24 Google Calendar hacks to boost your productivity in 2023
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Want to be more productive in 2023? Google Calendar is full of neat tricks and shortcuts to help you be more organized. But are you using all the features? Check out these 24 Google Calendar hacks to boost your productivity in 2023!
Google Calendar is one of the best productivity tools out there… But are you taking full advantage of all the features? If you are like most people, then probably not!
Learning how to use all of Google Calendar’s features can help you manage your time better, get more organized and become more productive.
To ensure that you get the most out of this nifty productivity tool, here are 24 Google Calendar hacks to boost your productivity in 2023…
1. Create a new event shortcut
Skip straight to ‘add new event’ with this nifty shortcut. (This trick saves you the time it takes to open Google Calendar and create events manually.)
- Open your browser
- Type cal.new in your browser search bar and press Enter
(See below for lots more Google Calendar shortcuts!)
2. Create a default reminder time
No need to manually add reminders each time you create a new event – you can create default reminders which will automatically be added to every new event you create.
- Head over to your Calendar Homepage
- Click the gear icon in the top right-hand corner and select Settings
- Go to Settings For My Calendars on the left-hand side and click on your calendar
- Scroll down to the Event Notifications and click on Add Notification
- Select the number of minutes / hours / days you require
- You can add multiple reminders too! I like to be reminded 10 minutes, 1 hour and 1 day before events.
Now every time you create an event those default reminders will be automatically added to your event!
3. Add a Secondary Time Zone
Do you often work with different time zones? Did you know you can set a secondary time zone in Google Calendar?
- Go to the General tab in Settings
- Select Time Zone and check Display Secondary Time Zone
- Choose your desired secondary time zone from the dropdown menu
- Optional: You can also add a label to each time zone
I am in the UK, but I often attend webinars and other virtual events in the USA so I have my primary time zone set to UK time and my secondary time zone to New York / Eastern Time.
4. Perform an advanced calendar search
Do you ever have an issue where you need to look at, change or edit an event… but you can’t quite remember when it’s happening? (Or when it happened if it’s an event in the past.)
If so, you can use the advanced filters in the Google Calendar Search Bar to find any event, past or future, in just a few seconds. You can filter by calendar, keywords, location and/or date.
- On the Calendar Homepage, click on the magnifying glass, located in the top right-hand corner, to bring up the search bar
- Click the drop-down arrow to display the advanced search filters
- Include any information you can remember
- Click on Search
PRO TIP: Always use keyword rich event titles so you can quickly find them later with this option!
5. Drag and drop events
Need to change the date or time of an event? No problem! You can simply drag and drop the calendar entry to the new date and time. No need to manually go into the event and change the details.
6. Drag to make an event longer or shorter
In a similar way, you can click on the bottom of an event, hold and drag down or up to make that event longer or shorter.
7. Create multiple calendars and colour-code them
If you are like most people, juggling the various different parts of your life can be challenging and putting everything on one calendar can become cluttered and confusing. The solution? Create different calendars for each part of your life and colour-code them.
For example, you could have one calendar for work, one calendar for your personal life and one calendar for your kids – each with a different colour assigned to the calendar so you can quickly and easily see at a glance what each event relates to.
You can quickly and easily turn each calendar on and off in the left-hand menu on desktop / hamburger menu in the top left in the mobile app.
8. Change your calendar view
Google gives you lots of options to change your calendar view in the top right-hand corner on desktop / in the hamburger menu at the top left in the mobile app.
You can choose from Day, Week, Month, Year and Schedule/Agenda. For instance, if you select the ‘Day’ view, you will only see what you have scheduled for that specific day — as opposed to seeing all the things you have planned for the following week or month.
You also have the option to hide/display weekends and set up a custom calendar view.
9. Set a custom calendar view
As well as having the default Day, Week, Month, Year and Schedule/Agenda view options, you can add a custom calendar view of between 2-7 days or 2-4 weeks.
- On the Calendar Homepage, click on the gear icon, located in the top right-hand corner and select Settings
- Go to General >> View Options in the settings menu
- Click the arrow in the dropdown menu to select what you would like your custom view to be
- Return to your Calendar Homepage and select the custom calendar view from the dropdown menu in the top right-hand corner
10. Agenda View
Agenda View (sometimes called Schedule View) gives you an overview of all the events and tasks you have coming up, as well as an indication of where you are at in the day.
To access the Agenda View, click on the dropdown menu in the top right-hand corner and select Agenda (or Schedule). You will see everything you have coming up as a simple list.
11. Receive a daily agenda email
Wouldn’t it be great to have your daily schedule emailed to you first thing every morning? Well, with Google Calendar, you can! Just turn on the Email For Daily Agenda feature and Google Calendar will automatically send you an email each morning with a list of events and appointments you have on that day
- Go to Settings and select Settings For My Calendars
- Select the calendar you wish to receive notifications from
- Under Other Notifications, select Email next to Daily Agenda
12. Change the starting day of the week
Do you prefer your week to start on a Sunday or a Monday? Whichever you prefer, you can select that option in your Google Calendar settings.
- Go to Settings >> General
- Select View Options
- Click on the dropdown box that says Start Week On and select which day of the week you would like your calendar to start on
13. Share your Google Calendar with others
In many situations it can be enormously useful for other people to be able to see your Google Calendar. For example, you may want to share your calendar with your assistant, your partner or even older kids.
Sharing your calendar means significant others are aware of what you are doing and when you are / are not available.
