So, it’s almost time to PCS again? This time around you have promised yourself you are going to be more organized and efficient with your time and mental resources, but where do you begin? Whether you have an immediate PCS on the horizon or one in the (not so) distant future, these eight Google apps will help you to streamline the process and keep yourself (and your family) optimally organized.
Now is a good time to go through your existing email account and spend time clearing and cleaning out your inbox. One great way to do this is by creating individual folders and tabs. You might use a labeling system for your current duty station and one for the duty station you are inbound for. Consider separate folders for your home-related correspondence, any professional or job-related emails, kids’ school information, or other categories that might be helpful.
Google Docs are a perfect place to store and organize lists, ideas, make updates to your resume, or simply keep a running journal of those high emotion PCS thoughts that you simply need to move out of your head and onto the page. Best of all, Google Docs, like the other Google applications are easily shared between family members or others who may need to be in the know.
Speaking of sharing, Google Drive is one of the best places to house shared folders for important documents including scanned files of military orders, marriage licenses, vaccination records for children, or copies of ID cards and drivers’ licenses. Beyond documents, Google Drive makes it easy to share or save large audio or video files as well. Want to do a video walkthrough inventorying your household goods? Save the file in your Google Drive.
If you are a lover of all things spreadsheets, tables, charts, and more then Google Sheets can play a huge role in staying organized during your next PCS. Organize your family address book and update it with contact information for people you are leaving behind at your current assignment. Consider keeping a spreadsheet with a current inventory of your household goods; go a step further and record measurements of furniture so you can measure spaces to accommodate the pieces before they come off the moving truck. Love a good moving budget? Make one on Google Sheets to help plan and track moving expenses.
Whether you are just checking the distance between your hometown and your new duty station, checking to see where the nearest Target is from your new house, or planning your route to the next assignment, Google Maps can be a huge help. Once you have narrowed down where you will be living at your new duty station, Google Maps will help you master the highways and byways of getting around town with ease as you learn the footprint of your new community. Once you’re settled in and decide to get out and explore the natural beauty of trails and nearby parks, Google Maps can also calibrate your phone’s compass to make sure you always arrive where you are going.
Like most other Google apps, Google Photos allows you to organize your content into folders or “libraries.” Use this feature to your advantage and make libraries for all kinds of moving-related subjects. You could create various libraries of real estate photos—either from the home you are selling or those you may have serious interest in purchasing. You could create a library of clear, quality photos of all of your household goods. You could save screenshots on your phone of various home inspirations for decorating your next house. Perhaps you’d like to make a photo memory book for yourself or a friend before you pull out of your current city. No problem. You can create books, prints, or even canvases directly from the Google Photos app.
If there’s ever a time to make sure your calendar is working hard for you it is the time leading up to, during, and immediately after a PCS. Color coordinate tasks that are important. Synch or share your calendar with your spouse or other family members. Google Calendar is a great tool for keeping track of everyone’s individual events and appointments. You can set it to give you reminders so you never miss a deadline or a “to-do.”
Have you ever thought how nice it would be to simply have a personal assistant to get you through your PCS? If so, Google Assistant might be the next best thing. You can ask it questions or tell it to do things for you with Google’s own AI like Alexa or Siri. It can help you streamline and manage your devices for smart home features remotely and leave household notes like digital Post-Its. When you feel the creep of hectic days pressing in have Google Assistant help you create routines to get you through. It’s easy to let the priorities and the urgent take precedence of every waking minute. Don’t forget to schedule some self-care like fresh air, exercise, taking your vitamin supplements, or drinking enough water.