Google Calendar Hacks and Tips to Make You More Productive

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Google Calendar makes it easier than ever to keep track of everything going on in your busy life. This perk is associated with your Gmail and is designed to optimize your scheduling experience. While this application is made to be user friendly, there are many tips and tricks that the average user may not know about. It can be frustrating trying to keep track of many different schedules and Google knows this, which is why they created this powerhouse for organizing your daily life. We have outlined some of the features that makes Google Calendar a no brainer when choosing a program to keep track of all your meetings, appointments, call reminders, and more. 

Google Calendar Basics

Even the wariest of technology can easily use and benefit from using Google Calendar. To use Google Calendars, you will need to have an active Gmail account. This application can be accessed on the web or through the app. 

Before getting into scheduling, you can personalize your account to your liking. There is a style section where you will be able to select from many different color schemes, font options, and more to fit your personality. Doing this will help you create a personalized calendar and make it easier for you to use as it is tailored to your needs and preferences. 

What makes Google Calendars so enticing is that outside calendars can be exported into it. Rather than manually inputting everything into Google, there is an Export option for you to transfer your schedule. Once exported, save the data and you now have all your important information into Google Calendars. 

Change your alerts to your preference. In your settings, you can select how often you would like to be alerted of your events, rather it be a few days before, or hours before. Then you can select how you would like your calendar to look, as well as the general view you will have each time you log in. 

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New and Popular Features

Google Calendar hands down is one of the best tools to keep track of events in their professional and personal lives. It uses well-known features such as the ability to create multiple different calendars, share your calendar with others, as well as receive reminders for your events. While these are the well-known features, there are newer features that will continue to make your life easier. 

  1. Booking Page- This new feature was designed to get rid of the back and forth between scheduling appointments. This booking page can be sent to anyone you’d like where you will lay out the times you are available for a meeting, and the other person will select a time that works for both of you.
  2.  Appointment Schedule- This feature is used to create an appointment webpage. Users can highlight times they are able to have a meeting, then put in the appointment duration and location as well as add a title and description. 

Applications that can sync with Google Calendar include:

These apps can sync to Google Calendar for you to keep track of your schedule all in one place. It is important to keep in mind that when syncing, you may need to use third-party applications to do so. 

  • Outlook
  • Office 365
  • Apple Calendar
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Calendy

Must-have Google Calendar add-ons and extensions

Google Calendars is one of the most popular calendaring platforms with all its bells and whistles. While it is effective and well-known, there are still times that you may wish that there were some functions that are not included. Thankfully, there is usually an extension that can assist in your Google Calendar issues. Here are some frequently used add-ons and extensions. 

  1. Checker Plus-

This is a useful extension that will allow you to switch back and forth between tabs with ease. In addition to this, you can:

  • Simply click on the date needed and add a new event
  • On any web page, right click to add to your calendar for your needed date and time
  • Enter an event by using the Chrome search bar- all you must do is type in “cal,” add a space or tab, and then enter the event information
  • While looking at a Facebook event, you can add the event to your calendar by clicking the extension
  • In the month view, drag and drop to reschedule events
  1. GCalPlus-

Within its most basic form, Google Calendars has many customization options. Some of these include setting default meeting durations, how many days you can see at once, and show or hide weekends. These are beneficial features, but there are customizations that you may think would be helpful that the platform has not yet thought of. Some of these customizations that GCalPlus can offer are: 

  • Add create event to year previews- click a day in the year view and add the event
  • Hide everything out of view before or after specific times
  • View even more All-Day events in the Week and Day views
  • Create multiple copies of an event from any view and copy the event to the same date, create the same event on a different date, or create the event to reoccur on multiple dates
  • Hover over the event to see a popup of the entire title
  1. Calendy-

This makes scheduling a breeze as instead of sending emails back and forth, simply send out a link with your availability and then the recipient will pick a time frame that works for them. To schedule one-on-one meetings or group meetings, you can attach the link through email or embed it on your website. Once the event is finalized, everyone will receive a confirmation. With Calendy, you can:

  • Save events and copy them 
  • Choose available times and embed them in emails
  • Sort through events and look at the one you want
  • View all your event types from Chrome
  1. Tags for Google Calendar-

Using Tags will help you to keep track of your commitments, so you don’t forget an important event. This extension utilizes intuition by grouping your events into categories. All you must do is type the name of a category and then a colon and the event name. The best part about this perk is that you have total control over your own tags. You do not have to tell the extension in advance what categories you want, all you must do is type in any category name and Tags will display it in a highlighted field on your calendar. 

  1. Event Durations-

Sometimes it can be confusing to look at events and know for sure how long they are expected to run. This is where Event Durations comes into play to help clear this up. Not each event will be a clean-cut hour, and it simplifies the time for you. The default view will show you hours and minutes (ex: 1h 45m), but you can also change it to display as decimal hours (ex: 1.75), whatever works best for you. 

  1. TeamCal-

Google Calendar is a large and beneficial scheduling system that has many different view styles that an individual user could need. While being well tailored to individual users, it cannot show multiple team members’ calendars at the same time. TeamCal was designed to do just this. Each person’s calendar will be shown horizontally and one above the next so you can look quickly to see what team members are busy or available. 

