Best Ways to Utilize Google Calendar for Productivity

Share calendars, manage events, add national holidays, add tasks, access offline, set meeting across time zones, show weather, add maps, add Google meet invite.

Maintaining an organized calendar is extremely important for productivity, time management, and organization.

Let's take a look at how you can best utilize Google Calendar for productivity and clarity.

1. Sync Multiple Calendars Into One Google Calendar

Instead of having many calendars spread out between different accounts, platforms & locations – sync them all to one calendar. If you have more than one Google account, decide which you’d like to set as your default calendar and then set your other accounts to sync into the main one.

If you work at a company and want to share a calendar with your colleagues, you can do that as well. If you’d like to have a family calendar set up between all your family members, it’s easy to do.

Setup:

Google calendar allows you to easily share your own calendar with others, or add their calendar to yours. To share a calendar with others, navigate to the My calendars tab on the left hand side of the screen, click on the arrow and then “Share”.

In the next screen you'll be able to share your calendar with specific people (via email), to the public, or to everyone in your organization (if you’re using Google apps for business).

Share Google Calendar

To add someone else's calendar, you can either ask them to invite you, or sent them a share request. To send a share request head over to the Other calendars tab and click on Add a friend’s calendar.

Add freinds calendar to Google Calendar
Google Calendar add friends calendar

2. Add Public Calendars

You can easily sync public calendar with your own. Head back to Other Calenders and click on “browse interesting calendars”. You can find calendars for national Holidays, sporting events or teams, Sunrise and Sunset and much more.

As an example – the calendars I have set up at the moment are: Personal, Work, Events, Holidays & Birthdays.

3. Creating New Events (keyboard shortcut: ‘c')

Creating new events is very simple and straightforward, but I’d like to highlight a few handy features:

  • Select meeting time zone (will convert to your local time).
Google Calendar Event Time Zone
  • Google syncs events with Google Maps, Google Plus & Google Now (more later on).
Google calendar maps integration
  • Set email reminders or pop up notifications.
Google Calendar Notifications
  • Create a one time or recurring event.
  • Invite guests to modify, invite others or see guest list.
Add guests to event on Google Calendar
  • Add attachments (activate via the Labs, more below).
Add atachments
  • “Find a time” allows you to sync between your calendar and a colleagues to find a free meeting spot.

Google Calendar Productivity Settings (keyboard shortcut: ‘s')

  • Dim past and future recurring events.
  • Change calendar date range (2 days up to 4 weeks).
  • Change time and date formats.
  • Add different time zones.
  • Display weather.

Gmail Integration

If you receive an email which contains text with a date and time (i.e. “Tomorrow at 8 pm”), Gmail will underline that text and allow you to click on it and add it to your calendar.

Automaticaly add event to calendar from Gmail

Advanced Search With Filters (keyboard shortcut ‘/')

You can use search filters to find an event by clicking on the arrow next to the blue search icon. This will open up the advanced search window allowing you to search by location, people, dates or by specific calendars.

Advanced Google Calendar Search

Creating Tasks

  • Create tasks and organize them by lists.
  • Set due dates for tasks.
  • Sync tasks with other apps (any.do for example).

To be honest I don’t use calendar tasks anymore because the interface isn't that good and there are better task management applications on the market.

Enabling Lab Features

The Google Calendar “Labs” are where you find all the fun stuff and the features which aren't activated by default. My personal favorite is “add attachments” to events.

This is great if you know you’re going somewhere and need to have a specific file with you. Instead of taking the risk of forgetting it, you can attach it to the event the minute you create it.

Event Attachments Google Calendar

More Powerful Lab Features:

  • Hide morning and night hours.
  • Set Background image.
  • Add World clock.
  • Add Year view.

Takeaways

Using a calendar to stay on top of your schedule is a must. With a few simple tweaks, you can make more out of what is already one of the best calendar software out there.