Using Google Calendar as a time management tool

I generally have about five projects on the go at any one time. Keeping track of their due dates is easy enough. I just create them as appointments in my calendar. However, it’s not so easy to plan out how I should be spending my time to reach these deadlines.

To address this issue, I tried several different systems to plan out my time. I tried gannt charts – such as Gantto  – and to-do lists – such as Trello. The gantt charts were too complex to build and update. Trello, although a lovely tool to work with, didn’t help me work out how I should be scheduling my time to meet my deadlines.

Enter Google Calendar

In the end, the tool that worked best for me was Google Calendar. To meet my needs, I created a second calendar called “Resource Scheduling”. On this second calendar, I created daily appointments to indicate what I planned to do on that day. For example, if I planned to spend a day writing blog posts or preparing for One-on-One Training, I would create a daily appointment for that task.

You can see the results below. My deadlines and appointments are in blue, while my schedule is in pink.

Time Management

Using Google Calendar as a time management tool

The things I like most about this system are:

  • I can plan out my whole month – including rest days
  • I can easily see if I have enough time for a new project by checking how much of the calendar is not yet blocked out.
  • Because I create the schedule on a second calendar rather than on my real calendar, my scheduling “appointments” don’t get confused with my real appointments
  • The system is very flexible. If I need to change my schedule because circumstances change, I can simply drag the affected scheduled items to new days
  • Finally, it’s free – which is always good.

For a person who needs to manage his own time to meet multiple deadlines, I found a second google calendar to be a great solution.

Oh – and you can use these technique on any program that supports multiple calendars – including Microsoft Outlook.

What about you? How do you manage your time?

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