by Zara Mohammed, Lifestyle Columnist
Published in Lifestyle on 1st August, 2018
Do you ever feel like there is just not enough time in the day to do all of the things you want to do? Well there might be more time in your day than you think! Here are 11 great reasons you should start using Google Calendar to organise your time better and live a more efficient life.
Everybody loves the simplicity of a traditional desk diary for work, a wall calendar for family life, or a pocket diary for on the go planning. These are all time-tested methods of keeping track of appointments, events and deadlines, but are they the best methods of planning a busy everyday schedule that may be subject to changes and alterations?
When you use an online calendar tool like Google Calendar, nothing is set in stone like it is when you write your appointments down in a physical diary. With Google Calendar you can edit information and move events around into different blocks of time so that you don't have to worry about any changes in your plans. Being able to move your events to different time blocks means that you can rearrange things and make the most of your time.
Tip: An "Event" in Google Calendar is any activity that lasts for a block of time. For example, you might label an event "Work" as a block of 8 hours on five days of your week. This shows you that during these blocks of time you are not free to be anywhere else or do other things. You can also add new events into existing events in order to split the block of time up. For example if you are at work for 8 hours, you can make use of the one hour time block dedicated to your lunch break and set it as a new event t encourage you to think of that block of time as being more useful to you, and not just part of your "work" block.
You can create different calendars to organise and keep track of the separate areas of your life, for example work-life, home-life, and personal projects or big events that you are planning over a period of time like a party.
Not only can you view each of these calendars separately when you only want to focus on one thing without the distraction of seeing everything else happening in your life alongside it (I like to call it mono-viewing), but you can also enjoy the combined view to see how everything fits together to make up the bigger picture of your life.
A great feature in Google Calendar is that you can colour code each calendar so that in your combined view you can easily see which blocks of time are dedicated to the different areas of your life.
This might be useful if you are interested to see how balanced your life is, because you can see which colour is taking over!
Tip: I like to include an event for "Sleep" so that I can visualise the dead time because that time block is colour coded. I know that nothing else is getting done during the shaded section of the night while I am asleep.
With traditional diaries you have to choose your preferred layout when you purchase your diary for the year (daily, weekly or monthly). If your chosen diary offers different sections in it so that you can also have an overview of each month or the year as well as your general weekly view, you have to duplicate all of the information in order to keep the different sections updated.
Google Calendar organises all your information for you automatically, so that you can change your view when it suits you, and you don't have to faff about wasting time copying information from section to section.
Tip: You also have the option of viewing an agenda, so that you can see all of the upcoming events and tasks in your day.
One of the best things about using online tools and apps is that you can sync them with all of your devices. This means that you don't have to worry about whether you are at home, at work or on the go - Your schedule stays with you, and updated, ready for when you need it.
You don't have to worry about losing your diary and all of your important dates either. And if you do forget or lose your phone, but you still need to see your schedule, you can easily log into your Google account using a friend's phone or laptop, or even use an Internet cafe. Just remember to log out when you have finished.
You can share the calendars you choose with other people who use Google Calendar, and they can share theirs with you. This means that everybody can stay on the same page.
You can choose to keep certain calendars private and share relevant ones with your family, your work colleagues, your friends or other groups of people.
It is common to feel like you never have any free time, but the reason for this is that your free time is divided up into such small windows of opportunity that they aren't really very useful to you. Instead they end up getting missed and therefore wasted.
Google Calendar is structured into blocks of time, so it is easy to visualise where your time is being spent, and where your free time is. Being able to see how your time is divided up can be a real eye opener. If you tally up how much free time you have throughout the day or week, you might be surprised at how many hours you are losing simply because you weren't aware that it existed. It may make you think about how your time is organised and whether you can shift a few things around in order to create more time that is useful to you.
The great thing about organising your time with Google Calendar is that you can analyse your schedule and move things around in order to bring your blocks of free time together and use it more productively.
Let's say that you are spending half an hour preparing dinner for the family each evening, but much of that time is spent waiting for rice or pasta to boil or chicken to roast. You probably don't see the potential of that free time here because in your mind you are spending that time "cooking". But what if you swapped things around a bit and prepared the food ahead of time, so that when it comes to making dinner you don't have to stand around waiting for things to boil? You could bring dinnertime forwards and add the time you have gained to whatever you have to do next. Taking some time to look at your time and move things around can really make a difference.
Managing your time like this means that you can design how you want your evenings to look. And you can do the same with your mornings too!
Tip: Have a think about the "dead-time" you spend travelling to and from work. If you drive, would it be more beneficial for you to think about taking the train instead, in order to free up the time you would normally spend driving, and use it more productively? If your shortest route to work means changing bus several times and having to walk in between stops you might be able to eliminate all of those disruptions in your journey. Even if it means extending your travelling time to and from work a little bit, you might be able to use your commute more productively if there are less bus changes and walking involved, and you could therefore save time doing something during your commute that you would otherwise have had to find time for elsewhere in your schedule.
Never worry about missing an important date again when you use Google Calendar. You can set yourself reminders and alarms so that you don't forget about things that you have scheduled way ahead in the future. This means that you don't have to keep checking your schedule throughout the day to see if you are missing anything, instead you can rely on your calendar to communicate with you. It's like having you very own PA!
If you run your own business you can create a calendar dedicated to your business and display it on your website so that other people can subscribe to it and keep updated on all of your latest updates.
You can add newly published blog posts and videos, upcoming events, appointment slots - design your calendar to work your way, for you and for your business.
The best thing about using Google Calendar to organise your time and live a more efficient life is that it really highlights how precious your time is, because you can see your time (and essentially your life), literally in front of you, all divided up into colourful sections.
Google Calendar allows you to design your life to look the way you want it to look. Move things around and increase your free time, remove things that are not working well for you, and learn how to be more productive. But more importantly, own your time, make more time for you, and enjoy your life to it's full potential.