Scheduling to Reduce Stress Part 2: Google Calendar Edition
As promised, here is part 2 in the scheduling series. This time we will be focusing on the features of Google Calendar to schedule, plan, create and keep track of tasks.
Calculating Hours and Setting up Google Calendar
As in the last article, I recommend starting with a list of your classes and calculated estimated weekly hours needed to maintain academic success. A typical schedule may look like this:
The next step involved is also the same as before with a few extra steps that will save you time in the long run. Create a schedule in Google Calendar on an hour by hour basis starting first with weekly events (such as classes, meals, meetings, etc.) that are consistent from week to week. Set each weekly item to repeat by clicking on “edit event” in the event creation pop up box. Below the time and date you’ll see a checkbox to repeat the event. Once you check the box, you’ll see a pop up that allows you to select different options:
I recommend setting the repeats to automatically end on the last day of classes. This is an important step because when you set up notifications later on, you won’t be left with notifications over the summer that you get used to ignoring.
Once you’ve finished building the schedule, it should look something like this:
Calendar Notifications and How to Use Them
Google calendar has a multitude of notification options and I suggest trying out different ones to see what works for you. There are options for SMS notifications, traditional phone notifications and a daily agenda. The daily agenda is a rarely used and well hidden feature that I highly recommend. The daily agenda is an email agenda sent automatically every morning at 5am to your Gmail account that gives you an hour by hour schedule to follow for the day. You can turn on the daily agenda by clicking the small gear icon at the top right of the screen under your Google avatar then select the following: settings> calendars. Then find your main calendar and on the same row select “edit notifications.” On the next screen you’ll see many options to add notifications but scroll to the bottom to find the “daily agenda” and click the checkbox to activate it. The other options are available for both hourly events and all-day events with distinct options for both including email, SMS and notifications (via phone or browser).
Using Google Tasks with Google Calendar
If you’re using Google Calendar for your scheduling, I highly recommend using the integrated Google Tasks function along with the calendar. It is somewhat limited in that tasks are only available on the desktop version and not the app, but the seamless integration is worth the minor inconvenience. By default, Google Calendar integrates “reminders” in place of tasks. To use tasks to you have to click the small triangle next to the reminders option and choose “switch to tasks” as seen in the screenshot above. Once you switch to tasks you can now add a task either by adding an item to the task list on the left-hand side or to a specific day. To add a task to a specific day, click on the day the same way you would to add an event and you’ll see an option to switch from event to task in the create an event popup widget.
Once you add tasks they will show up on the task list, and on the calendar day if they are added to specific date.
Staff Writer: Randall Perez
Tech Tuesday: Google Calendar
Ah, yes…school is starting, clubs are up and running, you’re making friends so party invites are blasting in, oh…but don’t forget, that group project is due, papers are piling up, and how did the time fly by, it’s midterms next week?! To stay on top of your schedule, it’s best to have some form of organizing your time and commitments. One way to do that is by using the free, online Google Calendar app. Since it is cloud based technology, you’re able to access and edit your calendar from any device with internet. If you already have Apple’s iCal, it can easily sync. Here are some other ways in which Google Calendar can help you be a master of time management:
1) When inputting an event, type in “#todo” and it automatically will create a To-Do list for you. When you’ve completed your task, mark the item with a big “X” in the brackets.
2) Color code your schedules to use in the all-in-one master calendar. For example: blue events could be for school, purple for personal events, red for work etc. Google Calendar also includes national holidays.
3) Share your calendar with others. Why you ask? Check out this extremely realistic scenario: you’re trying to get a project done with a group of people in your class, do you just get everyone’s email/number and text back and forth until a possible date comes up for when you’re all available? Boring! Let Google Calendar do all the heavy lifting for you so you can get more time sleeping. With Google Calendar you can share your calendar online, and then use the “Find a Time” or “Suggested Time” feature within the app and voila! Possible group meeting times will magically appear before you! Also, you can input the location on the event so everyone knows where to go.
4) This app is synced with your Gmail already so you don’t need to sign up for anything new. If you don’t always want to use this on your laptop, you also download the app onto your phone and it’ll automatically sync.
5) Email events to guests. So you’ve already set up a time and place but don’t want the other folks to forget. With Google Calendar, you can send your guests an online invite to the event (ex: study time, group work, dinner) and when they accept, it automatically gets put into their calendar as well. Seriously, everybody wins.
6) Set up when and how you get reminded for big projects, due dates, or events. If you’re the type of person that needs an official reminder, you can customize your reminders to be emailed to you. On the other hand, if you just need gentle reminders, set it up for “pop-up” notifications.
7) Lastly, the graphics are cute (for a calendar)! For instance, when putting in an event for “movies with the homies,” the background in that time slot area will have a giant bag of popcorn. Not only is that adorable, but a quick visual reminder saves time when you’re glancing at your calendar.
Staff Writer: Victoria Rodriguez