Who: Adrianna Dufay, founding member of TueNight
System: My family uses a huge (4′ x 6′) blackboard on our kitchen wall that holds our weekly family calendar, nightly dinner reminders, grocery list, general to-do list and notes passed back and forth.
Inspiration: My husband and I both work full time, have lots of evening events and have two kids in two different schools. We’ve experimented with different calendars for years now — online or not, separate or together, paper or write-erase, monthly or weekly— and this is the system that has inspired the most calm.
How it works: On Saturday morning, we turn on cartoons in the other room and banish the children. Then we pour ourselves some coffee and dump everything from our shared electronic calendar (and anything else we forgot) onto the board. As we talk through the next week, we’re writing our to-do list on one side of the board and groceries on the other.
How long it takes: It takes about an hour, but when we’re done with that, we’re ready for the week. My husband usually tidies up the board so it’s not too manic.
Why it’s better than an iPhone: Everything we need to know for the next week is right there in the middle of our apartment, and it’s easy to glance up and check every morning and evening. I no longer forget to bring my daughter’s swimsuit on swim class day.
We get creative, together: We use the middle of the board for drawing. Sometimes my husband will draw our dinner menu. Sometimes the girls will draw cool little pictures for us. The other day my daughter asked me, “Mom, do people on the bottom of the Earth feel like they’re upside down?” and after fumbling for a minute, I used the board to draw gravity. It really has become a central space in our small apartment.
The only negative thing: I cringe sometimes when we have friends over, because we’ve got our to-do list so obviously displayed. But I guess everybody has to pick up the dry cleaning.