When most people use Google Calendar, they use it in the simplest way possible. They create events, reminders, and can even schedule meetings using Google Meet.
But there’s more to Google Calendar than what you see. There are features hidden inside submenus and integrations that few people know about until you stumble across them.
In this article, you will learn about some of the best professional tips on how to use Google Calendar to make it much more useful. Master these, and you’ll be even more productive than you are now.
Many people use Google Calendar with one in their Google Account. Most people don’t realize that you can actually create multiple “layered” calendars for different parts of your life.
Here are some examples of things you might want to create a separate calendar for.
- Your work schedule.
- Your family’s shared calendar.
- Calendar for your home remodeling job.
- A calendar dedicated to your side business.
You can distinguish between all of your multiple calendars by color-coding them. Let’s see how to use this feature in Google Calendar.
To create a new calendar, select + icon to the right of Other calendars in the left navigation pane. Option Create a new calendar from the drop-down menu.
On the next window, give your new calendar a name, a description (optional), set the correct time zone for where you do it, and select Create a calendar.
You will see the new calendar appear in the left navigation pane below My Calendar. Enable the checkbox to the left of your new calendar and select in the calendar to create a new event.
In the window that appears, enter your event title, adjust any other settings, and make sure to change the calendar at the bottom of the window to your new one.
When you choose Saveyou’ll see the event appear in your calendar view, but it’ll be color-coded so you know which calendar it’s stored in.
You can add as many calendars as you want in the same Google account. Turn on or off any calendar layers you don’t want to see by selecting or deselecting each calendar check box.
Subscribe to see useful calendars
There are also free public calendars you can subscribe to. These calendars appear like the personal calendars you added yourself using the process above.
To access these, select + icon next to Other schedule as above, but this time choose Browse calendars of interest from the drop-down list.
You’ll see a list of calendars that you can choose from. These include different types of holidays, a wide range of sports, and the “Other” section currently covers only Moon cycle.
Once you add these and go back to your calendar, you’ll see them listed and turned on in Other calendars.
You’ll also see events from that calendar show up on your Google Calendar. Public calendar events typically show up as all-day events listed at the top of the relevant date.
Includes interesting calendars and information from the URL
You can also add a public calendar by URL. These public calendars are scattered all over the internet and are not always easy to find.
Some examples include:
- FirstShowing: Select the Google Calendar link to see upcoming movies of the year. Each year the website is updated with a new tab for the current year.
- JamBase: Select to view the Live Stream Schedule at the top of the window to view upcoming concerts.
- iCalShare: Browse or search for this huge list of holiday and sports calendars that you can add to your Google Calendar account.
- NASA launch schedule: This calendar is updated by NASA with all upcoming NASA launches as well as historic NASA launches.
To add one of these calendars, copy the URL from any public calendar. Then, in your own Google Calendar account, select + icon to the right of Other calendars. Option From URL from the drop-down list.
On the next Windows, paste the URL of the calendar in URL of the calendar field, then select Add calendar button.
Now when you go back to your own calendar, if you enable the calendar you added, you’ll see those events appear with their own color coding.
Helpful tips for using Google Calendar
In addition to simply adding events to your calendar, there’s a lot you can do to make your calendar more efficient.
Color Code Your Work
Whenever you create events to remind yourself to do something or about an appointment, consider color-coding specific areas of your life.
For example, you can set all health related events in yellow, work events in blue, and family events in orange.
To do this, simply select the calendar to make an event. After giving the event a title, select Another choice at the bottom of the window. On the next page, select the color code for that event next to the calendar selection.
This option overrides the default calendar settings with your custom color code.
Use the correct time zone when traveling
If you have an event that starts in one time zone and ends in another, it’s important to account for that time difference.
If you’re not sure why this is important, consider whether you want to start working on a school paper when you board a flight over the East Coast of the United States. You know you’ll probably finish your paper when you get to California.
The problem is that California goes back four and three hours. Google Calendar can help you account for this time zone change.
To do this in Google Calendar, click the calendar to create an event when it starts. Just below the date and time of the event, select time zone.
Next to the All day check box, select time zone again. You’ll see a window appear allowing you to specify a different time zone for when the event starts and ends. Select the check box, then set each time zone.
Option ALRIGHT when you’re done.
Be careful when setting the event end time, as the calendar will translate it to the new time zone. So if you were told it would take you between 3pm and 4pm Eastern Time to write and change the end time zone to Los Angeles, the calendar would show the end time at 7pm .
Set the start and end times to the exact time in the time zone you set.
Automatically end meetings early
Another useful feature if you want people to like you is to automatically end a meeting that you create 5 minutes early for a 30 minute meeting and 10 minutes early for a 60 minute meeting.
You can set this by opening Google Calendar settings, selecting Event settings from the menu on the left and turn on Quick meetings check box.
This will give your meeting attendees time to get to their next meeting, should they need to.
Integrate with your ToDo app
You also don’t have to manage your calendar manually if you use most of today’s popular cloud-based to-do apps.
For example, ToDoist allows you to integrate directly with Google Calendar. Just go to your ToDoist settings, select Integration from the menu on the left and select Calendar connection in Google Calendar.
Now, whenever you create a new to-do reminder in ToDoist, that reminder is automatically added to your Google Calendar.
Most other to-do apps have similar integrations with Google Calendar, or you can use apps like IFTTT or Zapier to integrate them into services.
Use the Google Calendar app
It also doesn’t make sense if you’re always stuck with your desktop or laptop when you’re using your calendar. So it makes sense to install the Google Calendar app on your iPhone or Android devices.
The app syncs with every other device you use Google Calendar on, so you’re never far from your schedule, events, and reminders.
Create event from Gmail
Google Calendar also integrates directly with Gmail, and you don’t even have to do anything to activate it.
To use this embedded integration in Google Calendar, whenever you open an email in Gmail, simply select the three dots to the right of the top icon menu. Option Create event from the drop-down menu.
This will automatically create an event in your Google Calendar, using the details from this email in the event details.
This is a useful way to instantly set a meeting or reminder whenever you receive an important email that you want to follow up on.
View your calendar from Google Docs
You might be surprised to learn that even Google Docs is integrated with Google Calendar. Keep track of your upcoming meetings while working on the document by selecting the Calendar icon on the right side of the Google Docs window.
This displays today’s agenda in a small, narrow window on the right. It’s a great way to keep the day’s events right in front of your eyes even when you’re busy at work.
Google Calendar is more than just creating events and reminders. Between the integrations, shared calendars and all the other features – Google Calendar is one of the most useful cloud-based calendars available to you today. And best of all, it’s completely free.