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Google Calendar

Posted on 18 April 2012

I just went through the process of interviewing candidates for the station manager job at CFUR Radio. It was a pretty extensive question line touching on lots of different areas, and we got a diversity of answers on most questions. But there was one question that had an identical answer every time.

When asked how they organize multiple projects with multiple deadlines and plan each day every person answered: Google Calendar. On their computer, and more importantly on their phone.

The funny thing is, the process they then described is the exact same one I have. You have  meeting or a deadline, you add it to your calendar. You then sync it to your phone, so you’ll get an alert on there. And, if necessary, set it up so you get an email sent to you in advance.

Google Calendar has been a boon to me. I use it for my personal life as well as my professional. I don’t think my set up is particularly unique, but I figured I’d share it anyways.

I have three main calendars.

  1. Schedule – pretty straightforward. Where I am, where I have to be, from work meetings to board meetings to concerts, parties, or dodgeball games I want to be at. I get this emailed to me as an agenda every morning. For irregular meetings, I get a ten-minute text message warning.
  2. Birthdays, Anniversaries, Holidays – again, straightforward. National holidays, personal contact birthdays, and the like. I get week-long advance notice in the form of an email and text message on these.
  3. Tickler Calendar – this is a fully professional one. One of the key elements of a current events show (like the one I work for) is timing. If I find out that an interesting conference is happening three months from now, I want to do a story on it in three months, not today. Today it’s too far away to warrant a full slot. But today’s the day I know about it, and there’s a good chance I’ll forget it in three months. If I put in on a piece of paper, I’ll forget about it. But if I put it on my tickler calendar, when I glance at my week on Monday, I’ll see what’s coming up. I’ll usually paste all the details about the event, including interview subjects, in the “notes” section, so I have everything set up and ready to go.

For recurring events, like paying bills, or non-scheduled tasks (like write up a draft budget) I tend to use Remember the Milk as a “to-do” list. But I use its Google Calendar apps, so it’s on there, as well. All in all, it’s a huge boon to me in terms of organizing my life, and from the sounds of things, I’m not alone.

I’m interested if you have any tricks or calendars you find particularly useful, as well.

Filed under: personal

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