This post is inspired by the fact that, upon giving myself permission to post a little less here while I recovered from surgery, I removed all my Google Calendar event reminders to write for this blog. Without the blocked-off time and the reminders, I managed to skip a couple weeks where I did background work, but didn’t post anything at all on the blog, so, here’s an (in no way sponsored) post on using calendars to improve your polyamorous experience.
If you aren’t a perfectly organized person (or even if you thought you were, but your schedule interacts with more people because polyamory and still has all the standards - work, hobbies, kid’s activities if you have kids, medical appointments) a digital calendar is going to be your good friend. Google Calendar has become almost a simultaneous joke and immediate suggestion in all polyamorous groups for keeping people’s time straight - and the suggestion to share (at least in busy/free “private” mode) calendars with partners is a common one to help with scheduling for people with many partners.
If you aren’t going to set up a standing date with a partner, or if partners have jobs or commitments with fluctuating schedules, it can be very convenient to share calendars. However, some people view this as a big commitment. My partner of almost 5 years only shares calendars with his nesting partners, so in normal times, we have standing dates so that I’m not left guessing when he’ll be available. (In the time of COVID-19, nothing is a given and we plan things like video calls one by one a few days in advance.) In previous relationships, it’s been “Oh ok, so I have two partners and one works an uncertain schedule so let’s all share calendars in “Private” mode so we can all see “Busy” when there’s an event for working out when to put in dates (Or “public” link to partners so they can see the event details and that it’s work if we prefer), and then figure it out from there.” I’ve found this to be really useful when everyone has a bunch of partners, or a couple partners and kids with activities, or as I mentioned, work schedules that fluctuate week to week.
On top of scheduling and not double scheduling dates, digital calendars can help you make time for your alone time, for seeing friends, and basically for not getting sucked into your relationships to the point of missing out on other things because it can be easy, with multiple partners, to fill a week or a month with a lot of partner time and skip out on hobbies or intentions for practice and goals (like workout goals, for example). If you work a 9-5, it’s easier to carve out work time; but for self employed and self-scheduled people it’s very possible to not practice and to go “oh yeah I can do that later” and then be too exhausted to do work that needs doing to improve the quality or reach the quantity of work you’re producing. My reason this month wasn’t seeing partners too much (because a pandemic) but it certainly has been before- it’s hard to make yourself sit down and practice a work skill or study when fun with partners beckons, and carving out time as sacrosanct really helps. (My partner claims that just needing to sleep less and writing his book at night was actually enough, but for the rest of us, a calendar is a good idea.)
(This picture is a day view of a conference that got cancelled that I was supposed to teach at but got cancelled due to COVID)
So, to sum up, even if you’ve always been the person who easily holds the week’s plan in your head, the extra complication of adding more people that comes with polyamory makes using a digital calendar like Google calendar to keep a record of your plans worth it. It’s especially worth it if you have another layer of complication like kids’ activities, a partner whose schedule fluctuates, or a nontraditional job that scheduling your work time in helps you guarantee that you get it done. Regardless of your level of complication, carving out some time for hobbies and time for yourself can be a nice side effect of using these systems, and sharing calendars can simplify scheduling dates if your partner(s) are up for it.
As always, you can find me on twitter @lauracb88; on instagram @readyforpolyamory; on ko-fi at www.ko-fi.com/readyforpolyamory ; on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ReadyForPolyamory ; and on Patreon at www.patreon.com/readyforpolyamory and the podcast is up anywhere you listen to podcasts as well as at www.readyforpolyamory.fireside.fm . Season 2 of the podcast will be coming in the new year, feel free to email me at email@example.com if you have burning questions that need answering.