Here at Artifakt, we use Google Calendar a lot; it’s the main tool we use for booking meetings, booking resources, scheduling time off, and more. Recently, I was looking into ways that we can make Google Calendar even more useful for our team, and I found a lot of ways to improve it as part of our workflow.
If you use Google Calendar as much as we do, and you use G Suite, here are 5 tricks that will help you make it even more useful for you and your team:
1. Get a Daily Agenda: Google Calendar has a pretty awesome feature that can send you a daily digest, the next day at 5am, of all of your events for the day. Going a little further, if you have multiple calendars, you can get a daily digest of some or all of those calendars. For example, we have a main calendar for our team, and then each team member has their own calendar. So, I set up a daily digest email to include events for our main team calendar, my own calendar, and each of our team leads, which helps me know what everyone is up to.
Set It Up: To set this up, click the gear icon on the top right corner, click ‘Settings’, click ‘Calendars’, and then click ‘Edit Notifications’ next to whichever calendar you want to set it up for. If you check of the ‘Daily Agenda’ checkbox, then you’ll get a daily digest email for that calendar. You can then choose that for each calendar you want to receive it for, and then starting the next day at 5am, you’ll get a single daily digest email showing all of the events for the calendars you turned the notification on for.
2. Enable Shorter Meetings: By default, Google Calendar schedules meetings to be 1 hour long, but you can change that setting so that any meetings that are created default to 15 or 30 minutes. Google Calendar also has an option to enable what it calls: Speedy Meetings, which encourages 30 minute meetings to end 5 minutes early, and 1 hour meetings to end 10 minutes early.
Set It Up: To set this up, click the gear icon on the top right corner, and then click ‘Settings’. From the settings page, you’ll see a section called: ‘Default event duration’. From the drop down, you can choose the default time for new meetings, and check of the speedy meeting option.
3. Create a Group Calendar: To make it easier to work together, you can setup a group calendar. Group calendars allow you to create a shared calendar for a number of people, like your Development Team or your Content Team. Once you add your people to a group calendar, they can all see and edit it.
Set It Up: To set this up, click the gear icon on the top right corner, click ‘Settings’, click ‘Calendars’, and then click the ‘Create New Calendar’ button. Name the calendar whatever you want, and then in the ‘Share with specific people’ section, add the email addresses of whoever you want to be part of the group, and assign their permissions.
4. Find the Perfect Meeting Time: If you have multiple people on your Google Apps account using Google Calendar, then it’s easy to find a meeting time that works for everyone. You don’t need to email everyone to try to find out what they’re availability is like. This is pretty useful if you don’t subscribe to everyone’s calendar to see their schedule.
Set It Up: To set this up, go to your calendar, and create a new event. Then, add all of the people you want to have at the meeting, and click the ‘Find a Time’ tab. When you choose the time in the calendar, solid colours mean everyone is available, and lined colours mean that someone is not available.
5. Setup a Meeting Room to Book: If you want to avoid double booking of rooms, then you can create the room as a resource that can be booked when you setup a new an event.
Set It Up: To set this up, sign into your G Suite account, and then select: Apps > G Suite > Calendar. Then, click the ‘Resources’ link. From their click ‘Create a new resource’, and enter the resource’s name (this is what will appear when you book it), the type of resource it is, and the description. Once you’ve created the resource, then the next time you create an event, you’ll see the resource next to where you add the guests. The resource you create will also have it’s own calendar to show availability, so you’ll need to share that calendar with your team if you want them to be able to see it and book it. This feature doesn’t stop at meeting rooms though; you can also create resources for anything else that might need to be booked, like a projector, laptop, etc.