How Google Calendar Turned Me into a Time Management Pro

December 10, 2018 Palak Saria

Time-lapsed stars background and a white overlay saying How Google Calendar Made Me A Time Management Pro

We’re in a race against time. There are only so many hours in a day to conquer our goals and still make time for family, friends, and fun. Despite making to-do lists and using time tracking apps, I’ve always struggled with time management. 

Yes, I was the kid that would procrastinate and freak out the night before an exam. 

Yes, I often forgot birthdays and special anniversaries. 

Yes, I was late more than I’d like to admit. And yes, I was tired of the same old patterns.

After missing a really important work deadline, I decided to kick my time management habit for good. 

The Problem:
I never kept track of my appointments and tasks in one place. My desk, fridge, and kitchen table were plastered in colorful Post-it reminders that offered little to no context. My meetings were scrawled in a fury as I raced from one to another. Too often my chicken scratch URLs would be missing a dash, phone numbers a digit, and first names a letter (only to be mispronounced later). 

Mixed success: I had tried various apps, agendas (both paper and digital), but nothing clicked. Sure, I’d be on my A Game for a month or two, but things would get too complicated and bring me back to square one. 

Moving forward: I had almost given up and made peace with the fact that time management wasn't in my cards - until I discovered Google Calendar. 

Time Management (for people who suck at it)

Why Google Calendar? Because it’s streamlined and complements whatever I'm doing on desktop, tablet, or mobile. I don’t have to stop working and open another app every 30 minutes to see upcoming meetings or hunt down phone numbers and meeting links. 

Beyond that, Google Calendar can send me on-screen reminders and emails at specific intervals, which is great if you tend to get lost in work like I do. 

You don’t have to be tech-savvy to use it. 
Google Calendar has become my go-to for scheduling tasks, meetings, nights out, weekend activities, and all the fun stuff that pops up in life. 

Since getting on the ‘G train,’ I have more time because I spend less time searching for things. I’ve even graduated to sharing some of my favorite productivity hacks with others.

So if you’ve ever struggled with time management, know you’re not alone. And yes, you can turn it around with a little help from Google Calendar. 

Google Calendar’s Mantra: Do More. Stress Less. 
Collaborate with “World Clock” 

There are 24 time zones. 

Before Google Calendar, I used a time zone converting website to figure out the time difference between my location and my clients’ and team members’. 

Sometimes, I’d be in be in a rush and enter the wrong information and schedule a meeting well past my office hours (and theirs). 

Ever since switching to Google Calendar, I’ve said goodbye to a lot of the things I used to do manually - like time zone conversion. 

Google’s ‘Worldclock’ feature does it automatically. It’s made choosing meeting times that accommodate my teammates and clients a lot easier.  

How to enable this feature: 
Calendar >> Setting >> Wordclock >> Select the Show 'Worldclock' option  >>Select the regions you want the time clock to display on your calendar.

A screenshot of Google Calendar month-view and instructions on how to set up the Worldclock feature

‘Suggested Times’ Makes Collaboration Easy

I’ve saved a lot of time (and stress) with Google Calendar's ‘Suggested Times’ feature. As a newbie support specialist, I’m still being shadowed by senior consultants and account managers to get a hang of my new role.

One of my favorite parts of working at Appirio is being able to reach out to any employee, find a free slot in their calendar, and add them to a meeting. 

How to see the calendar's suggestions: 
Calendar >> Add a ‘New Event’ >> Enter the guest’s name >>  Next, (below the guest list) click the ‘Suggested Time’ link  (a drop-down window will appear and list the times that your guests and you are available to meet without conflicts).

Image of how to set suggested times in Google Calendar

A Google Calendar screenshot and instructions on how to set up the Suggest Times feature with a drop-down of dates and times

Google Calendar’s ‘Out of Office’ Option

As a support specialist on a managed services team, I have a bunch of meetings devoted to troubleshooting issues for my clients. If I was sick or going on vacation, I used to email my contacts one-by-one (usually on my phone) to decline a meeting. 

Google Calendar makes setting this feature up easy. Adding an ‘Out of Office’ time slot is just like adding an event to your calendar. 

If someone tries to schedule a meeting with you during an ‘Out of Office’ time slot, that meeting will automatically be declined. The person who tried to organize the meeting will receive an email with the customized message (set by you) for that 'Out of Office’ time slot. 

How to use this feature:
Calendar >> Create an event  >> Choose “Out of Office “ << Customize time and message.

Screenshot of Google Calendar and how to set up Out of Office time slots

Image of entering information into the Out of Office fields of Google Calendar

Keyboard shortcuts: 

Want to make Google Calendar an even faster time management and collaboration tool?  Check out these keyboard shortcuts: 

A list of Google Calendar shortcuts to make navigation faster and time management easier

List of shortcuts on how to change Google Calendar views

List of shortcuts on how make changes to an event in Google Calendar

List of View tasks and Keep shortcuts in Google Calendar for Windows, Mac, and Chromebook

Life is complicated; make it simpler with technology. 

Google Calendar has taught me to work smarter and save time and energy with its automatic scheduling and collaboration capabilities. After trying so many tools (and failing), I thought I was doomed to a life of disorganization, but I turned things around and morphed into a time management master. 

Want more productivity hacks and insights into Google capabilities? Visit the Appirio Google Hub

About the Author

Palak Saria

Associate Cloud Management Specialist at Appirio, Jaipur

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