Friday, April 29, 2011

Using Google Calendar to Stay Organized

blog6Right now I’m using two tools to keep my calendar organized. I really had to do something new because I suddenly had a ton of stuff going on—book club meetings, a library talk, guests on my blog, my guest posts on others’ blogs…plus the usual dental appointments, the children’s events, family/friend birthdays, etc. I was waking up at night worrying that something was going to fall through the cracks.

What’s really working for me right now is using 2 different methods—the old-fashioned wall calendar method plus Google Calendar.

The reason Google Calendar is working so well for me is because I have a smart phone that syncs to that calendar. So I have the calendar with me at all times. I have to admit that it’s really nice. When someone asks me if I’m free to do something on a particular day, I don’t have to say, “Can I check my calendar and call you back?” It’s just so nice to open the calendar on my phone and check the date and save myself a phone call (I’m no fan of talking on the phone anyway.)

Another really, really nice thing about using Google Calendar (particularly if you can sync it to your phone) is that I can copy/paste from different emails right into the calendar.

For example, say I’ve got an email for an event of some kind (writing-related or personal). The email might list things that to bring with me to the event, might give directions to the venue, might have the time the event starts and stops. I just select all, copy, and paste it to the corresponding date on the Google Calendar. Then I’ve got it right there, easily accessible on both my laptop and my phone.

Or it might be an interview request. Lately I had a couple of different blog interviews. The questions were in the body of the email. I pasted the email into the date on my calendar that I needed to turn it in…and set reminders for earlier. Several times when I was out and I had dead time waiting for something, I took out my phone, read the questions, and jotted down answers to email later on my always-handy notebook.

You can also share your calendar out with someone else. Not that that other person might read the calendar like intended. :) But it is nice to know that, if somehow I went missing (I’m a murder mystery writer, so these thoughts are always in the back of my head), that my calendar could be accessed to see where I was supposed to be.

My wall calendar is really needed, too—it’s best for spotting potential conflicts on the calendar. Sometimes I just have to see it all laid out on paper. My wall calendar is posted on my garage door where I have to see it when I go in and out of the house.

What are you using to stay organized? Do you use Google Calendar or something else?