Google Calendar is one of the few apps that I use every day to keep me organized. I'm sure everyone uses Google calendar; whether it's for their professional life to schedule meetings and calls or their personal life to plan events with their friends and put birthdays reminders so we won't forget. After using Gcal for years, I've picked up a few tips along the way so here are my top ten hacks to help you maximize Google Calendar and its capabilities.
Drag and drop events to your preferred slot
I used to click on the calendar invite and change the time and date manually when I have to move a meeting. Instead of adding another step to your workflow and clicking back into calendar view to see which spot you are looking for, drag the calendar invite to the preferred spot instead and it will update automatically. This makes it easier to move everything over with just one click of the button to the new time/date slot.
Create reminders instead of another invite
Do you usually create calendar invites to remind you of a task or project you need to do? While you can create short calendars to remind yourself, consider using the Reminders and Tasks function to add reminders on your calendar instead. There is also an option for it to repeat if it is a daily task. To get rid of the reminder, you can just click Mark as Done and it will automatically be crossed out and go to the top of your calendar.
Find a time for scheduling
Have you ever spend more time than needed just to schedule a meeting with someone? Or perhaps you forgot when they are available once you start creating it and have to flip back and forth to remember the date and time. Google Calendar has a Find a Time feature where it shows both parties' calendars and their available slots. If someone already has a meeting, it will show a block to avoid booking over it. You can find it when you create a calendar invite and click More options and the tab is located right next to Event Details.
Add attachments or links to the description
Ever have meetings added to your calendar but have no idea what the meeting is about or need a quick way to reference documents to prepare for the meeting? There is an option to add attachments so invitees are able to access the file quickly or add links so you can include documents and spreadsheets. You can easily find these options by clicking the paperclip or link icon in the description box.
Depending on who you are meeting with or have multiple stakeholders in the meetings that need to make changes to the invite, there are guest permissions where you can allow invitees to modify the event, invite others, or see the guest list. This tip works really well when you have many participants and you might be missing someone to add or if someone has a busy schedule and need to modify the event. Versus having you go in to do it, your guests can automatically do it on their end.
Add different timezones and the world clock
If you work with a team that is around the world, adding different timezones is helpful in identifying what time your colleagues are available. Perhaps you want to have a meeting with someone from London but you are located in California; there is obviously a huge time difference so adding their timezones can be helpful to help you identify when to schedule the meeting. You definitely don't want to send a calendar invite when it is during someone's sleep hours!
Set Working Hours
With everyone working remotely nowadays, it is easy to get carried away and work longer hours than expected. Go into Settings and set your work hours to make it easier for when people can see your availability. Google Calendar then shows a shaded view of the times outside of your work hours so they can focus on your available working hours.
Set recurring events
If you know there is a meeting or 1:1 session that happens every week or monthly, there is a function to select the event to repeat as often as you want - whether it is daily or every second Thursday of the month. This allows you to save time instead of doing it each time and also blocks off the time automatically on the calendar when you look ahead. Win-win solution.
Color code your different calendars
If you have an extremely busy day-to-day schedule, it can get messy really fast if you are unaware of what is next. Color coding your calendars or types of meetings is helpful so you can identify what is coming up. If you have calendars you are looking at (e.g your colleagues), make their calendar a different color so you won't get confused when you are looking at multiple calendars at once.
Restore deleted events
Have you ever accidentally deleted an event? Luckily, Google Calendar has a trash icon located in the Gear setting on the top right. Find the invite you deleted and click restore to add it back to your calendar. Trashed items are only saved for 30 days so make sure to check the Trash if there is an important meeting that was deleted by accident.