Want a more effective team or a more productive day at work? Or do you need help with staying organized so you can have a better work-life balance?
No matter what your goals are, you need your calendar to work for you — and you get so much more accomplished when you know how to dig into (and take advantage of) Google Calendar’s lesser-known shortcuts and tricks.
Most people know the basics of using Google Calendar but few know about everything it’s capable of. Whether you’re using it at work or for personal use, these Google Calendar hacks and features will come in handy.
Before you make any changes, take stock of what your calendar looks like now. Make note of where you’re spending your time:
Are you spending more time than you’d like in meetings? Or are your tasks blurring together? Create a better workflow and foster communication with these Google Calendar tips and tricks:
Now that you’ve figured out how you’re spending your time, it would be nice to have a simple way to visually organize your days.
Google Calendar makes this easy to do with color-coding. This feature allows you to assign colors to tasks, meetings and personal appointments. Or you could color-code by priority.
Michelle Ebbin, founder of JettProof, color-codes events on her calendar based on importance and nature. “Color-coded events make it easier to keep track of upcoming activities, allowing you to manage your time effectively. By viewing your calendar with colors with particular meanings, you can plan your day, week, or month while you’re in a monthly overview,” says Ebbin.
Change the color of a specific calendar: Click the 3-dot menu across from the calendar you wish to change and select a color.
Edit the color of an event: Click the pencil to edit the event and select a color.
Organizing with color-coding makes it simple to glance at your schedule and quickly see what your day, week, or month looks like. And you’ll instantly understand where the majority of your time is being spent so you can adjust accordingly if wanted.
Time-blocking isn’t a new concept, but it’s important that you also make time for yourself — for deep work and for rest.
If your days consist of meeting after meeting, you might be too busy (or exhausted) to get some solid work completed. Blocking off time on your calendar lets others on your team know that you’ll be busy so you can eat lunch, catch up on other tasks or go to an appointment without being bombarded with requests.
“I schedule my entire day, including meals, work projects, client/team meetings, and personal tasks into blocks of time — each block consisting of a specific task or a group of tasks. I mark myself as busy during that time block so that I won’t be bothered,” says Hamna Amjad, Outreach Manager at Efani.
Time-blocking is a simple way to stay productive and guard your time.
One of the most convenient Google Calendar hacks is Find a Time. True to the feature’s name, it helps you compare schedules to easily find out when your teammates (or friends or family) are available for a meeting.
To use Find a Time:
The Find a Time feature in Google Calendar is a quick way to reference others’ schedules and get a meeting arranged without carving into someone else’s busy time.
Making a scheduling error isn’t difficult with so many teams spread across different time zones and on asynchronous work schedules. But turning on Google Calendar’s world clock and enabling your working hours (plus encouraging your teammates to do so) can mitigate many of those issues.
To turn on the world clock: Go to your settings, check the box next to “Show world clock.”
Working hours is another useful setting, but this option is only available to G Suite users. Once you set your working hours, Google will no longer show your “off” hours to other users who are scheduling a meeting with you.
If you and your team are using G Suite, make sure working hours are updated regularly. It will cut down on miscommunication and minimize shuffling meeting times.
Want a Google Calendar hack that’s almost like having a personal assistant? The daily agenda email is a good start. In your Google settings, you can turn on the daily agenda email. Each morning (at 5:00 am), you’ll get an email with an overview of your scheduled events for the day — organized neatly in your inbox.
Jamie Irwin, director and founder of Straight Up Search, uses the daily agenda email for updates on his day-to-day activities, appointments and tasks. “Having this arrive in an email each day is a great way for seeing what our days look like ahead of time,” said Irwin.
And If you do actually happen to have a personal assistant, this would be a great thing to forward to them every morning.
Planning meetings, lunches or brainstorming sessions will be hard to do without subscribing to your teammates’ calendars. By subscribing to someone else’s Google Calendar, your calendar will show all of their booked and free times.
A helpful note: Your subscribed calendars aren’t limited to coworkers. You can include a personal calendar, family members, holidays, or even a calendar for your children’s sports team, for example.
Select from and add calendars for coworkers, family, moon phases, sports teams, and more.
With just a few clicks, you can view as many calendars as you want or turn them off temporarily (or permanently).
If you’re doing some intense scheduling, Google Calendar can be time-consuming to work with. Keyboard shortcuts are one way to make it easier. All you have to do is enable the shortcuts in your settings.
Check the box to enable keyboard shortcuts.
Press Shift-? to view a few of the available keyboard shortcuts.
Shortcuts might seem overwhelming at first, but they can help speed things up once you’ve got them memorized.
There’s no need to schedule recurring meetings such as monthly meetings or regular lunches individually. Use the duplicate feature to schedule the same meeting (with the same invitees) on a different day. You’ll have the option to change details such as the time and location.
Most remote teams are using multiple programs for conference calls and virtual meetings. Integrating your Google Calendar with other tools you frequently use (e.g., Zoom or Slack) will make your day much more efficient. Google Calendar syncs with numerous tools, so it will probably integrate with most of what you’re already using — including SavvyCal.
Google Calendar has a lot of capabilities, but it’s still a bit clunky when it comes to meetings. SavvyCal can make scheduling meetings easier for you and invitees. Curious how?
You’re able to customize all aspects of the link that the recipient sees. Create and send link titles, descriptions, and availability settings that make sense to you, the invitees, and the situation.
Instantly get a clear picture of who is available and when.
Show your availability in a way that encourages others to pick the best time for you. Similarly, you can limit how much of your time is open for meetings.
Let your website visitors schedule a meeting with you right from your website. And if video calls are your go-to, SavvyCal also integrates with Zoom.
Want to give it a go? Use these Google Calendar hacks and connect SavvyCal to your Google Calendar. It takes less than 15 minutes to improve your scheduling experience and make a better impression.