With everything you have going on, you probably couldn’t make it through the day without your calendar—it’s your to-do list, your daily planner, or even your general lifeline.
Maybe you’re a traditionalist and prefer to keep your schedule on paper. Or maybe you’re always ahead of everyone and you’re using a new app that no one else knows about. Or maybe, you’re like most people and you don’t have one system down pat.
That last group is exactly who I’m talking to today! I have the perfect system for you. And as you might’ve guessed from the title, it’s Google Calendar.
Odds are high you have access to it and dabble in it already. I’m going to give you 14 lesser-known tips to get the most out of it (and solve all your scheduling struggles):
1. Find the Perfect Time for Everyone
Book a meeting when everyone’s free by clicking “suggested times” when creating a new event.
2. Turn Emails Into Calendar Holds
Click the “more” button above any email with information about an event, and a new calendar event will automatically open and fill in with the details.
3. Decline Meetings You Can’t/Don’t Want to Attend
Add blocks of time to your calendar when you can’t attend a meeting (hint: when you’re doing heads-down work) by clicking “enable automatically declining events” in your settings.
4. Factor in Work-Life Balance
Want to ensure you’re home by six for a family dinner or meeting-free to go for a run in the morning? Hide that time on your calendar completely by choosing “enable hide morning and night” in your settings.
5. Get on the Same Time Zone as Clients
Don’t miss that important gathering on the other side of the world by choosing “show an additional time zone” under your current time zone in settings.
(Pro tip: add flag emojis to the label to easily indicate the location of each time zone).
6. Never Show Up Late
If you’re guilty of showing up late to things, use Google Cal’s obvious countdown feature to remind you when your next appointment is—just enable “next meeting” in your settings.
7. Give Everyone Access to Important Docs
Instead of everyone showing up to your meeting unprepared, you can add a document to your calendar invite so everyone has all the information they need in front of them before you collaborate.
8. Give Yourself Some Breathing Room
Make sure you have time between meetings to grab a snack or hit the bathroom by including a five to 10-minute buffer after each one (do this by checking the “speedy meetings” option in your settings).
9. Have a Little Privacy
Sometimes, you want to put an event in your calendar that you don’t want everyone to see. By choosing the “private” option when creating it, your calendar will only show that you’re “busy” during that time.
10. Combine Work Tasks With Outside Work Activities
Create one calendar for work meetings, one for doctor appointments, one for dinner or weekend plans, and many more, and view them all in one place so nothing overlaps!
11. Check the Weather
Before heading out to that meeting downtown, know whether or not you need to bring an umbrella by choosing “show weather based on my location” in settings.
12. Be Distraction Free
Normally, Google Calendar alerts “pull” you out of your current window and into your calendar. Stop them from interrupting your workflow by choosing “use browser notifications instead of interruptive alerts” in your settings.
13. Email a Daily Agenda to Yourself
Want an overview of your schedule for the day? In the “calendars” section of your settings, you can opt into receiving an email every morning with your agenda—so you can start the day prepared for what’s to come.
14. Take Your Calendar With You Everywhere
These small but powerful tips and tricks should help you create a calendar that works for you—so you can spend more time crushing it in meetings and at your job.