Organising our family diary for the year ahead

Steve works shifts and every year his hours change. As somebody who is a planner, this is a bit annoying but as he's worked there for 15+ years now, I'm kind of used to it. Over the years he's worked everything from 3pm-11pm to 12-hour shifts and 3 days on, 2 days off. His type of work will mean that he pretty much always has to work some weekends but I think that's normal with most jobs these days and again, we're used to it now (plus it means that he gets days off through the week).

Organising our family diary for the year ahead

He has just received his hours for the year ahead and I LOVE them. He's pretty much working 9:30am-7pm Monday-Friday (with three weekdays off in three weeks) and will working one weekend in three with reduced hours. I am so pleased about these hours for a number of reasons:
  • We get to spend more weekends together as a family than we ever have since the children were born. I can't believe how much free time we have 
  • Steve can drop the kids at school in the morning on his way to work meaning no more morning school runs for me 
  • If I need the car, these hours aren't too early/late for me to drop him at work/pick him up. At the moment I hate dragging the kids out at 8pm if I need the car and that extra hour makes all the difference 
  • No more very early mornings. Ever! 
  • When Steve does work over a weekend he finishes at 3:30pm or 4:30pm meaning going out on Saturday night or for a late Sunday dinner on a Sunday is possible (this has never been the case in the past as he's always worked fairly late over weekends)
Of course, there are some downsides to this shift. I will be limited to going out in the evenings until around 7:30pm once Steve's home. It's not like I'm a social butterfly at the moment but I imagine it's going to be a pain if I'm meeting friends for drinks after work. I'm also spoilt and Steve makes my breakfast when he's on late shift at the moment. Now that this isn't going to be a thing, I think I'm going to have to actually learn how to use my coffee machine! He's also working until 7pm every Friday so if we're planning a weekend away anywhere, he'll probably need to take holiday if we'd like to stay on Friday and Saturday nights (and Friday night holidays are very hard to come by). 

I am so excited! His new hours start in the middle of February and once I've paid for the holidays I've already booked, I'll be looking at booking a few cheeky weekend breaks in the summer. I definitely want to go camping more this year. 

Steve books his main work holidays around 18+ months in advance as soon as they are released. He tends to have the same weeks off every year - Feb Half Term, May Half Term, 2 weeks in the Summer Holidays, October Half Term and then a few days around my birthday in December. We're lucky that he gets a lot of holidays and has the option to buy extra holiday too. Because he has all of this time off booked in advance and works for a huge employer, it's super difficult to get time off at the last minute which can be tough (eg he couldn't visit Italy with us last year as no holidays were available so I ended up travelling solo with the kids) but again, we're completely used to it now. 

Today has been a day of planning. I use google calendar to manage my diary - I love that it automatically syncs with my phone from my laptop and that if anything is booked via email, it is automatically added to my diary. I like that I can easily switch between hourly, weekly and monthly views, colour-code things and easily set up recurring events. As I inputted Steve's new hours into the computer I was absolutely delighted at how many free weekends we now have. 

Continuing with the planning theme, I also booked Hotel Indigo Durham for my friend's wedding next Summer. I'm so excited to stay here as I've heard lots of great things. Then I sent some dates to my other friend for us to book a family weekend away with the kids. I love getting organised and having lots of fun stuff in my diary to look forward to. I have a few places on my list that I'd like to book for a night this year but I need to wait for some funds to appear in my bank account before this happens. I have itchy feet though and I'm feeling super impatient right now.

We already have a fair bit going on in our diary with our trip to Cornwall over Feb Half Term, the Peak District over Easter, Holland in May and I'm off to Marbella with the girls in June. I love this time of year for getting things booked!

I'd love to hear how you plan your family diary. Do you use google calendar or do you prefer something you can actually write in?


  1. We have a joint calendar on our iphones and I drive Simon mad with it because I like to update it in the mornings once he's left for work - he'll be trying to use his bus pass or metro ticket on the app and all these notifications will be popping up on his phone stopping him from using it! SO FUNNY!

    1. Ah poor Simon! I tried a joint calendar but Steve never looks at it so now I just keep him right x


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