Are you using the full power of your electronic calendar? If the paper calendar is your paradigm for what your electronic calendar can do, you’re probably missing out.
Here are 3 things an electronic calendar can do that a paper calendar can’t. You’ve almost certainly heard of these features, but are you using them?
1. Send reminders
Your Outlook calendar can send alerts to your iPhone or iPad if you’ve added as an email account under Settings » Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
And even if you don’t have a smartphone, you can set up Google Calendar to send text message alerts to your cell.
As you can see in the screenshot above, Google Calendar can also email you reminders of upcoming appointments, however far in advance you’d like.
You can specify general reminder settings, such as “always give me a pop-up 15 minutes before an appointment” (which is my default) as well as appointment-specific reminders to give you a different kind of alert for special situations.
If you’re using a Mac, Google’s popups can either use iCal, or you can get a browser pop-up if you keep Google Calendar open all day.
A word of caution: be careful not to over-use recurring reminders or you can become blind to them.
2. Send invitations
The meeting invitation feature of Outlook is essential in many organizations. But did you know that’s not an Outlook-exclusive feature?
The .ics format that Google Calendar and iCal (Mac) support works fine with Microsoft Outlook, so even if you switch to Google Calendar, you can still send and receive meeting invitations to Outlook users.
Too often, the superintendent’s administrative assistant is really the only person who understands how to use meeting invitations.
They’re worth figuring out, though, because they can ensure that everyone gets a meeting on their calendar, and gets notified if something changes.
3. Talk to other calendars
If your schedule is interdependent with someone else’s, such as another administrator or a family member’s, take advantage of the power of shared calendars.
This is possible (but a bit clunky) in Outlook, but Google Calendar was built for sharing. You can simply enter the email address of someone else who should have access to your calendar, and specify what level of access you want them to have:
Why These Features are Mostly Useless
None of these features do us any good if we don’t use them. They can save us time and increase our reliability in showing up on time for our appointments.
My challenge to you: If you aren’t taking advantage of these powerful time-saving tools, give them a try. Let me know if I can help.
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