Despite being one of the most powerful time and project management tools, Google Calendar is often scolded like a disliked cousin. I never understood that since the list of its features and ease of use – not to mention its availability – are pretty impressive.
While it isn’t suited for task allocation, time tracking and multiple users project shares, it has enough functionalities to make for a robust team and personal project management tool. Personally, I use Google Calendar to pull together my repetitive weekly blogging and business tasks and coordinate multiple project schedules. How can Google Calendar rock your world?
What can Google Calendar do for you?
- Create a dedicated calendar for your goals, keeping track of/scheduling time to focus on your work towards them. In fact, Google Calendar mobile app lets you automate your goal setting with intuitive events- read more here.
- Create a shared calendar with your family/partner for family events, birthday reminders, parties and even meal planning.
- Make use of the Task option to create virtual to-do lists with due dates.
- Batch your days for a different task (one of the secrets of highly productive people!) and plan your weekly schedules with repetitive events option.
- Create events straight from your Gmail, such as your flight schedule or webinars.
- Automate your social media, backups or mute your phone (and so much more) with IFTTT applets.
- Manage and group e-mail event guest lists.
- Create individual team members calendars to keep track of their progress.
- Create a project task timeline by implementing smart hashtag strategy (Google Calendar is searchable!).
- Track hours spent at certain locations, for example, your office with this IFTTT recipe.
- Add Google Hangouts to your planned event – learn how to do it here.
- Invite group members to your event and use ‘Find a time’ option to see everybody’s availability.
- Schedule 1-on-1 meetings (you might want to enable the ‘Who’s my one-on-one with?’ function in Google Labs for this too.
- Integrate Google Calendar with the paid version of Trello – more about this here.
- Plan your social media and blog content. You can grant viewing rights to people, who might want to have a look at your schedule such as clients.
Top six reasons you should try project management with Google Calendar
#1 Accessibility and integration
Do you know anybody who does not have a Google email address? I do not. Simply log into your Google account to gain access to your free calendar. You can integrate the calendars with your smartphone, use it in offline mode if you expect to work on a computer without internet access or add new events directly from your email. Additionally, different apps can be integrated with Google Calendar such as Evernote (automatically puts the event name pulled in from Google Calendar as a title of your new note) or IFTTT (check available recipes here).
#2 Multitasking friendly
Multitasking is the killer of productivity, but a multipurpose tool is exactly what you need to keep your projects in one place and maximise your time management. Google Calendar is no stranger to task juggling with its multi-calendar view, robust reminders set up, task lists, agenda view, sharing options and many other.
#3 Smart view
You can customise your calendar view from the default seven days scope to five days, one day, daily agenda or a month overview in the browser version, colour-coded and clearly laid out. Apart from that, you are can switch to customised view allowing you to see from 2 days to 4 weeks timetable on one screen.
#4 Export ready
Google Calendar makes it possible to export calendars to .ics file (to add e-mail clients such as Thunderbird) or print the calendar in day, week or month view for those, who like to have their planners at hand. You can also embed calendars on your blog or website.
#5 Makes planning with others easier
One of my favourite functions of Google Calendar, which incidentally is very much a Google product characteristic, is sharing calendars with multiple people and granting them different admin rights. You can share a calendar with co-workers or invite clients to take a peek at a single event without letting them edit it.
#6 It’s free
Cool Google Calendar features that will make your life easier
The beauty of Google Calendar is that, aside from being a hefty project control board, it has a bunch of pretty cool functionalities you can use to optimise your work experience, make your life easier and in general squeeze as much as possible from your tool. You know that I love the idea of doing more with less, right?
#1 Create multiple calendars for yourself and your clients
You can create an unlimited number of new calendars and colour code, share or hide them. This is a great option for creating content calendars for your clients – you can let them view or edit the entries directly in the calendar view, attach files to your entries (from your device or Google Drive) and invite guests (really useful for guest blogging).
Creating project timelines is pretty simple by being scrupulous in adding your project events into the calendar. You can use the previously mentioned agenda view for your project calendar to have your timeline laid out for easier navigation.
#3 Search your Calendar
Google Calendar is searchable, which offer database possibilities for those of you, who prefer to keep track of each stage of project planning. You can use hashtags to classify various posts or actions such as #client1igpost or #bloglinkbuilding – when you search your calendar to get an overview of your work.
#4 Meeting planner
Each event allows you to add a list of guests and send them an invite via e-mail (Google Calendar searches your Gmail contacts, which is pretty cool!), share notes or documents as an attachment and automatically update participants via e-mail whenever there is a change in event details.
#5 Activate the Labs
Labs is a testing ground for new features that Google wanted to add to the Google Calendar. It hasn’t been updated in a while, but the existing plugins include:
- a world clock widget
- hide morning and night hours
- automatically decline events
- next meeting function
To add Labs click on the gear icon in the right top corner and select ‘Labs’. Select the options you want to use, save and go back to the main calendar view.
#6 Subscribe to different calendars
It’s really important for content managers to factor in holidays and days off in the social marketing schedule – Google Calendar lets you do that! To subscribe to for example holidays in Austria, click on the arrow next to ‘Other calendars’ and select ‘Browse interesting calendars’. Click ‘Subscribe’ to add selected calendars to your view.
#7 Add weather forecast to your calendar
For people like me (I never ever check the weather forecast and then turn up dressed in a thin jacket when the sky is belching ash and smoke) having this function is a life saver. Click on the gear icon and select ‘Settings’. Find ‘Show weather based on my location’ -this requires you to set up your current location. You can also select ° C or ° F.
#8 Add additional time zone
I used this feature extensively during my international project management – you don’t appreciate having additional time zone display until you have to Skype with US-based colleagues! For information on using Google Calendar in different time zones, click here.
Any feedback? I am listening! Let me know on my Twitter or hit one of the share buttons below!
Cover photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash