3 Tips to Become a Google Calendar Pro
If you’re anything like us, you’d be lost without your digital calendar. It’s the playbook for any given workweek, but it can be so much more than a list of meetings with times and locations. At goBRANDgo!, we’ve figured out a few ways to transform your calendar into a secret weapon for productivity and preparedness.
Time Blocking & Recurring Work Time
When you have many projects going at the same time, it can be challenging to decide what to work on first. Having a plan for how you’ll spend your precious solo work time is key to maximizing your productivity and keeping you focused on priorities. Make an appointment with yourself to work on the specific things you need to get done, and be sure to show up! While this is a disciplined approach, it doesn’t mean you have to be inflexible. If an important meeting request overlaps your appointment with yourself, simply move the event to another open time slot.
Take time blocking a step further by scheduling routine, time-consuming tasks. For example, our developers perform monthly WordPress and plugin updates, our content writer produces monthly blog posts for clients, and our admin processes payroll and takes care of accounting tasks. We block this time on the calendar and then set it to recur. If a meeting gets booked over the time we had set aside, as mentioned above, we simply move the time somewhere else during that week.
By doing this, you can visually see how you’ll make time to accomplish all that needs to get done in a week.
Event Naming & Color Coding
Naming conventions for meetings help streamline communication among internal teams when looking at multiple schedules. By adding a simple prefix in brackets before events, we effectively let other people on the team know what type of event we have booked. For example, meetings involving only goBRANDgo! team members use an “[int]” designation before the topic of the meeting to denote that it’s internal. If a team member has time blocked off for solo work time, we title the event [work] and then the name of the project. If it’s a personal errand like a doctor’s appointment, we use [per] with a brief description.
Color coding events can also give you a good sense of your week at a glance. By assigning a different color to internal meetings, offsite client meetings, and solo work time, you can glance at your week to get a sense of what your work rhythm will be like. Note that color coding is only visible to other users who have editing access to your calendar.
Problem Prevention and Preparedness
If you book meetings far in advance, especially for networking opportunities, you’ve probably experienced a moment of panic walking into a Starbucks feeling less prepared than you’d like. Implementing the following calendar practices will boost your confidence and ensure you and (and they!) get the most out of your interaction.
First, let’s talk problem prevention. Add the full address of the venue into the event location, and include any parking or other helpful instructions in the description. Then, when you’re booking the meeting, get the other person’s mobile phone number and paste your number and theirs into the calendar invitation. That way, you’ll have an easy way to get in touch if something comes up at the last minute. With their number readily available, you can let them know you’re stuck in traffic, or you want to let them know you’ve arrived and have already grabbed a table.
Next, preparedness. After you’ve sent over the calendar invitation to the other party, create one next to it that’s just for yourself. We usually title it “[person’s name or meeting subject] Info.” In the space for the event description, paste in any relevant emails you’ve traded back and forth, the person’s LinkedIn profile link, and any notes for what you’d like to discuss during the meeting. This places all the information you need on your calendar for when you review it the night before or that morning, and also keeps the invitations you send to others clean and professional. Be sure not to mix these up!
Google Calendar is a powerful tool that can be made even more impactful for increasing productivity, improving communication, and enabling better preparedness. Follow these tips to become a calendar rock star! Cheers to leveling up!