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How Google Calendar Can Make Your Life a Lot Easier

How Google Calendar Can Make Your Life a Lot Easier

If I didn’t have Google Calendar I wouldn’t be talking to you right now. Google Calendar keeps me in tune, organized and updated on everything going on. To be quite frank, Google Calendar is the compass to my day. I try not to store any information in my head and use the calculated risk of storing these on offline and on-line devices, so Google Calendar helps me effortlessly know what I have to do during my day. In this article, I intend to lead you through the benefits and functions of Google Cal, as well as touch on what other uses the tool has that aren’t showcased commonly.

Newbie?

After signing into your Google account, head over to

Google Calendar where you will be presented with this interface. Google Calendar is easy to use; you will be allowed to choose how to view by either day, week, month, or even agenda. Visualizing the whole week is very useful, and will allow you to effortlessly add events to the calendar, monitor which calendar you are viewing and using, and search your events to discover what you have related to a particular keyword. Screenshot 2014-10-25 at 15.31.29

    Once you get started with Google Calendar, here are some super neat features that you need to know to get the most out of this valuable tool.

    1. SMS support

    Google Calendar allows you to get your event updates straight to your mobile phone. This is great for on the go, however can get annoying if you have internet connection. Access via Settings > Mobile Setup

    Screenshot 2014-10-30 at 09.22.03

      2. Offline support

      Google Calendar can also go offline, for those times when WiFi can’t get to you and the 3G and 4G can’t handle it. This is super useful if you have a Chromebook as well! Access via Settings > Offline.

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      Screenshot 2014-10-30 at 09.24.36

        3. Print to PDF

        Some people love to print; this little tool will allow them to print their calendar! This is great for the paper fans out there. This is a neat little tip to get it out in your hands and marker penned up! Hit that “More” button at the top.

        Screenshot 2014-10-30 at 09.27.59

          4. Format change

          This is a useful knack if you want to change the feel of the page. You might prefer your calendar more squashed or more open up to you. Put it to Comfortable though, and you’ll feel right at home. Access by hitting the cog in the top corner and easily change the density of your display.

          Screenshot 2014-10-30 at 09.33.18

            5. Quickly add event details

            You need to be a speedy speedster in this world to make it. In the organization of your calendar, Quick Add will super charge the process of adding events to your calendar. It’s super clever. Access by pressing Q on the keyboard when Google Calendar is open.

            Screenshot 2014-10-30 at 09.39.24

              6. Search

              People forget search sometimes. They panic, freak out and then miss out on simply hitting a few keys and finding their activity or event. Stop panicking and make use of that top bar!

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              Screenshot 2014-10-30 at 09.37.52

                7. More calendars

                Has your life become really routine and want to add some reminder spice to your calendar? Click the arrow next to “My Calendars” and it will have an option to “Browse Interesting Calendars.” From here you should be able to find those exciting new ways to make your life more fun and keep in touch with everything.

                Screenshot 2014-10-30 at 09.45.34

                  8. Color schemes

                  It’s all about the color coding. Make things exciting by changing the colors of your calendar and events. This can really set those creative and impulsive people off on their day. Click the arrow next to each calendar and choose your preferred color to make it more visually impressive.

                  Screenshot 2014-10-30 at 09.47.57

                    9. Send to a buddy

                    Sharing is important, and making sure your friends don’t clash with your life and you don’t clash with their calendar is vitally important. Hit “Send to a friend” on the same option list as above and get to sharing your exciting events with your friends and family.

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                    Screenshot 2014-10-30 at 09.54.15

                      10. Get reminders

                      Even when you focus your brain power onto that task of checking your calendar, things can still be forgotten. But chances are that you will check your email account or your SMS inbox. Time to add a feature that will help nag you to look and overview what you have got in the day. With these options you’ll never say that you forgot. Access the reminders by going to Settings > Calendars > Reminders and Notifications.

                      Screenshot 2014-10-30 at 09.57.16

                        11. Make it a video call

                        When adding an event, this super cool feature will allow you to notify yourself whether the event will be physical or via a video call. This is very useful when it comes to making sure whether you should be able to contact this person in a quiet surrounding. Access  via Add > Event > Video Call.

                        Screenshot 2014-10-30 at 10.00.32

                          12. Discover labs

                          Labs is a very sneaky feature and it will allow you to be a real nerd in the process. This is a chance to see what features are “unreleased” but Google is working on in the background. Some of these are useful and will allow you to see what works for you. Go to Settings > Labs.

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                          Screenshot 2014-10-30 at 10.02.56

                            13. Start a meeting

                            The duration of a meeting is important. Sometimes you plan for a one hour meeting, but it ends up lasting a lot longer than you predicted. “Speedy meetings” is a feature which allows you to focus on meeting efficiency. Thirty minute meetings end five minutes early, and one hour meetings end 10 minutes early. That way you don’t go over your allotted time.

                            Screenshot 2014-10-30 at 10.10.07

                              14. Dim events

                              In the photo above you can see the option to dim past or recurring future events. This helps to remove distraction from the equation, allowing you maximum productivity when looking at your calendar.

                              15. Add your calendar to your website

                              Nick Nikolaiev, co-founder of Casual.pm (one of top five favorite productivity services), always says in blog posts that managing your team is key. Making sure that your team members can see your calendar is very important. One feature that is super useful is the ability to let others have access to your calendar so that they can book appointments with you and see whether you’re free or busy. You can click on “Share your Calendar” as you’re hovering over a visible calendar to access the tool to share that calendar. Add this to your website or at the bottom of your email for more effective results. This also helps you look professional and eager to be productive.

                              Screenshot 2014-10-26 at 22.57.54

                                Featured photo credit: sunrise_calendar_hero/Imore.com via cdn.imore.com

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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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