One of the greatest stresses of parenting and family life is the never-ending to-do list. Mow the lawn, sign the papers, drive to practice, clean the kitchen, find someone to paint the living room, schedule the yearly checkup, get the car inspected, and on and on endlessly.
For the past year I have been teaching my clients a system for crushing that to-do list that I learned from my coach, Brooke Castillo: Monday Hour One. In the most basic terms, this is how you do it:
Monday first thing: spend an hour writing down every single thing you want to accomplish.
Schedule your free time and write it in on your calendar.
Assign each item priority and give it a corresponding home on your calendar, making sure not to get in the way of your free time.
Keep your word to yourself and follow your calendar even when you don't want to. You for sure won't want to.
Friday last thing: evaluate your week and celebrate your accomplishments.
This system is great, but there's one thing about it that can be tricky and time consuming, especially for families who have things pop up all the time: Come get your child from school, he has a fever; Mom, I need posterboard in an hour; coach said we need another practice, so you have to take me back to school tomorrow morning.
Each time one of those things pop up, you have to completely reorganize your calendar for the surprise obligation. And often the easiest thing to do is use up your free time to accommodate what you didn't get done earlier. No good.
But I found the most amazing calendar to use with (instead of) Monday Hour One, and it is fire: Motion.
Motion uses artificial intelligence to organize your calendar based on the priority and parameters you give each task. When you finish a task, you simply check the box next to it, and it disappears off your calendar. If you don't finish the task at the assigned time, it will automatically reshuffle the whole calendar making sure that you still have time to get everything done. This is life changing, my friends.
Forget about spending an hour on Monday morning thinking of all the things. Instead, every time your brain thinks up something that needs to get done, you simply open your calendar on your phone or desktop and enter it. You tell the calendar how long you expect it to take; assign it a priority: low, medium, or high; give it a deadline and say whether this is a "hard" deadline or "soft", and that's it. The calendar will automatically place it in the best spot possible, reshuffling other, lower priority things if necessary.
If it's low priority, Motion will simply ask when you would like to accomplish the task: in the next week, 2-3 weeks, 1-2 months, or 3-6 months. This is great for things like your vehicle registration. I got my renewal notice in the mail the other day, and I have two months until it's due. I simply opened up my calendar and gave it a low priority and a 1-2 month timeframe. Done. I can completely wash it from my mind knowing that the calendar will tell me the perfect time to do it.
You can also schedule hard events that don't have any flexibility, and if you have accounts for multiple family members, you can schedule things on THEIR calendars!
Want your husband to fix that shelf in the family room? Just put it on his calendar with the timeframe of evening or weekend hours in the next 2-3 weeks, and it will pop up for him when he has time. No more nagging or reminding.
Want to schedule a date with your spouse? Ask your calendar to find an evening where you both have three hours available, and it will pencil you in. Amazing.
Finally, while I haven't done it yet, I'm considering adding my 12-year-old daughter to our team. Between the simplicity of entering every task just one time, and the reminders that you can use to pop up on your screen and remind you of tasks, Motion seems perfect for the ADHD brain.
There are a few features that could use some refining.
Drive time. Make sure to include that in your task's or event's time block. It won't do it automatically.
Task bunching by proximity. Do you need to do a bunch of things across town? In that case, you should schedule them all together to make sure you aren't driving all across town every day. It might look something like this: "La Cantera area errands", two hours. And then in the "note" section, you can add, "return shoes, pick up car part, visit Judy."
Integrations. It will only integrate with your Google or Microsoft calendar. I use a different booking system for my business, and so I have to enter each appointment manually. It's a pain, and I hope that is something they're working on. That said, it DOES have its own booking system that you can use for clients. I haven't tried it yet.
Cost. Billed yearly, it's $19 a month for a single user, or $15 a month for each user if you have at least two on your "team." If you elect for monthly billing, it's much more. This is definitely not the free google calendar. But I can't begin to express how much time this has saved me, and how much it has freed up my brain to work on more important things. I would honestly pay much, much more for it.
You can check out Motion here. If you decide to subscribe, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , and I will send you a referral code for a two-week free trial and $100 off your subscription (they don't do a general referral link, which is annoying).
Finally, while I haven't done it yet, I'm considering adding my 12-year-old daughter with ADHD to our team. The between the simplicity of entering everything just one time, and the reminders that you can use to pop up on your screen to remind you of your tasks seems perfect for the ADHD brain.
I'm renaming "Monday Hour One" to simply, "Done and Done". Happy scheduling!