The Life-Changing Magic of Google Calendar

March 1, 2019

There are two types of people in the world: those who use Google Calendar and those who don’t. In all seriousness, gcal is a great tool for those of us who have a hard time staying organized or just have a bad memory. The online platform not only allows you to track your schedule and tasks but makes it easier than ever to find a time to connect with others.

Here are a few tips on how to get started, as well as how to optimize your gcal experience.

The Basics

The first step to getting started with gcal is to set up your basic schedule. Although gcal is available on mobile, I’d recommend getting started using a computer for a more visual and effortless setup.

First, try focusing on your recurring events like classes, meetings, and work. Using gcal’s user-friendly platform, click and drag to create an event. Once you’ve made an event you can edit it and customize how often it occurs. For example, here I’ve scheduled “Weekly Meetings” and customized them to occur every Tuesday and Thursday ending on May 28th. With these options, it makes it pretty painless to put in your personal weekly schedule.

Invites & Hangouts

I’ve heard from friends time and time again, “Why should I use gcal instead of the calendar app on my phone?” A convenience gcal has that many other apps or paper planners don’t is the ability to effortlessly share schedules with your friends and co-workers.

First, you can look at others’ calendars and vice versa. Simply click “add calendar” and type in your friend’s name or email. Voila! If all sharing settings are in order you can easily access anyone in your organization's calendar to see when they’re free or busy. In addition to this, you can invite people to join events you generate. All you have to do is go into the details of your event and type their email into “add guests.”

One of the greatest advantages to gcal is the ability to turn any event into a group video call. Simply edit the event details, add conferencing, and turn it into a “Hangouts Meet.” This is a great way to connect, especially for business, despite everyone’s busy lives.

Getting the Most Out of Your Calendar

Logistics aside, the best part of using gcal is the satisfying aesthetic choices for us detail-oriented folks. In addition to setting events, you can set reminders. These daily tasks recur until you cross them off as completed. Additionally, gcal comes equipped with a tasks sidebar where you can make and cross off to-do items. Although your calendar may be digital, checking tasks off your agenda is still refreshing as always.

If I haven’t won you over yet, it’s time to hear about my favorite part of gcal that many times goes unused. That's right, we’re talking about color coding. You can take your calendar from a dull monochrome to a plethora of pleasing pigments.

For visual learners like myself, categorizing my schedule by color makes it easier to see where I'm spending my time (not to mention it looks pretty cool). I like to assign colors to different groups of events. For example, I like to split mine up into differing hues by classes, work, extracurriculars, and personal events. All you have to do is right-click on an event to select a color and you’re done!

Although I’ve just scratched the surface here, gcal has a variety of functions to help even the most forgetful of us appear put together. I hope my simple how-to guide will inspire you to become a devout gcal user yourself.