Manage Your Family This School Year

School isn’t the only thing that gets underway in September.

There’s also—deep breath—football practice, after-school care, theater auditions, carpools, tuba lessons, and karate tests. Organizing it all can feel like an extracurricular activity in itself.

But there’s good news: Fall is a perfect time to try out family-management apps. Here are three that can organize your day-to-day as things get busier (and the days get chillier):

Step 1: Coordinate your calendars

To enter an event into Fantastical, just type the information as you’d say it. The app will know what to do.

Fantastical 2 takes the humble mobile calendar and makes it feel life-changing. Really, it’s that good.

The app recognizes that your life isn’t merely a series of events but a dynamic mashup of people, places, and dates. By reflecting that dynamism, Fantastical helps you understand not just what your family has scheduled but also how your priorities fit together.

For starters, Fantastical helpfully integrates all your calendars, including Google Calendar and Outlook.

But the interface is what’ll keep you coming back: To add a new event, just type it in as you’d say it: “Jennifer’s choir practice every third Tuesday from 4 to 6.” Fantastical is smart enough to parse the details.

Events are color-coded to give you a sense of your day at a glance. It’s a visualization that basically matches how your calendar looks in your mind—and it’ll make the entire autumn feel more organized.

    Fantastical - Calendar & Tasks

    Plan your day perfectly


Step 2: Develop a way to pass notes

Evernote syncs notes about work, school, and everything in between.

‣ Here are two universal truths about notes: 1. The more complicated your life is, the more notes you take. 2. The more notes you take, the more notes you lose.

Evernote takes care of that second part: The app syncs your notes across devices, so if you paste a cross-country practice schedule into your version of the app, it’ll appear on everyone else’s.

What’s more, Evernote lets you assign notes to various areas of your life: school functions, assignments, gift ideas, diets, accordion compositions, haikus, anything. Evernote provides templates for many of these categories (well, not for haikus, sorry), or you can start with the proverbial blank slate. Best of all, family members won’t lose your notes unless they lose their iPhone (but that’s a whole different problem).


    Notes Organizer & Planner


Step 3: Create a family control center

Picniic can serve as your family’s home base. The app organizes everything from the week’s meal plan to your health insurance information.

‣ Don’t let its relaxing name fool you: Family Organizer by Picniic can be your family’s headquarters for household logistics.

Billed as the “dashboard for everyday life,” the app displays a series of different-sized boxes with labels like Calendars, To Do & Lists, Meal Planner, and Shopping Lists.

These boxes are where you can log crucial family data—and not just birthdays and shoe sizes. They’re for the names of your doctors, dentists, and optometrists, your health insurance information, vehicle info, expiration dates, service contacts, and immunization records. With Picniic, everyone can have answers when someone asks, “What’s the name of our eye doctor?” or “When’s the last time I went to the dentist?” or “When’s your birthday, Mom?” (Well, they should know that one.)

    Family Organizer by Picniic

    Shared Family Calendar & Lists