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How to Use Google Calendar

So, when people look at my Google Calendar, they usually say Wow, how are you not overwhelmed? Well, the truth is  – it’s my Google Calendar that stops me from being overwhelmed.  Everything is SO organized, and I know exactly what I need to do to stay on top of my goals.

Well, today’s post is a mini-tutorial on how I use Google Calendar. Now, I’m sure there are much more complex ways to use it, but I basically use the event feature, sync it to mobile, and sync it to Trello using Zapier.  If that sounds like all greek to you, don’t worry!

Watch the video tutorial below to find out how I do it, and read more about it below that. Don’t like video? Skip straight ahead to the 4 steps I use.

Video: How To Use Google Calendar to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed

Well, here’s the short video of my Google Calendar!


 

Step 1.  “If It’s Not In Your Calendar, It Doesn’t Exist”

Now, that’s a quote from one of my Blogger Heroes.  What’s a Blogger Hero, you ask? That’s a term I coined to group together my online business role models.  Ramit Sethi is an incredibly successful online businessperson, author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich.  When I saw Ramit’s email this week, I LAUGHED out loud.  He does his Google Calendar exactly the same way I do!  So, I can tell you that successful people do it like this.

  • Put everything in your calendar.  Yes, everything!
  • “If it’s not in your calendar, it doesn’t exist” – Ramit Sethi’s words are SO true for me.
  • Do I put “sleep” in my calendar? Well, not exactly, but I start setting a 7 hour sleep deadline way back in January, so that pretty much determines the last event on my Calendar.  Sleeping enough is SUCH a challenge for me, but I’m doing it!

Step 2:   Use Colours

So, the best way to explain how I use colours is to show you!  Now, this past week hasn’t been as busy as normal due to the extended Easter break at the university, and a few of my tutoring students who have decided to resume classes in September  (usually almost all the slots are full, but I had two half days off this week!). However, it gives a good overview of my usual calendar set-up.

  • Gym sessions are in Light Red, because I can’t move those if I want to reach my new fitness goals
  • Urgent task items are in Dark Red – As you can see, I had a lot of urgent PhD work this week!
  • Recurring tutoring events are in Teal and are set-up as weekly occurences until the end of the school year
  • Recurring appointments such as cleaning services are in Dark Green
  • Important meetings, check-ups, and appointments are in Bright Yellow
  • Time with friends is Light Purple
  • Regular events and tasks that are a bit more flexible are in Light Blue
  • White spaces are time off –  Usually, I fill these during the week by adding more Light Blue Items! It is important to have some white spaces though. Without breaks, you become overworked and definitely can’t be as productive!
  • What about the grey, you ask? Well those are task items synced with Trello.  Read on to find out more!

 

Google Calendar setup

Step 3:   Make Tasks with Deadlines

So, how do you record your tasks? Are you a paper and pen kind of person, do you doodle on a whiteboard, or are you a digital geek like me?  In fact, I do all three – but the scribbling of notes is simply if a moment of inspiration hits me, and the whiteboard is to visualize the future of my business.  Actually, all of my tasks make it to Google Calendar in the end.

So, I don’t actually like the way that Google Calendar handles tasks.   Yes, I know, this is a post on how much I love Google Calendar…BUT, I prefer to use the Events feature in Google Calendar and keep it simple. When you add a task (as you’ll see if you watch the video), it appears as an all day event. Now, I don’t know about you, but I prefer to keep my tasks to a specific time!

Well, how do you do that? Simple.  I use Trello . Trello is a FREE, easy to use drag-and-drop interface that works based on “Boards” (groups of lists) and “Lists”.  You can create tasks, add checklists, drag and drop cards on your Board from lists such as “To Do”, “Doing”, “Next” and “Soon”.   At the moment, I only use Trello for my blog activities, but of course, you can use it for anything!

Trello Boards for Calendar

Step 4:   Sync with Zapier

Now, hang on a minute, you say.  I want to see my tasks in my calendar!    Well, that’s not a problem if you use Zapier Honestly, I’d been hearing about it for a long time, and finally made my first “zap” yesterday – and WOW. It’s quite cool!  Once I’ve worked with it a bit more, I’ll make a tutorial on that, too.

Basically, Zapier CONNECTS applications for you. So, you don’t waste any time, and everything syncs. How great is that?  Now, when I add a new card to my Trello board, or move one from long term planning on to my “Next” or “Doing” boards, it’ll get added to my Google Calendar automatically, in grey.  (You can pick whichever colour you want, of course!).

For the teacherpreneurs out there, Zapier has a TON of applications you can connect, such as Teachable course software, Convertkit (my awesome email marketing service), Google Drive, Slack, and more. It only takes a minute to set up each “zap”, and on the free plan you can do quite a few basic (two step) zaps. Of course, the more cool and complex zaps are on (quite an expensive) monthly plan, but for now I’m good with the free one!

Well, I hope this has shed a little bit of light on how I keep myself super organized.

What’s your favourite organizational tool?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! (Really, I get super excited when someone comments on my blog 😉 – Geek Alert!

Happy Teaching!

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P.S. Photo fans, today’s main photo is simply one of my ASUS Zenbook laptop, which I love (and a screenshot of Google Calendar, of course!)


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