Contributors from members of the Copper team
Time is a funny thing, isn’t? We always seem to want more of it. But when we get it, we’re frustrated with how little we get done.
Everyone seems to have suggestions for better time management, too.
“Install a time tracker.”
“Use Asana/Trello/Basecamp/some other project management software.”
“Try the Pomodoro technique.”
While they’re all valid tips, why try to reinvent the wheel with another shiny new tool or technique? Instead, use one that’s already a part of your workflow: Google Calendar.
If you really want to maximize the time you spend at work, you should tap into the wealth of Google Calendar hacks available at your fingertips. Let's dive in.
30 time-saving Google Calendar hacks
For those of you using a regular Gmail address to manage your professional schedule, there are a ton of Google Calendar hacks hiding in plain sight.
On the other hand, for those of you using Google Workspace to power your team’s work, there are even more settings you can use to upgrade your time management and scheduling capabilities.
However you use Google, its suite of tools is a powerhouse of productivity. Try these 30 Google Calendar hacks for stress-free workdays so you can get more done.
1. Set a better default calendar view
By default, your Google calendar displays the next four workdays. But glancing only a few days ahead is not how many teams work.
Before you do anything else, find a default calendar view that works for your schedule and workflow.
You can configure this under the drop-down in the top right corner of Google Calendar:
But which timeline view is best for you? Well, it depends on how you like to work.
For example, if you prefer using Google Calendar to track small, daily tasks, you might use Day view only. This is great for focusing more closely on your itinerary for the day.
On the other hand, if you’re managing projects or timelines, a Week or Month view would be better.
Pro-tip: Keep in mind that the fuller your calendar gets, the fewer days you’ll want to see at a time.
2. Quickly check on a specific timeframe
Let’s say that you need to see a block of dates at once, but Google Calendar doesn’t offer that view. That’s okay—you can hack it yourself!
Using the monthly calendar widget on the left, simply click on the first date you want to see and drag it along to highlight the dates you want to include in the view:
If you’re on the phone with a client and they want to know about your availability in the coming weeks, there’s no need to manually sift through Week view. Get a bird’s eye view more quickly with a simple click and drag. Easy, right?
3. Use the Schedule view to see a list
Another view you might find useful is the “Schedule” view, which you can find in the same drop-down as the other Calendar views:
This would be useful if someone asks you, “Hey, what do you have planned for lunch on November 1?”
Quickly toggle your calendar view to “Schedule” and see if you have anything penciled in.
Again, there’s no need to click through different views or to scroll week-by-week. This Google hack gives you a quick look at all of your appointments and cuts down on a lot of fuss.
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4. Focus on the workweek
Unless you’re planning to merge your personal and business calendars together—or you’re a workaholic who struggles to put your computer away every weekend — is there a good reason to display the weekend on your work calendar?
We didn’t think so.
Go to the gear widget at the top of Google Calendar and open your settings. Scroll down to “View options”:
If you want to get those pesky weekends out of the way and reduce the temptation to work during your off time, uncheck the “Show weekends” box.
While you’re at it, you might want to uncheck “Show declined events” and remove that unnecessary distraction, too.
Reducing the brightness of past events will also help you focus on what needs to be done this week instead of receiving a reminder for what you’ve already accomplished.
If you’re not completely comfortable removing weekends, that’s fine. The occasional weekend project or call—especially if you’re working with international clients—can’t be helped.
In that case, it might be better to restructure your calendar so it starts on a different day.
Under “View options,” you’ll see a dropdown that says “Start week on.” Your choices are:
If you’d like to group your weekends at one end of the calendar so you can focus on the five-day (or less!) workweek, definitely take advantage of this setting.
5. Color-code your calendar
Color-coding is a great way to organize your calendar, especially if you need to keep an eye out for certain types of events or tasks.
For those of you who work from home or who simply can’t work for extended periods of time, structuring and color-coding your schedule and breaks like this could help.
When you color-code your calendar, it will look like this:
Isn’t it pretty?
To change the color of a specific event, create your event like you normally would. Hover over “Select event color” and choose the color you’d like to assign to this event (there are 11 options to choose from):
Pro-tip: You could also color-code your schedule based on the urgency of tasks.
If you keep multiple calendars, Google also allows you to color-code by the calendars themselves:
Here, there are five calendars selected on the left-hand sidebar. Each has a color assigned to it. This is a good way to keep track of your own events, your teammates’ meetings and reminders if you’ve separated them out into different calendars.
