When my friend, Peter, reached out to me with a game-changer application that would help me manage my to-dos, you know I was all over it in a hot second. While Slack and Trello are my bread and butter when it comes to big picture management, it’s really my Google calendar that acts as my real-time brain when it comes to day-to-day functionality. I use CalenMob on my mobile devices, so Google tasks don’t mesh well with my personal view, so I list reminders as calendar events to keep me on top of things. When Peter told me I could have checkboxes assigned to calendar reminders and I could mark them off when I was done OR the app would auto-advance them forward to the next day if I didn’t get to something…seriously, I may have cried. Oh, and for extra win…if I happen to log in via desktop, I can see my complete list of to-dos. Ya know, just in case I want to go powerhouse and knock out everything at once. This is my #1 MUST-HAVE application for busy working moms. Hands down. And…it’s FREE. FREE PEOPLE. IT’S FREE. (Did ya hear me?!)
For many people – especially working moms on the go – work-life revolves around managing email (for communication), calendar (for meetings), and to-dos (for getting stuff done). We’re all lucky enough to have amazing tools such as Gmail and Google Calendar – especially on mobile…but when it comes to to-do apps, there doesn’t seem to be a great solution that integrates into our existing workflow of email and calendar.
I recently surveyed about 50 working professionals on how they manage their to-dos. The results were pretty shocking. While more than 80% of users had at some point in time tried a dedicated to-do application such as Wunderlist or Remember the Milk, after a few weeks of using them, most stopped using them. The steady-state usage followed the approximate percentages.
~10% of people continued to use a dedicated to-do app
~40% of people still used paper notebooks, post-it-notes, Notepad or other text program
~40% of people put their to-dos in their calendar – either as all-day events or scheduled events.
I am one of the users squarely in the 3rd bucket. I rely on my calendar to manage my schedule, but since I’m looking at my calendar all the time, I end up putting all my to-dos there as well. I’m sure many of you can relate to how hectic the day can be juggling work and family. Being able to just check one place – your calendar – for what you need to be doing is ideal.
The issue with putting to-dos in the calendar is that you don’t get the satisfaction of checking off my to-dos, and having to constantly look back in your calendar to see what to-dos are still incomplete and drag them forward in the calendar so you don’t lose them. Hardly ideal – especially for important to-dos.
I came up with the idea to provide to-do functionality (mainly checkboxes so I don’t lose track of items) WITHIN MY EXISTING CALENDAR. No other product provided this so I had to build it myself.
The result is #todo (www.hashtagtodo.com). A service that integrates with your Google Calendar and provides to-do functionality natively within your existing calendar events. All you have to do is add #todo to any calendar event title. That’s it.
In the background, our system looks for any calendar event with #todo in the title.
- Just put in #todo at the end of any calendar event
- This adds in a check box to the beginning of the event. Well, actually, its not a true check box but we use open/close brackets [ ]. To check off items, you just type in “x” between the brackets like this [x]
- We look for any to-do events that haven’t been checked off and move them forward at midnight so you NEVER LOSE TRACK of any incomplete to-dos. No more having to look back in your calendar.
The real magic to this is that because we are integrating into the back-end of Google Calendar, you can continue to use ANY CALENDAR interface you currently use. This is especially critical for mobile devices. You can continue to use whatever mobile calendar you like and #todo will work. NO ADDITIONAL CLIENT APP TO DOWNLOAD OR USE. You just continue to use whatever calendar you’re already using and it automatically works.
The reason we believe this is the right system for many people (and why other dedicated to-do apps have failed to satisfy the majority of people) is
- Most people spend all day in their email and calendar. Having to check a 3rd app for to-dos is too much trouble and is often forgotten – not a good thing to happen with important to-dos.
- People like using the apps they are used to. It’s a tough proposition to force them to use a different tool or interface. If you already use a calendar, it’s the exact same experience and interface. No learning curve (well, I guess a little – you have to type in #todo…)
- Losing track of incomplete to-dos is stressful and time consuming. We make sure you never lose track because if you haven’t checked the to-do off, it rolls forward in your calendar automatically. Save time not having to look back in your calendar. Save stress by not worrying that you missed something.
We’d love if you’d give HashtagTodo a try.
KatyFest 2015 #MySummerStaycation
Let’s face it. I haven’t been on a REAL vacation in what…a decade? Life demands it, at least for now. But one thing I do plan regularly is my annual KatyFest. If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ve run into KatyFest at least once or twice. Every year I take a week to myself. I don’t go anywhere – I stay put, keep the kids in school, keep appointments to a minimum and catch up. I’m sure that doesn’t sound like much of a vacation, but to me, it’s heaven. This year, I celebrated #MySummerStaycation as part of KatyFest2015 and with the help of my pals at ProFlowers. You may remember them from a recent post about starting fresh as a family in this new season of my life as a single mom. #LoveGrowsHere
Why am I writing this post?
To remind you that it’s important to schedule time for yourself.
It’s important for me to schedule time for myself! #MySummerStaycation gave me the opportunity to clear my head, find some peace of mind and just rest in silence. ProFlowers sent me this awesomely amazing little terrarium thingy (Formal name: Hanging Paradise Terrarium), which was the perfect solo project for a peaceful afternoon. Something about creating a little piece of earth is supremely calming. Now when I look at my hanging terrarium (which are the ONLY plants I can keep alive!), I am reminded to breathe and rest.
