I was a paper planner user AND Google Calendar user all through college. I intended for each to serve a different purpose. Still, I found myself reaching for my paper planner more. Why? Google Calendar stressed me out. I couldn’t find a way to use it in a way that really helped me. I’d clear notification after notification without giving myself a chance to understand how I could tweak things that would actually help me.
I’ve learned a few tricks since then. To this day, I still use both, but Google Calendar is now a tool that serves me. It helps me organize my schedule in a way I can task batch, create boundaries, and plan for the things that matter. Before you start your first job, here are a few Google Calendar tips you can use to make it work for you:
Tip 1: Create custom colors.
The first thing I recommend doing is change! out! colors! Google automatically uses default colors that are loud and overwhelming. Find colors you like, so you actually enjoy looking at your calendar. I personally chose colors that make me happy and excited, but you can easily choose other colors depending on your mood.
Tip 2: Separate tasks into their own calendar labels.
When I used Google Calendar in college, I threw every important task and event into one calendar. You can easily do that, but I now prefer and recommend tasks in their own calendar labels.
That way, 1) tasks color-code themselves automatically, 2) you can easily categorize different tasks for batching, and 3) you can share calendars with someone else without them seeing your whole schedule or inviting them to individual events every time.
Tip 3: Make a calendar for self-care.
I could work myself to my grave. There are many days I could power through and easily skip lunch or a much-needed break, but I really try not to. Why? Self-care is so important…even during the workday. The purpose of setting up a great calendar is so you can work efficiently AND manage your energy levels by taking much-needed breaks.
Block out time for lunch. Midday walks. Dinner. Your body will thank you so much for taking care of it!
Tip 4: Set notifications for extra important things a few days early.
When there are extra important events like deadlines, important meetings, and birthdays, I set a task reminder to alert me a few days before. This gives me the opportunity to mentally prepare myself or make sure a birthday letter gets in the mailbox. Both are important. They deserve a little extra time before they happen.
Tip 5: Sync only what you need on your phone.
If I’m on my laptop, it’s for work. When the laptop is closed, work is done. My phone stays closer to me more frequently than my laptop, so it rarely notifies me of anything work-related.
You might deem this a luxury, but I’ve considered it a boundary for self-care. I work hard during the day, so I can reclaim my time in the evening. I deserve to set boundaries with my work. I deserve to honor myself, my relationships, and my interests by not being a slave to my notifications.
I turn off any calendar notifications that don’t have anything to do with work on my phone. That works for me because it’s the boundary I need for myself. Find a way to make it work for you!
Do you regularly use an online calendar? Which one of these Google Calendar tips are you going to try next time? Be sure to follow along on Pinterest for other helpful first job tips.
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