What program should you use though? While picking the right calendar boils down to personal preference and comfort, Google Calendar (GCal for short) should be strongly considered. Features such as Quick Add made it very easy to update with appointments, while its reminder features, its task bar, and its calendar shareability make unique to any other product on the market.
Here are some key pieces of advice to organizing with a Google Calendar:
1. Take time to learn the interface: This is the first thing you should do. Google Calendar’s help section will take you step by step on how to get started. Just play with it.
2. Use Quick Add: GCal is very smart. It can parse natural language to add events. Instead of finding a specific day and time and then adding an event, just click “quick add” and type something like “Meeting with the President on Tuesday at 6:00pm at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue” and GCal will automatically add it with the right time
3. Turn on notifications: A calendar is useless if you don’t check it. However, you can make it easier to check by having GCal send you emails, texts, and pop-ups to remind you of events. First, set up your mobile phone with GCal in Settings. Then go to your calendar and set up notifications to occur for any item you add. I have it set to send me an email 90 minutes before an event and an SMS message a half hour before. You won’t miss meetings with notifications.
4. Color-code with multiple calendars: You can have more than one calendar within your GCal. Use this feature especially if you're going to share work calendars or want to separate your personal from your work. Change their colors for easy scanning.
5. Share calendars with your team: You can add other people to calendars you create, allowing them to add items. Use this to have a collaborative work calendar for your team.
6. The Tasks gadget is your best friend: Have some to-dos to accomplish, but no time frame for them? Use the tasks widget to add it for easy to-do management.
7. Use it with your Gmail: Did you know that if there’s a time and location in any Gmail email, it can be added to Google Calendar? The option appears on the right sidebar. Absolutely use it whenever you can.
8. Sync with your phone: Most phones can sync with Google Calendar, including BlackBerries and iPhones. Learn more at Google’s sync help center.
9. Use keyboard shortcuts: When you’re ready to become a GCal master, learn the keyboard shortcuts to make cycling through your GCal as efficient as possible
There are plenty more ways to use Google Calendar, but I leave it up to you to discover the rest by playing around with it and customizing it for your own needs.