How do you keep track of periodic chores? I’ve heard that question several times lately, whether it’s add water to the batteries, change water filters, engine maintenance, pay the marina or something else.
One person had just purchased our comprehensive logbook and loved being able to create a maintenance schedule in it. But, she asked, did I have a good way of remembering to do these things other than looking at the schedule?
And, to be honest, it’s not just boat maintenance that we have to remember. There are birthdays, doctor’s appointments (and reminders for annual exams), social events (virtual or, someday, in-person), package delivery dates, and all sorts of other things.
About a year ago, I did a total re-set on how we kept track of just about everything. And wow, is it better!
My solution is nothing new – but it was new to me. And it’s perfect on a boat: free and doesn’t take up any extra space. Google Calendar. Six features I love:
- On our phones – always with us for adding or checking items, or getting notifications.
- Being able to share a calendar on both Dave’s and my phones (accomplished by recording everything in just one of our Google accounts; we can enter info from either phone). No more asking each other “when is ______”!
- Ability to have repeating events, such as things you do on the first of every month, or every two weeks, or our “Nite Net” seminars on Monday and Thursdays. Enter the event, then with a couple of taps you can populate the schedule forever – or for a particular length of time. Also good for birthday reminders.
- When a date or time changes for an event or reminder (such as when a package will be delayed), it’s quick to change it on the calendar.
- Customizable notifications for each event. So a VHF talk might have the phone buzz 10 minutes before, but a doctor’s appointment 50 miles away will have an alarm 2 hours before.
- Hundreds (thousands?) of pre-made schedules you can sign up for, such as for a favorite team. When COVID changed schedules, most of these were updated very quickly.
- The only downside is that you need internet access to sync information between phones. But that is not the problem that it was even five years ago.
I started using Google Calendar as a quick way to record doctor appointments. I rapidly found more and more uses for it. Available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac. Maybe it’ll make your life aboard easier, too!