6. Find any event in seconds
Have you ever been in a situation where you know you scheduled a meeting with someone or put a task on your calendar, but you just can’t find it?
When your calendar is jam-packed with events, the last thing you want to do is search appointment-by-appointment to find the event.
In this case, just use the search bar at the top of the calendar. If you can remember just one of the words in the event name, you should be able to quickly locate it:
Can’t remember where you’re supposed to meet someone? You can also use this Google Calendar hack if someone asks, “Where’s our appointment with that supplier next month?”
Just locate the event in the search bar and, if you designated a location for the event, the details will be right there.
7. Create more than just events
This is the basic quick-add pop-up you’ll see in Google Calendar:
It’s a simple event widget, but it has tons of lesser-known features that you’ll love. Take note of the three options under the “Add title” field:
You’ll probably create events most of the time, but you can change this to be a Reminder or a Task, too. Unlike a reminder or task, you can add a location, advanced notifications and guests to an Event.
A reminder is an alert you send yourself that’s independent of your Calendar events. You can use this for minor tasks like following up on a proposal or leaving early to pick up the kids from school.
A task, on the other hand, is something you’re accountable for completing:
While you can manage your tasks from the blue task widget with the apps sidebar on the right, you can attach dates to them when you add them from your calendar, too.
8. Use quick-add for events
Do you have a simple task you want to add to Google Calendar quickly? Use quick-add.
Either click “Create Task” or click on an open space on your calendar that you want to fill. This pop-up will appear:
Fill in the details and save the note to your calendar.
If you click “Save” before you’re ready to commit, that’s okay. You can always open the event again to edit the details.
But if all you need to do is change the time, there’s no need to do that! You can adjust the time or length of time on the calendar itself.
Just drag-and-drop the event block to the date and time slot where it belongs. If you want to change the length of the event, just click-and-drag the event box to the appropriate time.
9. Create full-day events
Got a day-long event coming up?
There are two ways to create a full-day event on your calendar. The first is to create a new event like you normally would. Then, set the start and end time for the entire day’s business hours, like 8am - 5pm.
But there’s an easier way to do this, too. Click at the top of your calendar, just below the day’s date. A new event will pop up with the full day’s date already populated for you:
You’ll still have to fill in other details, but this is a quick way to schedule a full-day event on your calendar.
10. Ask Siri to add a new event
If you have a Siri enabled device, you can ask your voice assistant to book a meeting for you:
What’s nice about this is that Siri will check your calendar to see if there are any conflicting appointments at that time. You can then either confirm the appointment or cancel the request and reschedule at a different time.
Now, the only drawback to something like this is that Siri isn’t going to nail the details of your request perfectly, at least not in terms of spelling.
Make sure you proofread the event before you add your boss or a client to the invite. Siri can make mistakes, so it’s always good to double-check the deets before bringing other people in.
Pro-tip: If you’re trying to schedule something with a client or manager, it’s probably best not to attach them to the invite until you’ve had a chance to proofread it.
11. Restore a deleted event
Whether you got trash-happy and accidentally deleted the wrong event or you need to un-cancel an event, there’s no need to re-enter everything manually.
From the Settings widget, you’ll see the Trash folder.
From here, you can find the appointment you want to restore and pop it back into your schedule with a click.
12. Use keyboard shortcuts to save time clicking
Did you know that you can use keyboard shortcuts in Google Calendar? If you’re in the habit of using shortcuts elsewhere in your workflow, it isn’t a bad idea to adopt them for Google Calendar, too.
To find the list of available keyboard shortcuts, go to Settings and check “Enable keyboard shortcuts.”
When you’re in your calendar, you can type “?” to see a list of the available shortcuts, like:
You can really go down a rabbit hole here, but Google lets you use shortcuts for things like:
- Changing your view.
- Searching for an appointment.
- Navigating to the Settings page.
- Switching to Schedule view.
13. Subscribe to other people’s calendars
Need to see multiple calendars to make sense of your day? This simple Google Calendar hack lets you see multiple calendars in one view.
You can even add your personal calendar to your professional calendar so you know what’s going on in all aspects of your life at one glance:
This way, personal appointments that overlap with your workday — like family obligations, doctor’s appointments and vacations — are there when you’re planning your workload.