Google Calendar keyboard shortcuts

Navigating through Google Calendar is made even easier with shortcuts. If scheduling and planning are crucial to your life and work, these shortcuts will be invaluable to you. To get things rolling, select “settings,” under the “general” section. Then click “Enable keyboard shortcuts.” Some of the most popular keyboard shortcuts include:

  • Add a new event: “Q”
  • Skip to the previous date range: “K” or “P”
  • Skip to the upcoming date range: “J” or “N”
  • Jump from another date range back to today: “T”
  • Search: “/”
  • Change your calendar view to:
  1. Day: “1” or “D”
  2. Week: “2” or “W”
  3. Month: “3” or “M”
  4. 4 days: “4” or “X”
  5. Agenda mode: “5” or “A”
  • Save an event (from the event details page): “S”
  • Return to full calendar view (from the event details page): “Esc”

Using these shortcuts saves seconds which add up to save you time. 

Create, manage, and share Google calendars

To create new calendars, you will see two drop-down menus labeled “My calendars” and “Other calendars.” When the main calendar is set up, you can add more calendars for different topics and responsibilities such as work and school. Select the plus symbol and then choose “Create new calendar.” A new calendar will be created and can be located under “Other calendars.” To add preset calendars such as holidays, select “Browse calendars of interest.”

Sharing your calendar is a convenient way to stay updated with friends, family, and coworkers. This will make it easier to plan around everyone’s schedule. It is a simple process but requires some setting up.

On the left-hand toolbar, you will see “My calendars.” Hover over the main calendar and click the three dots to the right of the calendar title and choose “Settings.” Once this has been completed, you can select “Access permissions for events or “Share with a specific people.” This is the selection between making your calendar public for everyone, or only inviting specific individuals to have access to it. 

To be able to see someone else’s calendar to your view, select the plus symbol to the right of “Other calendars,” and select “Subscribe to calendar.”  If their calendar is shared with the public, you should be able to find it by inputting their name or email address into the “Add calendar” car. If it is private, you will have to request access. 

Customize your Google Calendar

Customizing your Google Calendar will allow you to set up the view to your preferences such as color schemes as well as optimizing your use. You can set it up the way you need it and what is most important to you. 

Adjusting your calendar view is one of the ways you can customize this application. Click on the View menu in the top right corner and then select the gear icon. It is defaulted to “week,” but you can select whatever works best for you. 

A beneficial feature you can incorporate is setting goals within Google Calendars. Goals can only be set up in the app, but once this is done, the goals can be managed from the desktop. Artificial Intelligence is utilized to study your patterns and suggest times for you to work on your goals. To do this:

  • On the home page, click the plus sign and select “Goal.”
  • Categories include exercise, skill-building, friends, and family, me-time, and organization. 
  • Once you have chosen your goal, you will go through prompts where you will select frequency, length of time and day. Google goes through your other entries and suggests times that would work for your goals. This can then be changed manually. 

Creating reminders and tasks is a perfect way to keep you on track. Reminders can be easily added through the desktop or the app. Tasks can be utilized through a mobile device but will be held in a different app called Google Tasks. Because of this, they will not come up on the Google Calendar app. These can both be marked as “done,” but the tasks will transfer over to the following day if they are not marked complete. This is especially beneficial for those responsibilities that need to be done. Reminders can be set to repeat at your preferred frequency, so they do not need to be re-entered. Tasks, on the other hand, do not include a recurring option. 

Advanced Google Calendar Admin Console features

Many features are included with the normal Google Calendar, but the Advanced Google Calendar Admin Console offers more functionality. Some of these features include scheduling meetings, sharing schedules, collaborating on team calendars, and more. In addition to these efficient features, admins will have access to Google Calendar audit logs and automatic backup systems. They can also restore events and data if need be. 

Free Tools

Extra tools can be found in Google Calendar. This is accessed by clicking “Settings” on the top right, and then “Get add-ons.” Search for the tool you are looking for and then click the name. Select install then continue. Choose your account and then follow the prompts on the screen. Some of these tools include:

  • Drag and drop events- When you need to move an event to another date, simply drag and drop these details to the new time slot. This saves you time as you do not need to start over from scratch.
  • Speak to add events- This tool is great especially for those constantly on the go. Instead of opening your Google Calendar and typing your event details manually, you can instruct Google to create a calendar event and then verbally state the details. 
  • Color code- Some people find that color coding can be beneficial when keeping tabs on tasks and events. You will be able to change the colors for different entries, such as blue for work tasks and pink for vacation time. 
  • Embed your calendar- This is another way to share your availability on your website. You will find that this saves time if people are frequently scheduling appointments with you as it takes away from time that you would spend exchanging emails or taking an abundance of phone calls. 
  • Hide calendars and events- Now that you have your calendar color-coded, hiding different aspects of the calendar can help to declutter. When doing this, you can make it so you are only looking at work tasks, or only looking at birthday reminders so you are not overwhelmed by the calendar. 
  • Add events from Gmail- When booking a flight or a reservation for a restaurant, you may have received a confirmation email. If you used your Gmail account, they will be automatically added to your Google Calendar. In addition to this, you will also receive notifications before the event. Ensure to use your Gmail account each time for your events to properly sync up. 

Google Calendar is a popular scheduling application that makes keeping track of work and personal life easier than ever. The basic form of it is sufficient for any user, and the extensions and add-ons continue to make scheduling simple. Google Calendar is easily customized to fit the person’s needs and style and is a great platform for setting up time slots for meetings, school, vacations, and more. When using Google Calendar, you will notice that it is easier than keeping paper copies. 

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