I’ve recently been looking to get a new calendar/organizer to keep track of everything that I need to do on a daily basis. I was using a desktop calendar, but since I work on multiple computers and am frequently on-the-go, I came to realize that I was not as productive as I should be with a program that was available only on one computer. I could have put it on other computers, but the process of backing up the calendar and always updating it wherever I am working was just a big waste of time to me. So I came across Google Calendar. I have to say, I was really impressed with what it could do to boost my productivity. Here is my assessment of the features of Google Calendar:
As I mentioned above, one of my biggest problems was having access to my calendar from multiple workstations as I work on many different computers, as well as a laptop when I am away from the office. Google Calendar solves this issue very nicely as it is an online calendar, so you can access it from any internet connection with your Google account login. So no more backing up and updating to do, as you are always getting the latest updated version of your calendar at all times. This saves quite a bit of time and being able to access it from anywhere is a huge productivity booster.
Calendar can be private or public
Of course, everything that is personal, you set it to private. However, if you create an event where you would like to invite friends, or anyone locally, you can set the event to public and people will be able to search and find your event. For example, if I create a seminar in Montreal, I can easily create a public event for it, and people looking for such a seminar in the city will be able to locate my event and request to assist to it. If you are someone that organizes a lot of events, this can be extremely useful, and if you work closely with other people, you can synchronize your timetable with them seamlessly by making each other’s calendar accessible to one another and projecting each other’s events onto the calendar. So you will see your events, and your co-worker’s events on the same calendar. Very neat feature for people that work closely within groups.
I am very picky with calendars, and one of the features that is a “must” is the creation of recurring events. You see, I have tons of bills or payments to make each and every month, and it would be a nightmare trying to remember each one of them to add to the calendar every month. Recurring events makes it super easy as you enter it once, and it repeats at the frequency that you want it to repeat. This makes the calendar work for you instead of the other way around, thus saving you precious time. Thankfully, Google Calendar has this feature and you can precisely set up recurring events exactly as you want them to reoccur. It’s a breeze to create such events, so you can spend your time on more useful things rather than to spend it tweaking at your calendar/organizer!
Cell phone or email notifications
This is a great feature! You can select to receive either an email or an SMS message to your cell phone to remind you of a particular event at a predetermined time prior to the event. For example, if I want to be reminded via a text message 30 min prior to some event, it’s super easy to set this up, just 1-2 clicks. One problem I had with my desktop calendar, was that frequently, I was away from the office, and without a computer around. So I was not getting any notifications and losing on productivity. Now, I can get my notifications directly to my cell phone, so if something of importance slipped my mind, no matter where I am, I can be reminded of it this way. Again, this makes the calendar work for you, and boosts its usefulness even more.
Simple viewing modes
You can choose to view the calendar in daily, weekly, monthly, or agenda mode. So you have a mode to please everyone. There is even a customizable viewing mode, where you can choose to see 4 days or 10 days for example, instead of a regular 7 day week. This can be very useful if let’s say a particular stretch of the month is crucial for you, and you need to see that stretch of days onto one easy calendar page. One thing that is very important in a calendar is to be able to view the information as easily and as effectively as you wish to make you more productive, and this calendar does just that.
Integration with Google Maps
This was one very cool feature I thoroughly enjoyed. When you create an event, if it is at a particular location, you can easily add a Google Map to it. So if for example I have a meeting on the other side of the city, I can easily get the directions I need to get there on the spot right there within the calendar. For someone that travels a lot or someone that works on the road, this feature can truly be beneficial and a huge time saver. I am a big user of Google Maps already, so having this feature within my organizer is a nice bonus to have 🙂
Add local weather
There is a built-in feature that you can activate, where it will show 4 days of weather on your calendar (current day + 3 following days) for your local region. I thought this was a very nice touch, as I usually check the weather website multiple times a day to see what it’s like in the upcoming days. This saves me more clicking/browsing as I see the information I need right there, and it’s nice to see upcoming weather on the calendar directly, as it can help you plan trips or getaways that you may have in the coming days more comfortably and accurately.
Embed calendar onto any web page
What really put this calendar over the top was the ability to paste the calendar onto any website as you wish. Let me explain to you why this is so good in my case. I have a particular control panel that I login for my company, where I have all my tools, all my links, and everything I need to properly do my work. Now, I can also include my calendar/organizer onto the same control panel! Now I have truly all the information & tools I require to be effectively productive at my finger tips at all times. You can customize the size of the calendar and with it being an <i frame> tag, you can embed it into any part of the page and manipulate it as you wish. I can see this being very useful in companies with an intranet where each employee would have their own calendar accessible from their work control panel, and from which they could also see the schedule of their co-workers, manager or supervisor on the same page as well. This could not only boost productivity, but it could also help into time management and organizing meetings.
As you can see, Google Calendar has a lot of promise thus far. Since it is still in Beta mode, there are certainly more features to be added over time. One drawback that I have noticed is that you cannot mark an event as completed. You can technically do so within the event details, but it will not show as completed on the main calendar page. This is a feature that many people have asked about and one that I find very useful, since I like to see the history of what I have done without having to delete anything. I am certain that it will be added soon. Otherwise, I highly recommend this calendar. It’s super easy to use and adding events is literally one click away. For those that are worried about privacy concerns, make sure that you always set your events as private, and you won’t have to worry about other people finding them. Best of all, the calendar is totally free, and does not show Google Ads on it either 😉