You probably don’t work in a bubble, though. You’ve got to know when your coworkers, boss and vendors are available for a chat, too.
Fortunately, you can view other people’s calendars in Google Calendar, also. Instead of playing email tag and trying to find a time that works for everyone, you can subscribe to their calendars to see when everyone is available:
What’s nice about the Google Calendar subscribe feature is that you don’t have to view everyone else’s calendars all the time. That’s just messy!
By checking the boxes next to each calendar, you can add those events to your calendar. By unchecking the box, you hide them from view until you need them.
This way, you don’t have to worry about getting confused or distracted by everyone else’s calendars.
14. Add calendars of interest
But other people’s calendars are just the beginning. Google Calendar includes additional calendars that could be useful to you, too.
By default, you’ll see a list of “Holidays in...” These are the holidays in your country. For example, if you’re in the US, you’ll see Labor Day automatically displayed on your Holidays calendar.
You can also add religious or other regional holiday calendars to your own as well:
- Other region’s holidays
- Christian holidays
- Muslim holidays
- Jewish holidays
- Orthodox holidays
Seeing holidays on your calendar might not seem like a big deal, but it is if you care about the relationships you have with clients and teammates. This is doubly important if you work with international clients. For example, if you have a client in India, you can use Google Calendar to avoid booking meetings on major Indian holidays, like Holi.
Pro-tip: If you know your client is a huge sports fan, you can also use this feature to add sports team schedules to your calendar.
There are a number of reasons to do this.
The most obvious is so that you can keep upcoming games on your radar (whether they’re important to you or your clients).
Secondly, some games could have a major impact on your ability to travel. For instance, Boston Red Sox home games often back up the city’s subway for hours. Whether you’re taking public transportation or driving to get to a meeting, a calendar reminder about a game could help you get there on time.
15. Create a shared calendar for your team
Honestly, you could create as many Google Calendars for yourself and your team as you want.
It’s a free feature, so why not use it to your advantage?
If you work in an office, consider creating a separate calendar for your conference rooms. This way, you and your team don’t have to stalk meeting rooms to see if they’re available. You also don’t have to subscribe to extra software for managing your conference room availability, either.
Just create a new calendar where anyone at the company can book an event:
The only issue with a shared conference room calendar is that you might need to add time or booking limits. If that’s the case, you’ll need a Google Workspace account to manage who can book a conference room and for how long.
16. Automate notification settings and never miss a meeting again
Sick of missing meetings? You can automate your meeting notifications so you’re always on time.
If you haven’t already, configure how Google Calendar serves up your event notifications.
Each time you create a new event, Calendar will attach your notification settings to it. This applies both to regular events and all-day events.
Notifications will pop up in the corner of your screen (or as a push notification on your phone) at the set time. You can also program them to make a noise.
If you turn on email notifications, you’ll receive a message in your inbox to remind you about the upcoming meeting, too.
Whatever you choose, just know that your events will now be pre-populated with reminders according to your settings so you don’t have to fill in those details every time.
17. Automatically accept and add new invitations to your calendar
You’re not the only one creating and sharing events in your organization. So, why not save yourself a little time?
Typically, you’d have to click “Yes” to accept an event invite from your coworker and add it to your calendar. But if you forget to click “Yes,” it means you’ll miss the meeting entirely!
Save yourself the heartache and tell Google Calendar to accept all incoming events automatically. Under the General settings tab, you’ll find a section called “Events from Gmail.”
By enabling this feature, any event sent to your inbox will load automatically to your calendar with all of the details. This is useful if you receive invites hours (or even minutes) before events and you’re not paying attention to your inbox.
18. Save time with recurring events
Sometimes a meeting is just a one-time thing. But other times, you might have a standing appointment with your team, boss or client.
Instead of creating a new event every single time you want to meet with someone, just set up a recurring meeting in Google Calendar.
To set up a recurring event, create a new event as usual. Click on the drop-down beneath the date and time that says “Does not repeat.” This will display your recurring meeting options.
From here, set up the calendar event according to your preferences. If you have a monthly meetup with a vendor, set up a monthly meeting. Daily or weekly meetings are better for internal meetings and annual events are useful for annual reviews.
If daily, monthly, weekly or annually aren’t specific enough, use “Custom” to set up an event with more particular settings. For example, if you want to set up events on non-consecutive days, like a status call that takes place every Monday and Wednesday at 11am, this is a time-saving feature.
