For years, I insisted on using a paper planner to keep track of my schedule. When my husband finally convinced me to try Google Calendar instead, I was an instant convert. Now I’m a flat-out evangelist. I love being able to see and manage my calendar from my phone or any computer. Even more, I love being able to have and share multiple calendars.
For my fellow schedule-lovers, here are some of my favorite tips for creating the online calendar system of your dreams:
I absolutely love that Google allows each user to have multiple personal calendars. I added a secondary calendar just to keep track of my favorite classes at a couple of different yoga studios I like. This “fitness” calendar has repeating weekly appointments for all of these classes. Then when I’m planning out my week, I can overlay my main and fitness calendars, easily see which classes I can fit into my schedule, and copy them onto my main calendar.
I’ve used this at work, too: one calendar for my own appointments, and one for events I have to plan but not necessarily attend. (Bonus: having a separate work calendar meant I could check my appointment schedule from home but not have to see it on my primary personal calendar all the time.)
This same system could be applied to anything you want to track, but don’t always want to see on your schedule. What about concerts, baseball games, or other events you’d like to go to, but only when you have time? Heck, you could even use a secondary calendar to track your fertility, diet and exercise, or anything else you want to easily record and see.
My spouse and I keep separate personal calendars but have given the other person access to see (and add things to) ours. This is the handiest thing ever, since we’re both quite busy and can’t always remember what the other person is up to. Shared calendars make it easier for us to schedule date nights or getaways. I can just look at both of our schedules at once, figure out when we’re both free, and send him an invite. Or I can commit both of us to an event, like a family dinner or double date, even if he’s not standing next to me at the moment. I also do the opposite — I can see when I’ll be able to enjoy some alone time at home because he has plans and I don’t.
Sharing calendars can even be a safety thing for partners, roommates, or anyone else who lives with another person. If it’s getting unusually late and my husband’s not home, checking his calendar is one way to remind myself, “Oh yeah, he went to a concert tonight,” rather than worrying that he’s dead on the side of the road somewhere.
This is a super way to combine both of my favorite Google calendar features at once! If you have another person with whom you share something — like a car or a house — create and share a second calendar just to hold “reservations” for that “resource.” That way you and your roommate don’t promise two different people that they can sleep on your couch over the same weekend.
You can even expand this to several people: imagine your entire extended family being able to see when the family cabin is available, or your community group’s volunteers being able to find and sign up for open shifts. A secondary calendar could also display your kids’ soccer games or orchestra concerts, for instance, so your mom knows when she can come watch.
Even though I am dearly attached to my Google calendars, I’m sure I’ve just scraped the surface of schedule management wonderfulness. What tips, tricks, and programs do y’all use?