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Best Ways to Utilize Google Calendar for Productivity
Tip #13 // 21 Google Tips SeriesDaniel Futerman
Share calendars, manage events, join g+ hangouts, add national holidays, add tasks, access offline, set meeting across time zones, show weather, add maps, Google now integration…
Maintaining an organized calendar is extremely important for productivity, time management, organization and so much more. Google Calendar does the best job at syncing it all together and presenting it to you in the most logical way.
1. Sync Multiple Calendars Into One Google Calendar
Instead of having many calendars spread out between different accounts, platforms & locations – sync them all to one calendar. If you have more than one Google account, decide which you’d like to set as your default calendar and then set your other accounts to sync into the main one.
If you work at a company and want to share a calendar with your colleagues, you can do that as well. If you’d like to have a family calendar set up between all your family members, it’s easy to do.
Google calendar allows you to easily share your own calendar with others, or add their calendar to yours. To share a calendar with others, navigate to the My calendars tab on the left hand side of the screen, click on the arrow and then “Share”.
In the next screen you’ll be able to share your calendar with specific people (via email), to the public, or to everyone in your organization (if you’re using Google apps for business).
To add someone else’s calendar, you can either ask them to invite you, or sent them a share request. To send a share request head over to the Other calendars tab and click on Add a friend’s calendar.
2. Add Public Calendars
You can easily sync public calendar with your own. Head back to Other Calenders and click on “browse interesting calendars”. You can find calendars for national Holidays, sporting events or teams, Sunrise and Sunset and much more.
As an example – the calendars I have set up at the moment are: Personal, Work, Events, Holidays & Birthdays.
3. Creating New Events (keyboard shortcut: ‘c’)
Creating new events is very simple and straightforward, but I’d like to highlight a few handy features:
- Select meeting time zone (will convert to your local time).
- Google syncs events with Google Maps, Google Plus & Google Now (more later on).
- Set email reminders or pop up notifications.
- Create a one time or recurring event.
- Invite guests to modify, invite others or see guest list.
- Add attachments (activate via the Labs, more below).
- “Find a time” allows you to sync between your calendar and a colleagues to find a free meeting spot.
Google Calendar Productivity Settings (keyboard shortcut: ‘s’)
- Dim past and future recurring events.
- Change calendar date range (2 days up to 4 weeks).
- Change time and date formats.
- Add different time zones.
- Display weather.
- Add Google+ hangouts to any event by clicking on “add a video call”. Everyone you invited will be able to join via their calendar.
- Respond to Google+ event invitations via Google calendar.
- Get reminder for events & hangouts you’ve created or events you’ve been invited to by people in your circles.
Google Now Integration
Google now syncs perfectly with your calendar and provides helpful cards such as “time to destination” and “event reminders” exactly when you need them.
If you receive an email which contains text with a date and time (i.e. “Tomorrow at 8 pm”), Gmail will underline that text and allow you to click on it and add it to your calendar.
Advanced Search With Filters (keyboard shortcut ‘/’)
You can use search filters to find an event by clicking on the arrow next to the blue search icon. This will open up the advanced search window allowing you to search by location, people, dates or by specific calendars.
- Create tasks and organize them by lists.
- Set due dates for tasks.
- Sync tasks with other apps (any.do for example).
To be honest I don’t use calendar tasks anymore because the interface isn’t that good and there are better task management applications on the market.
Enabling Lab Features
The Google Calendar “Labs” are where you find all the fun stuff and the features which aren’t activated by default. My personal favorite is “add attachments” to events.
This is great if you know you’re going somewhere and need to have a specific file with you. Instead of taking the risk of forgetting it, you can attach it to the event the minute you create it.
More Powerful Lab Features:
- Hide morning and night hours.
- Set Background image.
- Add World clock.
- Add Year view.
General Features Worth Mentioning:
- View your daily agenda.
- Add colors (work – blue, personal – green and so on).
- Set up offline calendar (great if you’re using a laptop).
- Quick Add calendars “Brazil – Germany Tuesday 4 PM” (arrow next to create).
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