How I Use Google Calendar to Plan My Schedule
Are you a paper planner kind of a person? I used to be a traditional paper planner gal, but with the pandemic changing all of our 2020 plans and me not using my 2020 planner, I decided to try a digital calendar. There are a number of digital calendars out there, but I went with Google Calendar because it's already tied to my gmail account.
The Benefits of Using a Digital Calendar vs. a Paper Planner:
Easy access. Instead of lugging around a heavy planner, you will always have your calendar with you on your phone. If someone wants to make plans with you while you're out, you can let them know yes or no right away.
Changing plans is easy. The biggest reason I changed from a paper planner to a digital one is because I got sick and tired of using white out to cover up plans that needed to be changed. With a digital calendar, you can change your plans with one click and it looks neat and tidy.
Reminders! I love that Google Cal can remind me of an event so that I don't forget about it. You can set a reminder to occur 10-30 minutes ahead of time or even hours ahead of time. You can also set recurring reminders for people's birthdays or things that you need to do once per week. I once forgot about an important event that I paid money to attend, and that probably wouldn't have happened if I was using a digital calendar.
You can share your calendar with someone. I personally don't use this feature, but I imagine this feature could be useful for a couple, family, or business partner.
How I use Google Calendar:
1. Create your Calendars (AKA "labels"). The first step is to decide how you want your calendar to be organized. I organize my calendar by creating sub-calendars (labels) that are each a different color. This will look different for everyone, but you can create your sub-calendars based on what you spend the most time on. An example of someone's sub-calendars could be: Work, Family Time, Gym, Appointments, and Vacation. You can create as many or as few sub-calendars as you want. Here's a look at what mine are:
2. Have themed days of the week to guide your schedule. This step is totally optional, but I personally like having themed days of the week so that I know what I should be working on during a particular day. Because I'm a photographer and I run this blog, my themed days look like this:
Monday: Photography Day -- work on anything photography related (editing, creating resources for clients, etc.)
Tuesday: Blogging Day -- work on The Intentional Gal
Wednesday: Photography Day (see Mon.)
Thursday: Blogging Day -- (see Tue.)
Friday: My Day -- this is my day off to do whatever I want
Saturday: Photo Session Day -- Saturdays are reserved for photographing weddings or photo sessions
Sunday: Open -- Sundays are spent catching up on things that didn't get done during the week or errands/housekeeping like grocery shopping and laundry
Your themed days should be specific to your life. My themed days probably won't work for you unless you happen to be a photographer and blogger, but here's an example of themed days that might work for someone working a 9-6 job:
Monday: Meal Prepping Day
Tuesday: Side Project Day
Wednesday: Happy Hour with Friends Day
Thursday: Self-Care Day
Friday: Family Fun Night
Saturday: Errand/Housekeeping Day
Sunday: Church/Spiritual Practice Day
3. Plan your week by plugging in your events. Choose one day per week (I choose Sunday) to plan out your upcoming week with all of the things you have to do. This usually takes me about 20 minutes, but it's worth the time to know exactly what I'll be doing the next week and it helps me get more done and it keeps me accountable. I use my sub-calendars to create time blocks where I should be working on certain things. Then, I use my sub-calendar "Task List" to input specific tasks I need to get done within these time blocks, which you can see in my calendar below on the 20th under Blogging. Here's an example of what a typical week looks like for me:
How Using a Digital Calendar will Change Your Life:
There ya have it my friends, those are the exact steps I use to plan my schedule using a digital calendar. You may be thinking, "Planning out my entire week ahead of time seems a little excessive," but you probably wouldn't be reading this post if you already felt like you had a system for planning your schedule down. By planning out your week ahead of time, I guarantee that you will get way more done. Instead of wondering what you should be doing and deciding to watch Netflix in your spare time, you'll actually accomplish more of your goals. Don't get me wrong, I love Netflix and other relaxing activities, but they're so much more enjoyable when you plan them, instead of mindlessly sitting in front of a tv because you don't know what else to do. If you decide to give a digital calendar a shot, let me know! I'd love to hear your experience.