5 tips and tricks to get the most out of Google Calendar

Google Calendar might not be the sexiest service the search giant has to offer, but it lets you do a whole lot more than schedule meetings.

With Google Calendar, you can quickly schedule meetings and events and get reminders about upcoming activities, but you all know it. That’s what you’ve been using it for since 2009. But what is it? else can you do ?

What you can do in Google Calendar

1. Track the time

Well, sort of. A clock can do that for you. Above all, it allows you to better understand how you spend your time. To achieve this, Google Calendar has introduced a feature called “Color Categorization” in “Time Insights”.

To create a color label, go to the section Time overview (on the left of your screen), select More information. A window within a window appears on the right side of your screen. You can filter by type or by color. To add more colors (mine is just one boring color that is of no use), select the icon pen icon. This will allow you to assign colors to certain calendar entries.

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Or, on an existing calendar event, right-click on on the event, select edit and change the color of the event.

google calendar
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Here’s what your Google Calendar will look like once you implement a better color scheme.

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Image: Google/Theinquirer Australia

2. Take the time to book your appointments

We know how to block time so that people did not have for a meeting that could have been done via email, but you can also set aside time for… allow co-workers to schedule meetings with you. To do this, you must use the “Appointment slots” feature of Google Calendar. Appointment slots are useful when you don’t know who is due to meet you, but want to make yourself available. Remember, though, that Google is replacing this feature with “Appointment Calendars.” They behave in much the same way, but the latter is a preview for some users.

Similar to setting up out of office, select Appointment slotswhen creating a new event and schedule your availability for appointments. Click on an appointment in your Google Calendar, then navigate to the tab on the far right titled Calendar of appointments. Set the duration and BAM, you’ve created a niche where people can request your time.

5 tips and tricks to get the most out of Google Calendar
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To invite others to book a meeting slot, you can share your meetings page URL with your colleagues, students, clients, etc.

3. Configure working hours

In Google Calendar, you can set the times you will be in the office and available for meetings in Calendar by setting “working hours”, similar to appointment times. For example, if you set working hours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., anyone who tries to schedule a meeting with you outside of those hours will be notified if the meeting takes place outside of your working hours. This feature is especially useful when working with teams located in multiple time zones.

To use working hours, open Settingsnavigate to Hours and place of work and start setting your specific availability.

google calendar
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People who attempt to schedule meetings with you outside of these hours will be notified that you are not available at that time.

4. Define the workplace

“Going” to work no longer has the same connotation as before. Now you can set your work location so people who invite you to an event know your location and time zone. This makes it easier to plan in-person activities or set expectations within this “hybrid workplace.” If you use this feature, your trips will be limited to people who can already see your free/busy availability. As an extension of this feature, users can also select an RSVP join method to let others know how they plan to join a meeting, whether in a particular meeting room or virtually.

At the top right of your Google Calendar, click Settingsthen, on the left, under Generalselect Working hours and location. Select the days you work (working hours are already selected if your calendar shows working hours) and next to each day enter your work location. To change your work location, navigate to a specific day in your calendar and click the location bar. You can apply the change to this specific day or schedule it to repeat every week. You can see it in the screenshot shared in the previous section.

5. Activate and use Tasks

The idea is to keep your to-do list in your Google Calendar using the Tasks feature. You can edit or customize tasks right in the calendar, making it easier to house all your ongoing actions in one place. Recent updates to this feature include managing overdue tasks and customizing recurrence schedules right from your calendar.

To start planning your to-do list, click the button Tasks in the right side panel.

5 tips and tricks to get the most out of Google Calendar
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If you also use Gmail, your tasks will also be updated automatically.

Google calendar
Image: Theinquirer Australia

Is using Google Calendar free?

Google Calendar is free to use for non-business Gmail users. Anyone with a Google Account may access the free version, but it has limited features that might not be good enough for business (you also won’t get access to the above).

How to Access Google Calendar

If you have a Google account, you will see the Google Calendar icon in Gmail by selecting the nine dots in the top right of your screen. Select Calendar and it will open in a new window.

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