Welcome to Part III of You’re So Organized, my continuing series of how I use Google Calendars to digitally organize just about everything, and have a vulnerability sharing hangover afterward because my brain is so strange. (It’s lovely to know that I’m not alone with my goofy brain’s way of being goofy!)
In Part I, I gave an explanation of the basic tools in G:Cal, including new appointments, repeating appointments, and scheduling reminders in advance.
Today, I’m going to talk about sharing calendars and sharing calendar appointments to make managing common schedules a lot easier.
First, here’s how you share an appointment. It’s supremely easy. You’ll need the email address of the person with whom you’d like to share the appointment. It doesn’t have to be a Gmail address, though the Google integration makes it a very simple process if it is.
Create a new appointment! For this example, I’m going to schedule time with my husband to unpack boxes, because we moved two months ago, so of course we have many!
I know, three boxes? Such overachievers we are.
I would like this appointment to show up on my husband’s calendar. Over on the right, ahoy there, sharing! You can Add guests:
My husband’s email isn’t actually “the spouse” at Gmail, but I’m sure that’s probably someone’s email address.
This is something I often forget, but is important: you may want to give the folks you’re inviting the option to modify the event, so you’re not the only one who has the ability to make changes.
Unless, of course, you need to be in charge of all the scheduling. In this case, don’t give the guest any permissions and keep all the control for yourself.
We share a lot of appointments, including ones that repeat, which I covered in Part I. Some examples from my calendar:
- Both adults in our household need to know when the dogs need heartworm pills and anti-flea and anti-tick medicine, so we both have that appointment.
- We have a monthly finance meeting, and we know not to schedule anything at that time.
- I’m doing an evening something-or-other, or my husband is, so we know where the other one will be.
- One of us keeps remembering something we need to do or discuss at the wrong time, so we add it to our respective calendars for that night – Go over registration forms for camp, for example.
Sometimes the appointments are things we both need to do; other times we use our initials and an “FYI” tag, such as Sarah presenting at X location, AW FYI.
Obviously, this doesn’t need to be just for spouses or significant others. I know many of you share calendar appointments with your kids, other relatives, etc. If there’s an appointment to coordinate, making sure it’s shared on a calendar makes the arrangements easier.
You can also share entire calendars! I use this feature frequently.
When you create a calendar for a specific schedule, you can share that calendar with another person, so every appointment is visible on their schedule and yours. This is SO handy.
I covered creating and color-coding calendars in Part II, so you can see all the options there. For this example, I’ll create a calendar to take over the world:
Once you’ve created a new calendar, let’s have a closer look at the Sharing options:
Sharing with specific people allows you to add folks by email address so they have access to the calendar.
Why share a calendar? You could create a calendar for publicity for a specific book, or for a specific imprint or trilogy. You could create a schedule for after school programs, regular weekend appointments, or repeated tasks that are separate from your day-to-day activities.
I’ve done separate calendars for Hebrew school schedules, school play practice, gardening tasks by month/season such as pruning roses or planting bulbs, and for family vacations. For me, seeing the appointments spread out across a week or a month helps me visualize when we’re doing things, and whether some activities might be too close together, or too far apart.
Sharing is a great collaborative tool (hur) and you have options for sharing, too. How much access should the people you share with have? That’s up to you!
There are four levels of access:
- Make changes AND manage sharing – anyone who has this power can change appointments and add additional people to the calendar
- Make changes to events – this person will be able to edit events but can’t add folks to the calendar
- See all event details – this person will see all the information about individual appointments, but won’t be able to change them
- See only free/busy (hide details) – like it says – that time will be blocked on the schedule as “Busy” but the details of the individual appointment won’t be visible.
You probably know best the level of access someone would need for any calendars you share. Use your power wisely!
Sharing calendars can make working with coworkers, cowriters, or assistants much easier.
Professionally, I share the site calendar with Amanda, and we have a system of leaving messages for each other inside each entry. For example: A-READY (Content Title) means I’ve edited and gone over the content scheduled for that day, and it’s ready for Amanda to do all the magic things she does. READY (Content Title) means she’s done all her magical tasks and everything’s scheduled and ready to go.
NB: There are a LOT of software options for people who are collaborating on projects, such as Basecamp, Asana, or Trello. If your collaborations are too robust for Google Calendar coordination, by all means, don’t rely on something too simplistic. For me, using G:Cal and Slack to manage communication and scheduling work best because they’re fast, visually clear, free, and easy to use.
Next week, I’ll be covering importing calendars that are ready-made and very useful, and sharing some of my favorite calendars that I use frequently. Thanks for all the comments and support for this series – I really appreciate it!
I hope you’re enjoying this series. If you’d like to receive the new You’re So Organized entries directly into your email inbox, we can do that!