Organization is a never-ending battle. To be productive, you need a clear sense of your responsibilities, the due dates of those responsibilities, and the resources required. A simple to-do list often isn’t enough to stay on track when there are dozens of different tasks inundating you from different directions at any given time.
That’s why Google Calendar can be such an invaluable tool to help boost and maintain productivity. As a free time management tool that can be accessed from any device with an Internet connection – device agnostic – it’s one of the best ways to organize your time and integrate with other tools. Let’s look at some of the most effective ways to leverage it to boost productivity.
Centrally Organizing Events Into One Calendar
If you’re like most people, you view not only your own calendar, but those of colleagues, significant others, and at times, your company. It can be challenging when you don’t see the same events listed on your phone as you do your other devices. Google Calendar makes organizing multiple calendars in one view simple, however.
You can easily add someone else’s calendar to yours by clicking the Other Calendars tab and choosing “Add a Friend’s Calendar”. All you need is their email address (and their permission) to add it. If your company uses Google Apps for Business, settings can be changed globally to allow default sharing between coworkers as well. At the same time, you also subscribe to public calendars that include holidays, celestial events, sporting events, and more.
Quick Event Features
When creating new events in your Google Calendar, there are several tricks you can implement to keep things organized:
- Map Integration – Google Calendars uses the Maps feature to pull in location information automatically when you set the “Where” field.
- Google Hangouts – You can set Google Calendar to automatically create a meeting link for Google Hangouts whenever you create a new invite.
- Set Guest Permissions – You can allow guests to change your events, invite others, or see the guest list. You and guests can also attach documents to ensure everyone has the same information before a meeting.
- Find Time – Use the “Find a Time” feature to automatically check availability across multiple shared calendars to find a good time instead of playing email tag to set a meeting time.
Task Management in Google Calendar
While Google Calendar is not a full-blown Getting-Things-Done (GTD) tool, it offers basic task management features, and its relatively open API means it can integrate with many of those GTD tools to show your calendar events alongside your organized to-do lists. You can create lists and organize them alongside your calendar events, setting due dates to correspond to your lists, or you can display your calendar natively inside of to-do list apps like Todoist to easily see everything in one interface.
Google Calendar Helps You Be More Organized
For those who are already using Google Calendars, there are several things you can do that will help you be more productive and organized. Here are some of the most effective.
Create New Calendars for Each Part of Your Life
Having one calendar that covers all parts of your life can be a mess. Instead, create individual calendars that sync to specific elements of your life. For example, you can have separate calendars for:
- Large projects
- Personal time
This allows you to color-code your tasks according to the calendar on which they are listed, and even share those individual calendars with people when relevant. A Family calendar, for example, can be shared separately from your work tasks.
Setting Up Notifications
Google Calendars can deliver desktop notifications to your computer to remind you when you have a pending event. For individual events, you can select when the notification comes through, and you can create multiple notifications if you want to be warned in advance of something. For example, if you have a meeting downtown, you can set a reminder for 1 hour in advance and then 10 minutes in advance to correspond to leaving your desk and then getting there and attending the meeting.
Set Appointment Slots
It can be dangerous to have an always-on calendar that people can see and book time on. Use Google’s Appointments feature to allow people to book time in specific slots each day. When you create a new event in the Google Calendar view, click on “Appointment Slots” and you can set specific hours on an individual day, with slots for the duration. This can then be shared with colleagues, subordinates, or clients so they know when you are free without opening your entire calendar to them.
You can take this to the next level by using a third-party tool like a CRM or calendar manager (e.g. Calendly), to offer appointment slots within a dedicated UI.
Organizing Your Time Makes You More Productive
Google Calendar is designed to provide a robust, all-in-one interface for managing your time that syncs with third-party tools and devices. It’s why millions of people use it to keep their days organized. By tapping into the more robust features offered by Google Calendar, you can ensure you stay in sync with colleagues and clients, organize the tasks and events in multiple areas of your life, and stay as productive as possible in the process.