19. Invite guests to your event
There’s no reason to add an event or meeting to your calendar and then email the details to guests separately. Let Google Calendar do the work for you!
Inside your event, look to the right where it says “Guests.” You can either paste emails into the “Add guests” field or type a name to search through your Contacts.
Once you invite a guest to an event, they’ll receive an email as well as any updates you make to the event.
Now, let’s say you want to invite stakeholders to a meeting. But it’s only necessary for the project lead and the client to show up.
If you want to make it optional for certain guests to attend, all you have to do is hover over your list and uncheck the boxes for anyone who’s not required to show up:
20. Add a physical location to your events
Sometimes information is lost in translation when you’re managing a remote team. If you frequently meet at a handful of different locations, we guarantee someone will eventually show up at the wrong location.
So, let’s say you’re trying to schedule an internal meetup at the local coffee shop.
Instead of sending your team some basic details of the event and following up separately about the location, you can attach the location to the invite itself.
Under “Location,” type in the name or address of the meeting location. Since Calendar connects to Google Maps, you’ll be able to add your meeting address in a few clicks.
21. Add Google Meet to your events
These hacks are great for in-person meetings, but what if you’re gathering virtually? No sweat. This Google Calendar hack allows you to add video conferencing to your event invite.
If you want to use Google Meet for your event, just click “Add Google Meet video conferencing” to generate a meeting ID. (Get our tips for using Google Meet for business).
That’s easy enough, but what if your team needs to use Zoom for this call? Instead of generating a Zoom meeting and dropping in the link manually, you can use the Zoom Google Calendar add-on.
Go to the right-hand side of the screen and click on the plus sign to see Calendar’s add-ons.
You’ll see these free conferencing options from Google Workspace Marketplace.
Choose your conferencing software and install the add-on for Google Calendar. Then, return to the “Add conferencing” tab in your event and you’ll see the new option in the “Add conferencing” drop-down.
The first time you add a meeting from external software (in this case, we're using Zoom), Google will ask you to authorize access. Go ahead and give it permission.
Once it’s set up, your meeting details will look like this:
If you hate logging into a separate video chat software, creating a new meeting and separately emailing the link to your attendees, this Google Calendar hack will save you so much time.
22. Find the perfect time for your event
Scheduling events with multiple guests can be difficult—and nobody wants to play email tag just so they can find a time to meet.
When you’re creating an event, don’t overlook the “Find A Time” tab:
You can use “Find A Time” to check all of your guest’s schedules in one spot, so you can find the most convenient time for everyone to meet.
By the way, you can only use this option if you’re subscribed to your guests’ calendars or if you’re connected to your team through Google Workspace.
23. Change event ownership
Have you ever created an event and realized you couldn’t run it? You could just leave it as-is and hope the organizer doesn’t need to update the meeting details, but that’s a little risky.
Your best bet is to change event ownership to the new meeting organizer.
Go to your event and click “Edit.” Under “More actions,” click “Change owner.”
This will allow you to give someone else control over this event. Once the new organizer accepts the change, Calendar will remove you from the invite.
24. Duplicate events instead of creating new ones
You can use the Duplicate feature to save time when you’re building similar events from scratch. This way, you can keep the event details consistent while quickly editing other important details.
If you go to “More actions” and click “Duplicate” from the drop-down, you’ll be able to clone an existing meeting.
For example, let’s say you hosted a team training session last month. The topic was “How to deal with negative customer feedback.” Your team loved it and begged you to offer a second session.
Instead of creating a brand new event invite for the new session, you can duplicate the last one. This will preserve your guest list and meeting room info while giving you the freedom to fill in the new event name, date, time and description.
25. Receive a daily schedule of events via email
Hey, it happens to everyone: sometimes you’re caught off guard by an event your boss scheduled last month. Instead of scrambling to prep for the meeting, you can ask Google Calendar to gently remind you about your meetings for the day.
Go to your calendar settings > Settings for my calendars > Other notifications > Daily Agenda. Choose “Email” to receive a daily agenda from Google in your inbox.
When activated, you’ll receive an email every morning with your day’s appointments.
26. Use the mobile app for offline access
Whether you’re an Apple or Android person, you can use the Google Calendar app to take your meetings on the go.
Actually, you can still access your meetings in Google Calendar even when you don’t have wi-fi. All you need to do is enable offline sync in the Calendar app.
