This post is part of 23 Things for Professional Development.
I honestly don’t know what I’d do without Google Calendar. I use it for everything: I’m terrible at remembering appointments etc, but I always manage to lose paper diaries or leave them at work when I need them at home, or vice versa, so an online diary is perfect for me. I can access it from anywhere – and although I’ve worked in some places with very restrictive IT policies, I’ve never known access to Google Calendar to be blocked. It also automatically syncs with my Android phone, so I’ve always got it on me.
At present, I have five calendars set up on my Google account:
Main – the default calendar set up under my Gmail address. All my personal appointments, reminders etc go in here. It’s shared with my partner (who also uses Google Calendar, and also shares his calendar with me) so we can see at a glance if either of us has anything on.
Household – another one for personal use – my partner and I both have edit access to this one, so we can add anything we both need to be aware of.
Work – I export my work Outlook calendar to Google once a month. I do it this way rather than using Google Sync for a couple of reasons. First, I don’t want my work appointments in my main calendar because they clutter it up too much. Having them in a separate calendar means I can turn my work calendar off when I don’t want to see it – I don’t like getting reminded of work stuff when I’m on me-time! – and as this calendar is not shared with my partner, he doesn’t have to see all my work stuff either. Second, I don’t want every single appointment from my work calendar in Google. I only really need to see work stuff because we work to a rota which means that some days I have to be in earlier or later than others. Exporting manually means that once a month, after the rota is updated, I can just export my work calendar to a CSV file, open it in Excel and delete all the appointments and reminders I don’t want in my calendar, and stick whatever is left into Google.
Conferences – I use this to record individual sessions etc I’m going to at conferences. As with my work calendar, this is mainly to stop my main calendar getting too cluttered! It also allows me to turn off all my other calendars and just see this one while I’m at the conference, so I’m not getting distracted by anything else. I only started doing this recently, for SLA and Umbrella – I got the idea from Librarian by Day.
SLA Europe blog schedule – I’m blog editor for SLA Europe, and I use this calendar to schedule upcoming posts, and check with the podcast editor whether we’ve got any scheduling clashes. Or that’s the theory anyway – in practice I think I’m the only one who actually uses it! I do find it useful, anyway – it helps me to see where we’ve got big gaps between posts, and where we’ve got a lot coming up that could be spread out to cover some of the gaps. This calendar was actually set up by Bethan, along with a few others for the SLA Europe board, and as she mentions in her post it’s the only one still being used. I think that’s a shame really, as if they were used properly I think they could be really useful for us.
I’ve also subscribed to the CPD23 calendar, so I can see the upcoming Things and start thinking ahead. Not that I’ve actually been doing that, clearly, as I’m a week or so behind!
That’s about the extend of my Google Calendar use. It’s mainly a personal thing for me, rather than a work thing, and I don’t really see that changing – we use Outlook at work, and everyone’s calendars are shared by default so it’s easy to see when others are free and schedule appointments etc without having to use something like Google Calendar. It’s been interesting for me to see the way libraries are using Google Calendar for their opening hours, events and so on – but working in a corporate library sadly that kind of fun stuff doesn’t have much relevance in my workplace!