How To Become A Google Calendar Power User


So this is going to sound like the opposite of efficiency but I have seven calendars in my Google Calendar and as far as I'm concerned, the more the merrier. How can this possibly be efficient you say? Each calendar is related to a very specific aspect of my life. I have my main calendar and then I have several others that usually only have a few events in them but are exteremly useful nonetheless.

To create a new calendar of your own, just follow these steps:

  1. Click the drop-down arrow to the right of My calendars
  2. Select Create new calendar
  3. Enter information about your new calendar
  4. Click the Create calendar button

To add a calendar from somewhere else using its address, follow these steps:

  1. Click the down-arrow next to Other calendars
  2. Select Add by URL from the menu
  3. Find the address of the Google Calendar in iCalendar format, or if you have the iCalendar address of a calendar from a different application (for example, Apple's iCal), you can use this as well.
  4. Enter the address in the field provided
  5. Click the Add Calendar button. The calendar will appear in the Other Calendars section of the calendar list to the left.

Seven Calendars!?!?

Main Calendar: Self explanatory, this is the calendar where I schedule appointments, add social events, and pretty much plan my life.

Family Calendar: I created this calendar and then shared it with my wife. That way she can add appointments to my calendar without having to see my entire schedule. Anything that we would do together like a doctors appointment, brunch with friends, or workout goes in the shared calendar. We never have mixups anymore.

Engagements: Whenever I do a speaking engagement or class it goes in the engagement calendar which I can share with former students. I've also used Google Calendars built in widgets to add this calendar to my homepage so anyone who visits can see when my next event is. The nicest thing about this is that I can add an event from my iPhone and it's instantly updated on my website.

Facebook: People send out so many invites on Facebook that it's hard to keep track and wade through the haystack to find events you really want. By subscribing to your events feed you'll see them on the correct day and time in your calendar so when you look at what's going on during the week, you have some context to decide what you want to do. I've posted about before as the most valuable productivty tool in my arsenal. It basically automated the email followup process. This calendar shows all of your scheduled followups and has become my defacto to-do list.

Kayak: This one is just elegance in it's highest form. Kayak is a travel search engine but they have a service called You simply forward any booking receipt for a plane, train, hotel, car, dinner, massage, or any other reservation related to travel. Kayak will be it all into a chronological itinerary and insert it into your calendar at the correct time.

Misc Calendars: I'll count this as one because they are all options in Google Calendar but I have added in US Holidays as well as the schedules or some sports leagues. Never miss important dates or plan things when you shouldn't. Also avoid wearing white after labor day...or memorial day, I can never remember. I even use FollowShows to add my upcoming tv shows to my calendar.

I'd love to add more if I can find useful ones. Since all the calendars other than my main one have relatively few events there's really no harm in it and a lot to be gained. I have to point out that I only see ALL calendars when I'm at my computer, when I'm mobile I cut out a couple. You can choose this by going to Google Mobile Sync  and choosing which ones you want on which devices.

Built in Tweaks

There are some good options to check out in calendar settings. You can have the daily weather at the top of each day so if you plan lots of outdoor events you won't be caught off guard. Also, there is a new labs feature that lets you hide commonly unused hours like 10PM to 7AM in order to streamline your view a bit.

Tungle Me

Take it's a calendar app...Tungle provides you with a public interface to your private schedule. People can visit the page and request meetings with you. They don't have to register and you can set the parameters of how long the meeting can be, how many options they must give you, and what they see as your chosen workweek. Once you confirm a time, the meeting and all details are automatically put in your calendar and the other person gets a calendar invite. It's the simple, you can even offer suggested locations for the meeting on your Tungle page.