It’s incredibly easy to get up and running with Google Calendar. However, if you stick to the basics, you’re missing out on some powerful time-saving features.
To help you become more efficient, we’ve compiled a list of Google Calendar tips and tricks. Read on for the written version, or skip to the infographic we created with 24Slides.
1) Make it easy to differentiate your calendars.
Press the downward arrow next to the title of a calendar to choose a color from one of Google Calendar’s 24 pre-set options, or create your own custom color.
2) Use different colors for various categories of events.
For example, you could make your prospecting meetings green and your demos yellow. Open an event from your main calendar, and click the downward arrow next to its name. You’ll see the option to “change the event color.” You can also pick a color on the event’s individual page under the “Event color” section.
3) Create time blocks.
Are you always unavailable during particular times? There’s a Labs feature that lets you specify when you’re busy and will reject any invitation you receive in those time blocks. Enable this feature by clicking the gear button, choosing “Labs,” and choosing “Enable” under “Automatically declining events.” Psst: This is even easier to do if you use the Meetings tool. It’ll only show people when you’re free.
4) Get an overview of your upcoming meetings.
To get an overview of everything coming down the pike, choose the “Agenda” view. You’ll see a list version of your upcoming obligations.
5) Quickly add an event.
Click the downward arrow next to the “Create” button on the left and type a short description like, “Call with Jorge tomorrow 10 a.m.” The event will automatically be added to your calendar.
6) Get travel alerts.
If you’re frequently on the go, the mobile app’s travel alerts will come in handy. Whenever you have an in-person obligation, add its location to the “Where” field on the event page. The iOS and Android apps track estimated travel time based on traffic and will send you a notification when it’s time to leave.
7) Get a briefing of your upcoming calls and meetings delivered to your inbox every morning.
Click “Settings,” then choose the “Calendars” tab. Pick the calendar you’d like the agenda for (we recommend your work one), then choose “Edit notifications.” Scroll to “daily agenda” and check the box labeled “Email.” Google will email you a briefing at 5 a.m. your time every day.
8) Turn on "Offline" mode.
It’s inconvenient to lose access to your schedule while you’re in a no-wifi zone. Stay in the loop by turning on the “Offline” option, which lets you view and make changes to the most recent version of your calendar even when your computer isn’t connected to the internet. Click the “Settings” gear icon, choose “Offline,” and then download the extension from the Chrome web store. (This feature isn’t available for other web browsers.)
9) Focus on important events.
Stay focused on the present and future with event dimming. Go to “Settings” and choose to dim past events, recurring future ones, or both. This visual emphasis makes it easier to distinguish upcoming events from old ones in a quick glance.
10) Create events while searching the web.
You can create an event from Google’s Search bar if you’re using Chrome and logged into your Google account. Type a short description, like “dentist appointment at 4 p.m.”, press enter, and the option to create a corresponding event will appear (along with your search results). This feature even works for searches in your address bar -- making it even easier and quicker to add events to your calendar.
11) Schedule time for your goals.
Google Calendar’s iOS and Android Apps come with “Goals,” a feature that lets you set specific objectives such as “meditate every morning for one hour” or “review call notes each afternoon for 30 minutes.” The app automatically slots these sessions wherever you’ve got space in your calendar. If you’re invited to an event when a goal session is supposed to be taking place, that session will automatically be rescheduled.
12) Keep track of time zones.
Figuring out what time it is in different time zones can be tricky. However, if you don’t use the Meetings app to help prospects book time on your calendar, you might accidentally request someone’s attendance while they’re likely to be sleeping or otherwise busy. The world clock module gives you a snapshot of time around the world. Turn it on by going to the “Labs” tab under setting, scrolling down to “World clock,” and clicking “enable.”
13) Use keyboard shortcuts.
Keyboard shortcuts help you do everything faster. Once you’ve enabled this feature in the “Settings” tab, press the ? key to see the available shortcuts.
Typing “c” creates a new event, while typing “e” while you hover over an existing event takes you to the event’s page.
14) Find events quickly.
Want to find an event? Don’t waste your time or energy paging through your calendar. Instead, press “/” or use the search bar at the top. Then enter a description of the event. You can be as specific (“Meeting with Cathy 8/11/16 Sinclair Hotel”) or general (“Cathy August hotel”) as you’d like.
15) Never forget meetings.
Ensure you never let a meeting or call slip your mind by turning on “Next Meeting.” This feature -- which is available in the “Labs” section -- gives you a running countdown until your next scheduled event.
16) Connect your calendar to Slack.
Many professionals live in Slack these days, which is why Zapier’s Digest recipe is so handy. This shortcut sends your daily agenda to you in a Slack direct message. It’s especially useful if you’re trying to cut down on the number of emails you get.
17) Transfer event ownership.
Maybe your sales manager needs to take over one of your calls, or you organized a prospecting workshop you can longer run. Change ownership of your event (in other words, give someone else admin power) by selecting the event, opening the “More Actions” dropdown menu, and clicking “Change Owner.”
18) Mass-email meeting attendees.
Reach every attendee at the same time with the “Email guests” option. Open the event and choose “Email guests” above the names of the people going.
19) Copy an event to a different calendar.
When one event applies to two-plus calendars, create it on one calendar, then choose “More Actions” and “Copy to [name of your desired calendar].”
20) Hide non-work hours.
You never have meetings at 2 a.m. or 11 p.m., so why do those hours take up precious space on your professional calendar? Enable the “Hide morning and night” mode (found in Labs) to remove those time periods from your calendar view. You can modify the exact start and end dates.
Originally published Mar 10, 2017 7:30:00 AM, updated October 03 2017