It's happened to every parent.
On your way home, you decide to stop at the grocery store to pickup something for dinner.
The smart and efficient parent you are, you call ahead: "Honey, what else should I get while I'm at the grocery store?" After all, getting everything in one trip means less time running errands, and more family time on the weekend, right?
"Well, we're about to take the kids to the playground, but let me take a quick look." You hear rustling on the other end of the phone. Your partner shouts: "What else do we need?" and your caregiver shouts back an inaudible list of items.
Then, you're hit with a tidal wave of requests you must remember or your name is mud.
You madly rush through the store, pickup everything on your (mental) list, head straight home, and proudly tote your bags into the kitchen.
Instead of praise, you get: "Oh, Honey, you forgot to buy rice... and I forgot to ask you to get peanut butter... can you go back?"
Off you go on your parental walk-of-shame. As luck would have it, you get the same cashier, and go back and forth in your head whether to humorously acknowledge your return or just keep quiet.
So much for efficiency.
What if I told you there's a FREE app, perfect for families and caregivers, that will guarantee you get everything in one trip, every time?
There is, and if you have an iPhone, you already have it.
Use the iPhone Reminders app and never forget an errand or chore again
It's no secret I love my iPhone. It's my family, my business, and my life, in my pocket. Sure, there are apps on other smartphones that can accomplish the same goal, but the iPhone makes it so easy and it's what I know best.
The Reminders app is free and comes pre-installed on every iPhone. It's a simple app that lets you organize your life by creating lists and setting reminders for whatever's important to you.
Behind the scenes, iCloud auto-magically syncs your reminders between all your devices (like an iPad or Mac). What you may not know is that iCloud also enables you to create shared Reminders lists that you, your family members, caregiver, and anyone else you invite can add items to, and check off when complete.
Here's what you, your family members and caregiver need to make it work:
- An iPhone
- An iCloud account (you probably created this for free when you activated your iPhone)
- A Mac or PC
- Five minutes to setup a shared Reminders list
How to create a new Reminders list and share it with your caregiver and other family members
Step 1: Check your iCloud settings
On your iPhone, open the Settings app to make sure you're logged into iCloud and that syncing is switched on for Reminders.
Step 2: Create a new list in Reminders
Open the Reminders app and tap "+" to create a new list. Assign it a name, colour, and tap "done."
Step 3: Add a few items to your new list
Tap on the first line, key an item in, and hit "return." Then tap "done" and swipe the name of the list down to close it. You'll see your new list at the top of your Reminders. You can tap and hold, then drag it down to reorder the list.
Step 4: Open Reminders on iCloud.com
On your Mac or PC, open your browser and go to iCloud.com. Once you're logged in, click on the Reminders app, and you should see your new Reminders list, right where you left it. Click on it, and you should also see the items you added.
Step 5: Share your new Reminders list
Click on the sharing icon to the right of the list's name, and enter the name or email address of the people you wish to share the list with, such as your caregiver, spouse, or other family members. When you're finished, hit "done."
Step 6: Join your shared Reminders list
Your caregiver and other family members you shared your list with will receive an invitation in their email to join your Reminders list. Once they tap "Join Reminders List" they'll be prompted to sign into iCloud to confirm, then they're in! Now, anytime you or anyone who joined your list adds or checks off items from the list, everyone will be in sync.
Add more shared lists to organize more household tasks
Brainstorm with your caregiver and family members what other shared lists you can create. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Household chores
Repeat steps 1-6 for each new list you create.
If you have any existing lists you want to share, you can go straight to step 4.
Create date, time or location-specific reminders
This can be useful if you need grocery items or other tasks completed by a specific date, time or at a specific location. For example:
- Items you need to buy in time for a specific event (such as a gift for a birthday party)
- Errands you need to run at a specific location (such as stopping by the post office to buy stamps)
Once you setup due dates and locations, your iPhone will notify you once the task is due or whenever you're nearby its location (for example, when you drive by the grocery store on the way home).
Pretty cool eh?
Maximize efficiency by always keeping your lists up to date
The reliability of your Reminders lists depend on the quality and timeliness of the items you add to them.
As a rule, the moment you or your caregiver notice a task that needs to be done, add it to the list. Making dinner and used the last of the flour? Add it! Changed the toilet paper and you grabbed the second-last roll? Add it!
This is the best way to make sure your Reminders lists are up to date and available to anyone whenever they need it so you can not only get everything in one trip, but also avoid the frantic call for an inventory check on your way to the store.
Now it's your turn
What Reminders lists have you created, or even shared with your caregiver or family members?
What other systems apps have you used to keep your home organized and errands running efficiently?
What other aspects of managing a family, home and caregiver do you wish an app could help you with?
Please share in the comments. I'd love to hear from you.
Christian Newman, Guest Author
I'm husband to the lovely Sheryl Rose Newman, Chief Care Provider at VanCity Caregivers.
I'm also a proud dad and Executive Producer & CEO at nMarket, where I help small business owners and entrepreneurs use simple technology and powerful marketing to build the business of their dreams.