Everything you didn't learn in school that will help you survive the world of work. A place for newbies, for working moms, for seasoned professionals and "free agents" to share strategies, tips and tales from the trenches.

Jul 31, 2007

Online tools for working women

I have two agendas with this post. The first is to document my brilliant idea for a software suite I have been noodling for a year or two, so that I can claim that I thought of it first when someone more motivated and entrepreneurial takes it to market. The second is to share and invite you to share online tools that make your life easier as a working woman/mom/partner. Ms Minchin will be evaluating these online tools in a series of posts over the next few weeks.

The Enterprise Software Suite for Household Mangagement
In my dreamworld (yes this is how nerdy Ms Minchin is) I would turn to one online tool to manage all the business of domestic life. I have found pieces of this functionality across individual products, but have yet to find a single product that meets all my needs. This impossible tool would provide the following:

Family calendar (which would synch with my outlook calendar at work of course). The calendar would enable individual views and and integrated family view. One would never accidentally plan a "Mom's Night Out" on "Dad's Golf night" again. We could coordinate who picks up the kids, keep track of Shiloh's playdates, Maddox's dance class and Pax and Zahara's karate lessons all in one place. Reminders are a must. Keep track of birthdays for friends and family with plenty of time to buy presents.

Meal planning and Nutrition tools. I could use the tools to plan meals that are appropriate for baby Shiloh as well as my husband Brad. I wouldn't have to worry about whether my toddler was getting enough iron, or if my husband is eating too many hot pockets before a big action movie shoot. I would get suggestions for meals and automatically generate a shopping list. This would help me stick to my budget too! Ideally it would feed into my online grocer of choice and help me schedule grocey deliveries.

Budget and online Bill Pay features would have to be integrated. It would tie into the shopping list and calendar features. Financial goals could be monitored and tracked, and reported on.

Chores would be assigned and tracked online. These days preschoolers are online, so why not give the kids virtual gold stars? How about keeping the "honey-do" list online, so Brad can never say I didn't ask him, or forget what he agreed to do last weekend.

Project planning / Wiki tools would help us to keep track of home improvement projects, plan for the expenses and prioritize. Share pictures and links to the new faucets we are considering for the kitchen, or my dream appliance list, ect. with Brad. He'd add his comments in between acting and managing his fan blog. We could share ideas and options for our next vacation, our next home or plan a family reunion, or create a holiday shopping list.

Goal tracker functionality would be great to help track exercise goals, personal or financial goals, and motivate and inspire each other. How about tracking the 50 things you want to do before you die, or the places you want to travel to, books you want to read?

Other features I'd like to see are contacts management (synch with outlook) and service & maintenence management (when does the boiler need a service check, when does my car need another oil change?). What if the software could make suggestions and link to sites for shopping ans services?

What else should it include?

I continue to search for software or websites that do any of this. Over the next few weeks Ms. Minchin will be sharing her findings and inviting you all to share yours. Stay tuned!

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