could erase my pencil marks and make changes; I could see what I needed to do, flip to addresses, and find everything. In fact I realize now that I had most of it memorized.
But gradually, as time marched on, that way of life became too old school. Why carry a phone and a calendar when you can have it all in one place? I was supposed to be a young, hip mother. Everyone had an iPhone, and I needed one too.
I yielded; I gave technology a chance; and my life has never recovered. Plus, it appeared that everyone around me had made this leap with no problem. I was the only one struggling to keep up, to get the kids and myself to where we needed to be at the right time. That is if I didn’t forget to show up.
After quietly talking to a few trustworthy friends about my organizational deficiency in the technological realm, I learned that I was not alone. In fact, what I realized was that for me, and others, remembering events, phone numbers, addresses, and things on my to-do list had as much to do with what color they were written in and where they were on the page as what the words actually said.
My brain functioned successfully when there was an image to grasp. Every time I looked at my Filofax my brain took a picture that I could hold onto and recall. In my iPhone all the information was merely data. Even with colors and typeface changes there was no nuance to the lettering or numbers.
I soldiered on for two years, constantly triple-checking my iPhone and still remembering nothing, until a large volunteer responsibility I accepted made me realize that I needed to add a little old school back in.
For about a week I maintained two calendars — the one on my iPhone and a desk calendar. Then I realized I was spending more time calendaring than living. What was I, a visual person, supposed to do?
My answer arrived like manna from heaven in the form of an old oversized cork bulletin board pulled from the attic.
Our Family Calendar now hangs on the mudroom wall for everyone to see and check. It is divided into four sections, one for each person in the family. Each person’s section has everything that person needs to know about his or her life and where he or she is supposed to be. Each person has a calendar of school, sports, and activities that I have created for that season. Any reminder that comes in from a teacher gets pinned up in that child’s quadrant. Allowance gets pinned up every Friday.
Each child also has a list of what he or she is working on, for example, brushing teeth before school (son) or packing an afternoon snack for dance (daughter). If anyone needs to know something, they can go to our Family Calendar and it’s all there.
Today, when I go out into the world I carry my iPhone for texts, e-mails, and phone calls, but if someone asks me about the calendar, I say sweetly, “I’ll have to get back to you!” Then I go home and check my bulletin board.
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