I've just jumped into a service called "Cozi," which is a free online tool you can use to coordinate all the crazy commitments across your family.
I've got three kids, all with busy school and sports schedules (especially in the fall) and I travel a lot. That means it is a delicate symphony of schedule coordination to make sure everyone gets where they need to be, everyone gets picked up when they should be, and collisions are well understood ahead of time.
When I heard about Cozi, I had to go see what it was about. I'm still way early in the adoption process, but it is impressive so far. As you can see at right, there are a lot of features includes with your free Cozi account. The cool thing about this is you can provide logins to each person in your family, and they can create their own events as well as "assign" tasks to others (for example, adding "Milk" to the shopping list, or adding "Take out the trash" to one of your kids' To Do list).
Master your schedules
Entering appointments is easy. For example, I can enter "<kid's name> Soccer Practice every Tuesday and Thursday until November 1," and Cozi creates the series correctly on the right person's calendar. Pretty cool.
But the calendaring is even more powerful than that - you can link it to web calendars, there's an add-in to sync with Outlook, and there is a very well executed iPhone app (other mobile phones can get to a special Mobile web view that is also easy to use.
Everyone's calendar is color coded (you can choose the colors) so it's easy to print out a master calendar or check it out online and tell who's doing what.
The calendaring system can send reminders to the right person's mobile phone, if you so desire, making it easy to keep people on schedule.
Lists for everyone
The To Do lists are very flexible. You can create shared lists (for example a Grocery list) that show up on everyone's radar, or create individual lists that can be selectively shared with others (so you can keep that Christmas shopping list between you and your spouse).
But wait - there's more
There are other features I haven't dabbled in yet, including a Family Journal for capturing "baby book" like memories, pictures, and other things you want to remember (think of it as a family blog). Apparently, this can be used to publish articles for sharing with extended family, and even publicly if you choose. I don't have experience with it yet, but it looks pretty cool.
The journal also feeds into a dynamic screen saver that shows photos and upcoming commitments on your screen when your screen saver is active.
I must say, I'm very impressed for a free service (I'd be impressed with this as a fee service, for that matter). If you want to know more, head over to Cozi's web site for more information, including a short overview video of Cozi.