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5 LifeTopix Tips to Help You Manage the Family Calendar

If your house­hold is any­thing like mine — with my work sched­ule, spouse’s sched­ule, kid’s school and events cal­en­dar, social events, house­hold chores, and pets — things can get a lit­tle crazy. I rely on my dig­i­tal cal­en­dar to make sure I stay on top of every­thing. For me, a dig­i­tal cal­en­dar is the way to go since we’re rarely at the same place at the same time. Hav­ing the abil­ity to access our sched­ule, any place and at any time, keeps us on track. Because Life­Topix works with iOS cal­en­dars, it’s my main point of entry for the family’s shared calendar.

1. Add iOS Cal­en­dars Automatically

Cal­en­dar” (for­merly called iCal) is the cal­en­dar appli­ca­tion by Apple that runs on Mac OS X. It offers sup­port for mul­ti­ple cal­en­dars, and includes the abil­ity to pub­lish and sub­scribe to cal­en­dars from Web Dis­trib­uted Author­ing and Ver­sion­ing (Web­DAV) servers. In other words, the cal­en­dar that’s located on your Mac, iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch sup­ports cal­en­dars that are pub­lished on the Inter­net. Users can col­lab­o­rate on those cal­en­dars and your cal­en­dar can pick up the sched­ule, as well as the changes by the authors of the cho­sen Inter­net cal­en­dar. Because Life­Topix sup­ports iOS cal­en­dars, you can view the sched­ules from pub­lished iOS cal­en­dars. Sub­scrib­ing to or down­load­ing pub­lished cal­en­dars on the Inter­net, such as hol­i­day cal­en­dars, sports cal­en­dars, or school sched­ules allows you to view those sched­uled items directly in Life­Topix — which saves you pre­cious time by avoid­ing man­ual entries.

To sub­scribe to iOS Calendars

  • On your iPad or iPhone, go to http://icalshare.com/ or other sites that allow you to sub­scribe or down­load cal­en­dars (.ics files). I’ve cho­sen the fol­low­ing US Hol­i­days cal­en­dar from iCalShare.

iCalShare

  • Locate the cal­en­dar you wish to use, and then tap Sub­scribe to Cal­en­dar (in blue above) or the but­ton that allows subscribing.
  • Cal­en­dar” adds the cal­en­dar and like magic, you’ll see the sched­ule in LifeTopix.

2. Share Cal­en­dars with Children

If you’re the fam­ily care­taker, most likely you man­age the mas­ter fam­ily cal­en­dar. A great way to man­age a shared fam­ily cal­en­dar is through Google cal­en­dar. By cre­at­ing a free Google account for each fam­ily mem­ber, you have access to many tools such as shared cal­en­dars, email, file stor­age, and doc­u­ment cre­ation on any plat­form, such as a web browser, iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. Life­Topix sup­ports Google Cal­en­dars via “Calendar.”

If you need help set­ting up your Google Cal­en­dars to work with your iOS devices, Google pro­vides a con­cise set of instruc­tions at Set up Google Sync with your iOS device. This descrip­tion shows how to sync the cal­en­dars through the native appli­ca­tions on your device. You can also con­nect them through Cal­DAV as explained at Cal­DAV Cal­en­dar Sync.

If you’ve set up your Google Calendar(s) to share data with iOS cal­en­dars, then you can view that infor­ma­tion in your Life­Topix My Cal­en­dar through our native inte­gra­tion with iOS cal­en­dars. Our native cal­en­dar inte­gra­tion even sup­ports mul­ti­ple cal­en­dars. We sug­gest that the main caretaker’s cal­en­dar is the main cal­en­dar, and that this cal­en­dar is shared with the fam­ily mem­bers. In a later release, we plan to extend our sup­port for mul­ti­ple cal­en­dars so that when you cre­ate a new date-oriented item, you can spec­ify the spe­cific cal­en­dar that item should be added to.

3. Make Meal Plan­ning Easy

An impor­tant part of the fam­ily sched­ule is meal plan­ning. Life­Topix is very flex­i­ble, so there’s many ways to set up meal plans. I’ll show you a quick and easy way to plan a week of meals.

To set up meal plans:

  • Cre­ate a Project called “Meal Plan” (Tasks + Projects > All Projects >). Start on the cur­rent day and choose an end date that works for you.
  • Cre­ate tasks for each day’s meal for the Meal Plan project. Add a task for each day’s meal (Meal Plan Project > Add Item > Task > New Task).
  • Cre­ate a shop­ping list for the Meal Plan (Meal Plan Project > Add Item > Shop­ping item > Prod­uct). You can select and add mul­ti­ple shop­ping items all at once. Your meals will appear on your task cal­en­dar and (if you wish) on your main cal­en­dar (My Calendar).
  • You can also cre­ate book­marks to recipes you’re using (Meal Plan Project > Add Item > Book­mark > Save the URL), which makes it super easy to find your favorite recipes.

4. Cre­ate “Honey Do Lists”

Face it, we all have them — those chores that we ask our spouse or part­ner to fin­ish. If you’re not famil­iar with “Honey-Do Lists” or need advice on how to effec­tively use them, see what is a honey do list from wisegeek. If you’re accus­tomed to cre­at­ing Honey Do lists (and your sig­nif­i­cant other is a will­ing par­tic­i­pant), I’ll show you a sim­ple method to cre­ate the lists, and to share them with your sig­nif­i­cant other.

To cre­ate Honey Do Lists:

  • Cre­ate a Project called “Honey Do Lists” (Tasks + Projects > All Projects >). Start on the cur­rent day and choose an end date that works for you. I pre­fer to keep the end date empty.
  • Cre­ate a check­list for the lucky recip­i­ent. Add an item for each thing to do (Honey Do List Project > Add Item > Check­list > Add). 

You can eas­ily share the list with your spouse or part­ner via email or SMS. You can also share via Face­book or Twit­ter if you want the list to be pub­lic, but this method is usu­ally not rec­om­mended for chore lists. Sim­ply click the appro­pri­ate shar­ing icon in the right panel to share the list. Email is a great method to use. Your sig­nif­i­cant other can open the list directly from the email and view it in their Life­Topix app.

5. Man­ag­ing Fam­ily Out­ings and Trips

Man­ag­ing fam­ily out­ings; col­lege trips; and out-of-town sports, band, or cheer­lead­ing events can be chal­leng­ing for a busy fam­ily. Life­Topix includes native sup­port for han­dling trips.

To cre­ate fam­ily trips:

  • Cre­ate a Trip and name it appro­pri­ately (Travel + Places > Trip Cal­en­dar >) and enter the start and end­ing dates for the trip. In the fol­low­ing exam­ple, it’s a col­lege trip to Texas A&M.

After cre­at­ing the trip, there’s a vari­ety of options that you can pro­vide, such as tasks, check­lists, appoint­ments, reminders, book­marks, files, audio, pho­tos, video, notes, expenses, and shop­ping items. What’s really handy is adding itin­er­aries as files and book­marks to web­sites that you might visit while you’re at the loca­tion. You can also take pho­tos and view them later. You can add trip com­pan­ions, and share this data via social media, text mes­sage, or email. Email is a great method to use to share the trip with your fam­ily mem­bers. They can open the shared trip directly from the email mes­sage and view it in LifeTopix.

How does your fam­ily stay orga­nized with Life­Topix? Please com­ment and share your tips & tricks.

You can find Life­Topix at the App Store.

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