Do you already use Google Calendar? If so, you’re a part of a large community that appreciates its simplicity and power. But get ready — it's about to change.
In mid-October, Google introduced an upgrade. You may have noticed a button in the upper-right of the calendar that said, "Use new calendar." Clicking that button allowed many of us to make the switch several months ago.
On Feb. 28, everyone else gets the new upgrade regardless. But what will that mean?
What you will notice
This article will be more meaningful if you are looking at your Google Calendar as you read. Take a moment to get the two side-by-side.
The first thing you'll notice is a more attractive look. The colors are more vivid. The display is clutter-free. Notice the three horizontal lines in the upper-left of the calendar? This icon, common in other Google products, is known as the "hamburger." Click it once and notice how it hides the sidebar, giving the calendar a full-screen display. Click the hamburger again to bring back the sidebar.
See the small calendar for the month in the upper-left? Click on a day and drag to highlight several days. See what happened to the Google Calendar? You have displayed the selected days. How can you get back to your regular view? Hit the "M" key to view the month, "W" for the week, or "D" for the day. Those shortcuts have always been a part of Google Calendar. But most people don't know about them.
Speaking of the "daily view," the new Google Calendar introduced a major redesign. With this view, you see your calendar and all other calendars shared with you side-by-side.
Click once on an event and see the details. Review names of the invited. See the room or location. Review attachments. Click a link to begin a video call. A right-click on the event lets you delete the item or change color.
Open an event
Double-click an event to see the details. If the event includes guests, mousing over a name displays the contact information. No need to exit the calendar and open a contact manager to retrieve a phone number.
My favorite part of the redesign has to do with the "add description" box within each event. It's a box for any related information. That box has always been there. The upgrade offers some of the formattings we use every day in word processing. Underlining, italicizing and making text bold are all available. The user can create bulleted or numbered lists. The box now allows for live hyperlinks.
Finally, clicking the "paper clip" allows the user to attach documents to the event.
Do you send an email to announce a meeting? Of course, every good meeting has an agenda, right? So, that agenda becomes the subject of a second email-send a few days later. And what about documents you want attendees to have at the meeting? Are those dribbled out as attachments to additional emails or Xeroxed and stuck in mailboxes? Should we be surprised when people show up without their stuff?
Let's make life simpler. Want to schedule a meeting? Open your own Google Calendar and create the event. On the right-hand side, invite those who need to attend. They'll still get an email. What's different is the meeting automatically goes on their calendars. You've just saved everyone time. But wait — there's more!
You need to send an agenda, right? Key it in the "add description" box. Need to distribute documents? Click the "paper clip" in the same box and attach them. Need to make changes to the agenda or add more attachments? No need to send yet another email. Make the changes in the "add description" box.
Now, everyone has the meeting on their calendars. Inside the event are the agenda and needed documents. After the meeting, all the information is still there for later reference. Life doesn't have to be as hard as we sometimes make it.
Frank Buck is the author of Get Organized!: Time Management for School Leaders and was named to "Global Gurus Top 30" for 2017 in the time management category. He speaks throughout the United States and internationally about organization and time management. You can reach Dr. Buck through his website: FrankBuck.org. Follow him on Twitter @DrFrankBuck.