only help my unbelief

The obsessive compulsive’s guide to calendars
July 23, 2008, 1:00 am
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I am a Google nerd.

It all started when I signed up for a Gmail account and fell in love with it. Then about a year ago, I discovered Google Docs, where you can create Word documents online and access them from any computer with the Internet. This was especially helpful when I was working on things both at home and at school.

I’ve got a post in the works about Picasa, Google’s picture application, but today my blog is devoted to the veritable paradise of an OCD: Google Calendar (hereafter referred to lovingly as ‘GCal’).

It’s hard to describe how exciting it is for me to see all the colors and details when I open up GCal for the eighteenth time each day.

You can see from the categories at the left (shown bigger below, or you can click on the picture) that I’ve got a lot of different calendars within one large calendar.

Makes ya drool, doesn’t it?

Without further ado, here are just a couple ways that GCal works for me.

1. You can open up GCal directly from Gmail.
If you’re not a Gmail user, this probably isn’t that appealing. But maybe this will encourage you to become a Gmail user. On my laptop, I have GCal on my Firefox toolbar, but when I’m on any other computer, I love being able to sign into Gmail each morning and instantly click on the link to GCal, which then opens in a separate window.

2. GCal is color-coordinated.
Each of these labels to the right are a different ‘calendar.’ You can open all of them, some of them or one of them at the same time within GCal. Having different colors is helpful when you’re opening a lot at once, because you can easily tell what’s what.

3. GCal is easy to update.
If all you want to do is just add an event – below, I’m adding in a lunch date with my friend Emily – you just click on the date and this little bubble pops up. Type in the time and title of the event, choose which calendar (color) you want the event to be part of, and click ‘Create Event.’

4. You can tailor GCal to your specific needs.
Below I’m showing a couple days of my ‘Menu’ calendar in ‘Agenda’ mode. It’s not very detailed because all it’s showing is what I’m eating for lunch today and what leftovers I took to Christian for a few days. However, you can always add in more details, for example, about what you’re going to be making for dinner.

Or, let’s say you make a calendar, like I have, called ‘Things to Do.’ Maybe you’re updating your calendar Saturday, and you need to make a phone call Monday morning. Why not enter the phone number into the details so you can scroll through the agenda at a glance Monday and not have to go searching for the number?

5. You can view as many or as few calendars as you’d like.
Maybe you just want to see how your dinner plans will fit into your work schedule. On my calendar, I’d just select “Menu” and “Work” and deselect the rest. Or maybe you just need to quickly glance to see who has a birthday coming up. Deselect everything but “Birthdays.” You get the idea.

GCal really does work for me, and it might work for you, too.
This level of organization might not work for everyone, but it keeps me on track with menu-planning, exercise, Bible memorization and spending time with friends and family. If you’re having trouble keeping your life together, use this wonderfully free program to start pulling things back together.


10 Comments so far
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This looks pretty cool. I’ll have to check it out.

Comment by Jason Mitchener

LOL! I just discovered igoogle and have had fun putting that together. The only reason I don’t do online calendars is because I’m not always at my computer. But if I were it looks great. I’ll have to check out the other things you mentioned too.
Thanks for posting.

Comment by Kim

@Jason Good to see you over here!

@Kim I totally understand not being at the computer all day. Right now I’m 22 and don’t have kids, so it’s easy for me to check. I would think, though, that you could still use it, say, for menu planning or something and print one out. Or you could put as much as you know and then pencil other things in.

OR – I just thought of this – you could even make an individual calendar (color) for each of your kids, and print out one calendar that lets everybody see what’s on everyone’s schedule (helpful only, I guess, if you have busy kids).

Anyway – no pressure, Kim, if it doesn’t work for you. I’m just rambling because I love to think about Google calendar. 😉

Comment by chelseykarns

Hey, that is a great idea and I’m always looking for a place to put everything together. I’m a yahoo girl, but my husband is a google man, so I’ll have to share this with him too! Glad you signed up with squidoo! I love it!

Comment by Kama

we just recently started using GCal and LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Another great thing is that you can “share” your calendar with someone – my husband and I keep separate calendars, but have shared them with each other…he typically keeps mine hidden, but when he needs to check for family functions, it’s all right there, but doesn’t crowd his work calendar. Likewise, I can always see what he has going on at a glance and know what his schedule looks like. We run our own business, so we have separate calendars for employee info, bid date info, etc. Such a wonderful useful tool – we are definitely in love!

Comment by jodi

@Kama It’s going to take me some time to figure it out, but I’m always interested in little ways to earn money online.

@Jodi What a dummy I am! I completely omitted in my post the fact that you can, indeed, share calendars. When I first started helping Christian get organized, he shared his calendars with me so I could help him schedule things. It was awesome to be able to see it or not see it at the click of a button. Thanks for that helpful hint!

Comment by chelseykarns

Haha, this cracks me up, because I remember my Non-compulsive disordered reaction the first time I saw your Gcal. I wondered how the heck you could be so freakin organized.

I never used it or google reader because at the time, I frequently switched between my personal gmail and the one I was using for jobs/resumes/etc so google never knew who I was. But this summer I started and love it. I mainly use it to keep track of interviews, meetings and calls I need to make for work, but also put fun stuff on there! I love it!

Comment by jess

@Jess I knew you’d come around. 🙂

Comment by chelseykarns

Also if you want you can add on the remember the milk ( feature which is an online to do list. You get a little icon on each day and when you click it your to do list pulls up.

Also I saw on that she uses it for menu planning. She set up two week worth of menus then had them repeat every two weeks and she also puts a link to her recipes into the description.

I love Google Calendar!!

Comment by Pepper

@Pepper You bring up another great point – the ability to set up an event to repeat. I completely forgot about that. Seems I left out a lot of things, which I guess happens when you’re so entrenched in something – you don’t think about a lot of it. 🙂

I’ve seen Simple Mom’s menu planning article – it’s awesome!

Comment by chelseykarns

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