1. Add charcoal. 2. Add sphagnum moss. 3. Add soil. 4. Arrange plants in soil. 5. Add decorate rocks and moss. 6. Gently water. 7. Keep in medium-high light (no direct sun) at room temperature.
Who knows when my next opportunity to actually visit Paradise will be, but until then, #MySummerStaycation will remain in the form of one perfect week of KatyFest hermit time. How do you recharge and refresh?
10 Sorting Games for Your Math-Loving Child – Sorting Bears by Eureka
When J’s teacher told me he really enjoys math and that sorting toys would be a great idea for Christmas, I ran straight over to Amazon Prime and began the hunt for the perfect toy. I bought about a million puzzles, little projects and a whole slew of other games. But none so far can compare to these bad boys:
Before I get started, here is my only CON for this toy. These bears are a relatively good size and really hard, so they don’t scream “Put me in your mouth!” But, as all mothers know, this means nada. So…while they are awesome, this is a toy that requires some observation on the parent’s part. This is not the toy to busy your kid with while you hop in the shower or run the vacuum.
Now, the good stuff.
The opportunities are endless for free play with these little dudes. Here are the 10 sorting games I play with the boys (and they then play with each other – which is super cute):
1. What color is this? I have them identify the color and then place the bear in its matching cup.
2. Here are 3 bears (different colors). I have them identify each color and count them back to me as they place it in its matching cup.
3. Pick a “red” bear and give it to Mommy. I line up all of the bears (or even dump them in a big pile) and give them a color to pick out and give to me. This can be taken up a notch for more advanced kiddos, by asking them to give you a certain number of bears of certain colors.
4. Count our colors. We separate the bears into piles of their colors and then count them together back into the cups.
5. Clean up the bears. Seriously, they love this one. It’s like 52 pick up with animals instead of cards.
6. Line up your colors. Everybody loves to build a mini army of color-coordinated bear squadrons.
7. Stack and unstack the cups. Tower! When the bears get old, I swap to the cups. Some simple towers always bring a smile.
8. Flip cups – Bears on top. Instead of lining up the bears or grouping them in piles, we switch it up by using the upside down cups as platforms for whatever game we are playing.
9. Color patterns – What’s next? I set up simple patterns and ask them to pick the bear that fits next.
10. Give me “7” bears and count. I give them a number of bears that I want and they get to pick what colors they give back to get to that number.
One final twist that they love…turn the tables! They’re in control and get to ask me the questions. They LOVE to ask “Mommy, what’s this?” or order me to “give them a red bear.” Let them play teacher for a bit and you’ll keep them busy for hours!
Welcome to the New Chaos & Kiddos! Blogger to WordPress Transfer by Blogelina
It’s here! I made the leap!! Today marks the first official day of the new Chaos & Kiddos. I’ve migrated from Blogger to WordPress and I couldn’t be more excited. I loved Blogger and had my little workflow down, but truth be told, I am an HTML nightmare, and as my blog began to grow, so did my need to integrate additional programming and functionality. I quickly became overwhelmed with how to insert the appropriate HTML in the appropriate places. I needed the easy button. The volume of available WordPress plugins and easy-to-use formatting options had captivated my interest some time ago, so I decided to make a change. And then it hit me. How in the heck do I do this?
It was time to be very honest with myself. Up until this point, beyond tiny things, like buying my domain URL (If you haven’t done this, read 3 Mistakes I Made When I Started My Blog!), I hadn’t spent money on my blog. Mainly, because I hadn’t really, truly set up the monetizing strategy platform that I wanted yet. I realized that I’ve been beyond blessed to have had such great blogging success in a brief 7 months of existence, and it was time to treat this puppy like the real deal. It was time to outsource. For a big move like this, I wanted to be sure my content carried over, my image links didn’t break, and that all of the hard work of the last 7 months wasn’t completely lost when I switched platforms. I knew I had neither the knowledge nor the time to commit to this task, so when Blogelina was suggested to me, I know exactly what I needed to do.
Blogelina offers a wealth of great information and resources on a constant basis, and I’m always finding new tips and tricks on their blog. It’s very clear that they know what they’re doing. Whether you’re just a reader that keeps up with their recent posts, a seeker of quality takeaway resources for your blog , or looking for help taking your blog to the next level, there’s something for everyone. I was of course delighted to see the “Stress-Free Blogger-to-WordPress Transfer Package,” and knew I was in the right spot. And while I was at it, I opted for the Blog Makeover as well. If we’re going to do this, do it right!
I could not be happier with the new blog. I love the new style and the absolutely mind-blowing plugins I have already been able to put into play so quickly with WordPress, but even more satisfying is knowing that all of my content is there, all of my images are present, and any back links or pins or anything other linked items will properly redirect to our new home. I know that if I had done this by myself, it would have been an absolutely nightmare and the source of countless panic attacks. I am so relieved that it is complete and so excited for what this means for the future of Chaos & Kiddos.
I highly recommend the folks at Blogelina. They were timely, personable and patient. I had about a million questions, and they provided appropriate resources and friendly communication whenever I needed it. I am thoroughly satisfied with their work and my own sister already plans to use them to migrate her blog at the end of the summer. I always talk about how delegation is key to the success of a small business owner, especially one with a family. You need to know when you’re not the best man for the job, and I was definitely not the best man for this job. Choosing to invest a small bit of money for the promise of a seamless transition, more time with my family and less headache…worth every, single penny. Well done, Blogelina! And thank you!
Click on the pictures and links below if you want to give Blogelina a whirl! I promise – you’ll be so glad that you did!
Total Blogger to WordPress Transfer Package