M is constantly being asked how she does it. How could she possibly manage her house with 5 very involved kids. T isn’t quite there yet, but her schedule is far from empty. Both of us use a calendar through Cozi . We both love it so much we wanted to share this gem with you.
Scheduling is a constant challenge. M often says that it is her least favorite activity of the year. Figuring out the fall after school activity scheduling is exhuasting.
M: I have 5 kids, all of whom do too much, and one driver (my husband and I both work). We are also at 4 different schools right now, which just doubles the fun. I use Excel quite a bit, but my favorite scheduling app – hands down – is Cozi.
T: M got me hooked on Cozi and it has already helped keep everything on track! Especially because it allows me to let my husband know about doctor’s appointments, plans, etc. When he looks at it that is….
So why is Cozi so great? Cozi is an app for your phone or tablet as well as a website. You can use a free version, which gives you all of the basics, or you can pay $29.99/year to get upgraded features like contacts and birthdays. Once you decide to join, you create a family password and anyone you invite can create their own login to the family calendar. As individuals add events, all of your devices sync together.
The app itself has a ton of features! Some highlights (and our most used features) include:
- Shopping Lists
- Meal Planning
- To Do Lists
Calendar: Let’s focus on why the Calendar is so fantastic for a moment. Each member of your household can be assigned a color. When you click to add an activity, all of the colors come up. You then select who is involved with the activity, the date and time (including the option for recurring activities), location (if you want), and any notes that might pertain. You can set up reminders and email notifications, though both of us are looking at our calendars so frequently that there is little need for reminders. Another great feature is that single events, or events that are out of the norm, are marked in bold so you know something is different that day (for example, early release from school). You can view the calendar in daily mode (with color coding), monthly mode, or a scrolling weekly mode.
M: I prefer using the calendar in weekly scrolling mode. On top of all of this, I absolutely love that my calendar is emailed to me weekly (you can also print it out at any point). I print the week for my caregiver, so she can keep track of any changes to the schedule. It also gives the kids something to look at if they want to see activities.
T: Most of my calendar is in bold because We don’t have as many of the weekly recurring activities. But for me the best feature is the syncing of the calendars. Whenever my husband asks what’s going on I immediately ask if he checked Cozi…he usually hasn’t. BUT I have now said it so many times that he has started to look! AND he even adds his own stuff so I know when he’s not available. It is super helpful to me to know when he can’t be around or if he’s going out of town, etc.
Neither of us have used Google Calendar, so it’s hard for us to say how Cozi differs from that. We just find Cozi to be very user friendly and very intuitive.
M: I’m a GIGANTIC fan and consider to the key to our making it to (most) events and activities on time (OK – well, close to on time, sort of).
T: For what it’s worth, I have friends who have used Google Calendar and, when I referred them to Cozi, said they were happy they switched.
The Shopping Lists: We use the shopping lists almost as much as the calendars. In this section you have the ability to create multiple lists:
M: We have lists for groceries, Target, wholesale, drugstore, pet store, etc. (My husband created many of these and I’ve gone with it since at least he is using it!) It’s easy for any of us to add items when we run out. If my husband goes to the grocery store, I can be at the house adding items to the list as he drives and shops. It syncs that quickly! If I happen to be near a store, I can pull up my list at any time and figure out if we need an item. It’s a lifesaver.
T: I love lists! We have a grocery list, Target list, Lowe’s list, Buy Buy Baby list, a Pets list and an “other” list. It’s so helpful because nothing gets forgotten, and I don’t hear this “UGHHH I wish I had known you were going because I need x, y, z” upon my return.
Meal Planning: M uses this more than T does, so T will defer to her. M: I am not a huge cook, but with our big family and lots of activities, I’ve found that I need to have a plan for the week. You can store recipes on Cozi (which is helpful, though I don’t have many I’ve put on) and you can list your meals for each day. One of the best features is that it will pull up your calendar as you do this so you can figure out which days you can cook a “nice” meal (one that doesn’t necessarily involve the crockpot), when you need to order pizza, and when chicken nuggets will have to do.
To Do List: T uses this more than M, so she’ll talk about that one. T: I LOVE THE TO DO LISTS!!! I have to do lists written everywhere. It is literally the only way I will remember to do anything at all (is that sad?). Much like the shopping lists you can have multiple To Do lists. I have a personal to do list, a shared to do list, and a “Honeydo” list for Braden. I put all kinds of stuff on there, even if it doesn’t need to be done immediately, so I don’t forget to do it. When I’m out of town and I KNOW Braden wants to do all of the chores, I can kindly refer him to his list :). It is an excellent tool to keep track of what needs to be done.
Cozi has additional features including: a journal option, contact list, and birthday calendar. We have only briefly, if at all, ventured into these realms, though we are confident they are well done!
In case it’s not clear, we are HUGE fans of Cozi and recommend it for any busy household.
M: For me, I can’t imagine life without it – and that’s no exaggeration!
T: Ditto what she said!
xoxo happy organizing!