Go to your calendar and click Settings > General > Offline. Enable “Turn on offline calendar” to see your events even when you aren’t connected to the internet.
27. Create goals
Are you finding it hard to take care of your physical health or make time for your kids with your busy work schedule? Same here.
Fortunately, Google Calendar’s goal feature can help you find more work-life balance.
Goal types include:
- Build a skill
- Friends & family
- Me time
- Organize my life
Each of those categories has various options within them, too.
You get to choose specific tasks, how frequently you want to do them and the best time of day to do them. Google Calendar will then schedule your goals at a time that works best based on your schedule.
As you complete your goals, Google will track your progress and update your schedule based on when you’re actually able to complete your goals. But this feature is only available on mobile devices with the Google Calendar app, so keep that in mind.
28. Integrate Google Calendar with your CRM
Google Workspace does a lot of heavy lifting for your team. But even then, you probably use a handful of different tools to handle your daily workload.
Why not choose platforms that integrate with Google Calendar? Google designed its calendar to be integration-friendly with plenty of third-party apps, which can make your workday go a lot smoother.
Did you know that you can integrate your CRM with Google Calendar?
Copper, for instance, directly integrates with Google Workspace and all of its apps. Once you set up Copper, it only takes one click to add your leads and clients from your CRM to your Google Calendar events.
For example, see the “Calendar Events” section under Andrew’s “Opportunities” panel on the right-hand side? If you click “Add Calendar Event,” a Google Calendar tab pops up and creates an event with Andrew’s email pre-populated under the guest list. It’s that easy.
29. Effortlessly prep for meetings with Copper’s Chrome extension in Google Calendar
Do you have a lot of client meetings? That’s the nature of the beast for plenty of sales pros. Instead of pulling up your Google Calendar event and customer details separately in your CRM, you can see everything in one place with the Copper Chrome extension inside Google Calendar.
You can use the Copper extension to:
- Display your contact’s information next to your meeting details in Calendar.
- Get context on your relationship with the customer, including your Gmail threads with them.
- See each lead’s place in the buyer journey as well as any important notes about their account.
- Add new attendees to Copper with one click.
Stop arriving to meetings in a panic. Prep quickly and effortlessly with an extension that gives you the info you need, when you need it.
First, you can directly access your Copper CRM data from Google Calendar, as shown here:
Next, when you click on a calendar event, it shows a Participants View, which gives you quick access to see who’s in Copper. If they are, you can click into them to see their details. If they’re not, you’ll have the option to add them to Copper with one click:
30. Take advantage of other quick-add events
Need to quickly add an event to your calendar? Take advantage of Google Calendar’s quick-add options for out of office and appointments.
Out of office allows you to block off time when you’re unavailable for meetings. This will automatically decline anything that hits your inbox, too.
Another new quick-add option is called “Appointment slots.”
With this option, you can either create a single slot where you’re available for booking or you can rope off a specific timeframe and create multiple slots within it.
Create an appointment slot on your calendar and Google Calendar will generate a link. When you share it with someone who’s interested in a meeting with you, they’ll see an appointments page laid over their own Google Calendar.
For example, you can create back-to-back slots for discovery calls between 12 PM and 4 PM every weekday. If someone were to try to access a date without time for discovery calls, or if everything is booked up, your client would see this:
If appointment times are available, the calendar view will look like this:
The appointment slots show up in light gray and will be labeled with whatever name you’ve given your appointment.
The person can then pick the time slot they want, add a location and save the request. That appointment time is then removed from your calendar so that no one else can book it.
But how do you even let people know that appointments are available for booking? Well, there’s a section under your calendar’s settings called “Integrate calendar.”
This allows you to either share your calendar’s public URL with others as a direct link (like in the signature of your email), or you can embed the calendar on a web page (like on your company’s website).
This way, it’s not your sole responsibility to schedule appointments with clients or prospects. You can let them take the lead, too.
Boost your productivity with Google Calendar
Google gets us. It always has. Who would’ve thought there would be so much tucked away inside of Google Calendar?
The next time you want to improve your workflow, look at your existing tools, like Google Calendar, first. Chances are good that it already has a solution for whatever ails you.
Is it time to get more horsepower out of Google Workspace? Try Copper; we’re the only Google-approved CRM that works seamlessly with your team’s existing workflow. Try Copper now for free!