I use Google calendar for scheduling everything – I have different calendars for employees’ schedules, my business schedule, my personal schedule, Phil’s personal schedule, a schedule for our combined events (we call that the Ledbetters’ schedule, but that’s another story), as well as major US and Christian holidays schedules. That can become the definition of a crowded calendar! I find the program so incredibly useful – being able to put all events in one place is priceless. Priceless and free – you can’t beat that! (Yes, I know there are competitor products and I’m not dissing them, just saying I love this one.)
Here’s 7 tips to help you become a Google Calendar Power User:
1. Use the calendar colors effectively and meaningfully. Blue has always been my favorite color, so I’m the blue calendar. Phil has been going through his green period for several decades, so his calendar is green. My employees’ schedules are in brown because I don’t want them to jump out at me as much as the others. The Ledbetter schedule is purple – the color of passion and royalty and love.
2. When the calendar view gets too busy, click on the “Agenda” button in the top right. It will give you a list of events for the next 8 days. It maintains the color coding and provides one line for each event. That one line is expandable to provide the same info you get when you click on an event in the other views.
3. Have you noticed the “Copy to my calendar” ability? Click on any event from someone else’s calendar and you’ll find the “Copy to my calendar” option in the lower left of the information box. Yep, it’s been there all this time. But it took me awhile to find it, so I thought maybe you’d been ignoring it, too.
4. Customize your calendar with lab applications. Click on the Gear icon, then on Labs (bottom option in the middle section). The four I have docked on the right side of my calendar are:
- Jump to Date – I love this capability.
- World Clock – Have the current time in London at your fingertips (or where your sister lives or where your best client is located so you don’t call him at some annoying time or…). There’s a long list of cities to choose from.
- Year View – When you’re doing long-range planning, nothing else will do.
- Next Meeting – It saves my brain cells and I like that. The next meeting function not only identifies the meeting but displays how many hours and minutes until that meeting.
5. Keyboard shortcuts make using the calendar less mouse dependant – which makes you much more efficient. The shortcuts are pretty intuitive (aka, easy to learn and remember). Navigate date ranges, change views, and create, edit or delete events all from your keyboard. Find a list of keyboard shortcuts here for your Mac and here for your PC. Be sure to check that keyboard shortcuts are enabled in your settings (Gear > Settings).
6. Create your own view. Use the mini calendar in the left column to select weeks that you want to display on your screen. Interested in a specific two or three weeks? Select them and that’s what will show on your screen. No, you’re not at the mercy of the day, week, month views available from the top menu. This can be really helpful the third or fourth week of the month because it allows you to see the end of this month and the beginning of next month without flipping calendars.
7. Make it your own. If you’ve never played with the settings, take a few minutes to do so. (Gear > Settings) You can change how the date and time show, what day of the week your calendar starts on, whether or not weekends show up on your calendar, you can dim past events and choose how (and if) you want the weather displayed on your calendar.
Want to learn more? Check out the Google Calendar support page.