Google Calendar: How To Use It Like A Pro 👑
Google Calendar is a brilliant, easy to use free app for managing your time and a great tool for scheduling your work and personal life.
I use this with all my diary management clients, making it super easy for me to manage multiple diaries at once whilst being simple enough for clients to use alongside their busy schedules.
It can be synced across multiple devices, phone, laptop, desktop computer and is compatible with both Android and iPhone.
Sounds great right?
So what if I told you I have some awesome tips and tricks to share with you so that you can get the most out of your Google Calendar allowing you to manage your schedules like a boss 👊
SHOW ME THE WAY!
TIP 1. Quick add your events
There are multiple ways of adding events to your Google Calendar but this is the quickest.
In your calendar, hover over the date and time that corresponds to your event and click. This will bring up a simple input screen straight away for you.
Pop in the title of the event and location, and bosh! The jobs a good'en.
If you want to beef out your event with more details, you can use the description box to your advantage. We will go into more details on this later on.
TIP 2. Set up notifications
Hurray, you have your event locked in, but alas you fear you may forget about it nearer the time.
You can set up as many reminders as you need to give you a heads up closer to an event via a pop-up box on your calendar or by an email sent to your inbox.
Just hit 'More options' and it will take you to a new screen.
Then, click 'Notification' and this will let you choose between a notification pop-up box or select 'Email' if you want the reminder to go straight to your inbox.
If you want both a pop-up and an email then you can select both.
Then select the amount of time before the event that you want reminding, e.g 1 hour, 30 minutes, or 10 minutes before.
Heck, why not do all three!?
Using this feature will help avoid missed appointments and gives you a nudge with where you are at in your working day.
TIP 3. Event title hack
If you're a busy bee and have a ton of events scheduled, it is important that your calendar is READABLE.
You want to be able to know who you are meeting with and when with a quick scan.
When adding to my clients' schedules and my own, I use the same format every time for the event title,
[MEETING / EVENT TYPE] Client name, (Company) <> Human A, (Company)
So for example,
Dinner meet: John Brown, (Paramount Artists) <> Ben White, (DJ Mag)
Even if you are adding an event for yourself with a friend, it is good practice to see a recognisable format that instantly tells you the type of event and with who.
This leads me on to another important trick in making your calendar readable...
COLOUR CODING (I love this part)
TIP 4. Colour coding
When you have a sea of events, even with your super-efficient titles, it may still be difficult to differentiate between them.
Therefore, coming up with an awesome colour code system makes it a hell of a lot easier.
You don't have to go mad with 30 different shades but a simple selection of 4-5 colours will do the trick.
This is what I stick to:
Green - Travel
Blue - Meeting in person
Yellow - Phone call
Purple - Virtual conference call
Pink - Personal
When I take on a new client I explain to them my colour coding system and more often than not they find this system works well for them too.
So, to assign a colour, click on your event.
Lower down in the information box there will be a coloured circle, click that and it will present you with alternative colour options. Select your colour and voila!
Ok, so your calendar is now super readable, it's organised by colour, what else could you possibly do to optimise your use of Google Calendar?
HELLO TIP 5...
Use the description box to your advantage.
When setting up your event, underneath ' Add location' is the button, 'Add description'. Click on this to open up a text box for you to input more details about your event.
This is REALLY useful.
If you've got a ton of appointments to get through in a day, it's easy to feel like you don't know whether you're coming or going.
Using the description feature saves you the brainpower of remembering important details for each appointment.
The more details you include, the better.
I like to add the following when scheduling events:
Attendees: [Name], [Title e.g CEO], [Contact number]
Agenda: Here I bullet point the main points to be addressed.
Notes: Anything else important that the attendees need to know.
You can add links within the text, which makes it super fast to access extra information such as a website or directions.
To insert a link in your text, highlight the word you want to link.
When you have the word highlighted, click on the link symbol in the toolbar at the top or bottom of the description box.
You will then be prompted to insert the website URL.
Click OK and then POW! An easily accessible link in your event details.
Or you can attach important documents, such as support material for your meeting.
Either way, make sure to use this function to your advantage. It will keep you organised and ensure your meetings run smoothly with all the information you need at hand.
STAY WITH ME...
Not far to go, I promise.
TIP 6. Repeating events
If you or your client has a recurring event you can repeat an event really easily, saving you the manual input.
When adding your event, click on the date, and a drop-down menu will appear saying 'Does not repeat'. Click this and it will give you choices of how often you want to repeat the event, e.g daily, weekly, monthly etc.
It also gives you the option to customise how often you want the event repeating which is awesome! Click 'Custom...' and this takes you to a new pop up box prompting you to fill out specific details.
TIP 7. Use the search bar to find events quickly
Even if your schedule is readable, you might need to lookup an event that is months ahead in time.
Don't start scrolling through your calendar, month by month, instead, use the search bar at the top. Click the magnifying glass which opens up the search bar.
Type in what you're looking for and it will bring up the events associated.
For example, I have a coffee booked in with my friend Emma, I know it is next month but I can't remember for the life of me when it is. So I go to the search bar, type in 'coffee Emma' and ping, there it is!
TIP 8 Retrieve deleted events
We all make mistakes, right?
What if you accidentally deleted an important event for your client?
You can easily retrieve deleted events in the following steps.
Click on the cogwheel in the toolbar at the top of your calendar.
Select 'Trash' from the drop-down menu and this will take you to a new screen with a list of all events that have been deleted.
Tick which events you want to restore and then click the reverse arrow button, this will then restore all the events that you have selected.
TIP 9 & 10 - Because it is that damn clever...
This final tip was revealed to me by the mighty Erin Booth.
Erin is a fantastical Virtual Assitant who after being in the game for over 8 years now provides support, help and advice to other budding and established Virtual Assistants.
Ahem, OK, fangirling over, back to the FINAL MAGNIFICENT TIP...
USE THE WORLD CLOCK
Yes. That's right, use the world clock feature.
If you have clients based internationally, this is an absolute lifesaver. At the side of your calendar, you can add as many time zones as you need, and at a glance, you will be able to see what the time is in several countries at once.
This is incredibly useful if you are trying to find a good time to schedule in a meeting between two people in different time zones.
It saves you the headache of working out the time differences, enabling you to be quick and efficient in booking in events that work best for all attendees, regardless of where they are in the world.
To set this up, go again to the cogwheel. Click and then select 'Settings'.
Down the left-hand side of the screen, you'll see 'Word clock', hit this.
Check the box that says 'Show world clock' and below click, 'Add time zone'. Click on the time zone box and this will open up to a drop-down menu of all the available time zones. Scroll through until you find the one you want and click.
Once you have selected all the time zones that you require, go back to your home calendar page, by clicking the back arrow in the top left-hand corner.
Now you will see, on the left-hand side, the list of your selected time zones, telling you instantly the time and even the weather!
PHEW, WE MADE IT!
Congratulations on making it to the end of this blog post and I hope you have discovered useful tips and tricks to make Google Calendar work best for you.
If you would like more helpful information on being an organisational legend then you can subscribe to my blog here.
If after this blog you think, "Geez, if only I had a Virtual Assistant who could my manage my diary for me", then contact me at email@example.com, I would be more than happy to help : )