- Go to Settings and select Settings For My Calendars
- Select the calendar you wish to receive notifications from and add the email addresses of the people you want to share your calendar with
- Use the dropdown menu to adjust their permission settings
- Click Send
- The recipient will need to click the emailed link to add the calendar to their list
14. Download the Google Calendar App for your phone
Google Calendar is not just for your desktop computer! Make sure you download the Google Calendar App on your phone so you can easily check your calendar when you are out and about, and receive reminder notifications on your phone.
I recommend you use the Google Calendar App rather than your phone’s default calendar app as Google Calendar is so much more powerful and has so many more features than most other calendar apps.
Having your Google Calendar easily accessible when you are out and about means you can make appointments on the fly, rather than having to check your calendar when you get back in front of your computer and then email/text whoever you were making arrangements with to confirm details.
15. Get your significant other to use Google Calendar
One of my favourite hacks! Persuade your partner / significant other to use Google Calendar and make sure you share your calendars with each other. This means you can make arrangements any time without having to check what your partner is doing first!
16. Add tasks
Want to use Google Calendar for your to do list as well as your events/appointments? You can easily do that by using Tasks.
Add a task in the same way as you would add an event, but select Task rather than Event.
To show tasks on your calendar, toggle on tasks in the My Calendars section on the left-hand side or in the hamburger menu in the app. Once you have completed a task you can mark it as done by clicking on the task and clicking Mark Completed.
17. Add National Holidays in Google Calendar
Want to make sure you know when public holidays and other important national events are happening? You can easily add these by going to Other Calendars in the left-hand menu, clicking the + symbol and selecting Browse Calendars Of Interest.
Here you can select National Holidays, Religious Holidays – even sports and phases of the moon! You can also add a Birthdays Of Your Contacts calendar – so you never miss a birthday again!
18. Hide calendars and tasks
After adding several colour-coded calendars of your own, plus the calendars of your assistant/partner etc., plus your tasks, you may feel it’s all getting too cluttered and/or overwhelming. The good news is you can easily hide calendars, and their associated events so they do not distract you.
For example, if you have different calendars for your work and personal life, you could turn your work calendar off when you are not working and vice versa.
Simply toggle your various different calendars on and off in the left hand menu on desktop / hamburger menu in the top left on the app.
19. Learn keyboard shortcuts
Google Calendar has lots of nifty keyboard shortcuts to save you time and help you be even more productive!
When you are in your calendar, you can use the following shortcuts:
Create event – c
Quick add – q
Event details – e (You must first click on the event)
Delete event – Backspace or Delete (You must first click on the event)
Go to previous time period – p
Go to next time period – n
Go to today’s view – t
Day view – d
Week view – w
Month view – m
Custom view – x
Agenda view – a
Search – /
Print – ctrl + p or command + p
Settings – s
20. Add a specific meeting location
Did you know, you can add a location to events? If you have a meeting or event that’s taking place elsewhere you can add the specific location in the event editing screen.
Even better, when you get in your car to go to that meeting, you can simply tap on that event in the Google Calendar App on your phone, then tap on the location and it will link directly to your maps app, so you can get directions in just a couple of clicks. No more faffing around at the last minute trying to find an address buried in an old email or text message!
21. Add attachments
You can also add attachments to your Google Calendar events. For example, if you are going to a meeting, you could add the meeting agenda as an attachment to the meeting’s calendar entry. Or if you are going to a conference, you could add the timetable and list of seminars/speakers to the appropriate calendar entry.
Better still, you can attach documents to calendar entries on your desktop computer and be able to access them from the Google Calendar App on your phone!
This saves time printing off lots of documents before you go to an event and keeps everything all in one place and very easy to find!
To add an attachment, click on the paper clip within the description of the event. Then, add the appropriate file.
22. Set up recurring events
Do you have any events or tasks that happen more than once – for example at the same time every week or month? If so, set it up as a recurring event.
When you create the event the first time around, select the dropdown menu which says Doesn’t Repeat. This will bring up a selection of different options.
If you don’t see the option you need listed, you can select Custom and create your own custom schedule. I usually prefer to use Custom as it also lets me say when the recurring event ends – either a specific date in the future or after a certain number of occurrences.
Using this feature means you don’t have to keep adding the same information over and over again.
23. Restore deleted events
Have you ever accidentally deleted an event? The good news is you can quickly restore deleted events by clicking the gear icon and selecting Trash/Bin.
You can then browse your recently deleted events, click on the checkbox next to the one you want to restore and click on the arrow icon above the list. The deleted item will be placed right back on your calendar!
24. Use Google Calendar for everything!
Perhaps the best hack of all! Get in the habit of always using Google Calendar for everything: every event, meeting, appointment. The more you use it, the more useful it will be to you and the more it will help you be productive and organized. The rule is… if it’s not in the calendar, it’s not happening!
Over to you!
Did you learn any new hacks? What are you going to start doing differently as a result of reading this blog post? Or perhaps you know of a Google Calendar hack I haven’t mentioned? Either way, let me know in the comments below!
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Thanks for this, but I am looking for a different answer & haven’t found an answer anywhere. You seem very knowledgeable on Google Calendar issues, so here it goes:
Is there a hack to display all events, no matter how old, in a Google Calendar search, by default? I want to avoid having to play with the advanced search settings, each & every time I search.
Currently, when I search for some older events which I know for a fact exist, they are not being displayed in the results, unless I specify a date range in the advanced options. This is very annoying & a waste of time.
Are you talking about the Google Calendar App on your phone? I am afraid I don’t know of any hack that will display older events without also using advanced search. However, if you use the web browser version it shows older events. It doesn’t look as good on a phone but it’s quick to do. Certainly this method goes back 10+ years, probably longer but I’ve only been using Google Calendar for a little over ten years so I can’t test if it goes back further than that. Hope that helps! Eb 🙂