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7 Google Calendar Planning Tips

7 Google Calendar Planning Tips

Google Calendar is my choice for organizing my schedule. I don’t like Microsoft Outlook, but only because I loathe client-side applications for non-creativity-based processes. Here are 7 ways to use Google Calendar to better schedule your life, with a really cool add-on idea to boot.

  • Use Monthly View for Big Ticket Planning– Plan your life and obligations with a month’s eye view to begin with. Use this level to make sure you make time for the things that matter most. Having trouble spending time with your spouse or kids? Build time into the calendar first thing before planning the other obligations. Make exercise a priority by putting it in as a recurring event across the days you dictate in a month.
  • Use NEXT Week for Scheduling– Use weekly view but set it to next week. Make all your appointments for the week after this one, unless there’s a huge time requirement. This gives everyone a chance to arrange their calendars and priorities neatly. People will start to appreciate your scheduling method, and it’ll allow them to prepare for doing business with you.
  • Use Weekly View for Course Correction– As you approach events or activities, firm up your plans in the weekly view. If you have to delete exercise from Monday because you ended up having to take your kid to the doctor’s office, move it to Tuesday. Make sure you don’t “bleed” events, because they wouldn’t be on there, if you weren’t dedicating yourself to accomplishing them in the first place, right?
  • DON’T use Daily View – There’s just no reason.
  • Make a Tally– Count up what types of events are for one topic, which are for another, and make sure you’re balancing. Do you have 71 work-related calendar items and only 4 family? If family matters most, is it just that you’re not reflecting that time in your calendar, or are you missing something?
  • Invite Other People to use Google Calendar– Share your calendar view (or portions- there are granular settings for this), so that people can get a better sense of your time commitments. This might help them NOT bug you with trivial matters. It might prompt them to invite you to something to blow off steam, if they notice your calendar is blocked full. The best of what it does is give people some pre-warning as to how busy your life is. (This also helps cut down on friviolous offers).
  • Make good use of the Reminders Options– I have reminders ping my desktop email, my Gmail account, my phone, and about everything else I could configure. I want to make sure I don’t miss an appointment because some technology silo couldn’t get my attention. Sometimes, this is annoying (acknowledging all those things), but other times, it’s saved me from grave embarassment. Make sure you set the warning time to be long enough that you can take action, but not so long that you forget you were reminded.
  • BONUS IDEA:– Consider hiring a virtual assistant. Rates for virtual personal assistants like Sara Deutsch are reasonable enough (especially if they consider pro-rating for various tasks), and by sharing out your Google Calendar view, you might be able to enable a virtual assistant to help you with things like scheduling (imagine paying $30 a week for this service versus $5000 a year for a phone messaging company or $24,000 a year for a full salary employee). A virtual assistant can be an interesting way to farm out parts of our schedule to others, freeing us for things that matter more to us personally.

Those are my tips. What would you add to that list?

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–Chris Brogan has a full schedule this week, but is still booking appointments at [chrisbrogan.com]. His calendar has an event called Podcamp scheduled on Sept 9-10.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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