Calendars, specifically Google Calendars, are a blessing and a curse. They’re helpful for planning meetings, calculating time spent on certain activities, and even keeping up with friends and social gatherings. But our calendar can easily become overwhelming and unmanageable. There’s nothing worse than opening up your calendar for the week and immediately being overwhelmed or lost in those small blue meeting boxes. Add to that the fact that we’re spending more and more time in meetings — think 15-50% of our total week — and you’ve got a recipe for calendar disaster. But fear not! We’ve rounded up some of our favorite extensions and tools that will help keep your calendar organized and increase your overall productivity. Here are a few of our favorites:

Doodle

Doodle is a great all-in-one scheduling tool that allows you to view open meeting times on colleague’s calendars, so you can schedule meetings with a few clicks. The tool allows you to quickly see who is available when, and even auto-adjusts to guest timezones, and can sync with Google Cal, Office 360 and iCal. Doodle is also very useful when booking meetings with large groups — the tool easily help you sift through available times, and identifies people who are free “if need be” at specific hours. You can also set reminders to be sent to attendees to help ensure people show up for the meeting on time. It is the ultimate calendar organization enhancer.

Basically, it shouldn’t take 30 emails to schedule a 30 minute meeting, and Doodle ensures efficiency and helps streamline scheduling both internal and external regroups. You can test the tool out with a 14-day free trial here.

Hive

Hive is connected to Google Calendar through Zapier, and one of the most convenient ways to connect the two is through a Hive notification when a Google Calendar meeting is about to start. This helps to ensure that you and your team aren’t missing upcoming important meetings. 

You can also set Hive up so that when a new event is created in your Google Calendar, you’ll have a new corresponding task populate in Hive. This will help you organize to-dos and next steps for any Google Calendar meetings you’ve got upcoming.

Event Merge

Most of us have experienced the complication of having more than one Google calendar. Our friends put events on our personal Gmail calendar, but coworkers but events on our work one. Trying to toggle between the two can be time consuming and confusing. But we’ve got the solution: Event Merge. This app is what it sounds like — a killer Chrome extension that merges multiple Google Calendars into one, central view. This is a major key for calendar organization.

Once the calendars are merged, the events will show up as striped color blocks, combining the colors from each calendar. You can also execute the merge for daily, weekly, monthly, or day-long events.

Zoom

This is a company you’ve probably heard a lot about and seen in the news recently. And for good reason. It’s a best-in-class video chatting solution, and invaluable for teams that have remote employees or who frequently conduct client calls. Zoom also records and provides each meeting upon conclusion, which is super helpful for interviews, important meetings, and any sort of team auditing

Zoom’s Google Calendar extension, specifically, allows you to immediately create a Zoom meeting from a calendar invite. This is a favorite for people trying to connect from different offices, or just who want an efficient way to launch a video meeting. 

Enable Working Hours

You can actually mandate specific working hours on your own calendar, so when people invite you to a meeting outside of your working hours, they’re notified. This will help people better understand your schedule and overall availability, and organize your calendar effectively.

Additionally, this month Google launched a feature that automatically applies working hours by guessing your “on” hours based on previous meetings. If the estimate doesn’t look right to you, it’s easy to tweak, and we find it really decreases the volume of back and forth over meeting times.

Toggl

Toggl is a time-tracking and resourcing tool that helps you identify time spent on projects. The tool is easy to use, and even if you forget to turn on tracking, it has idle detection and reminders to improve accuracy. You can also break down hours by client, task, or project to help figure out which areas are the most costly. 

To use Toggl, you can download the app on your phone, desktop, or use the Google Chrome extension for easy tracking. You can then sync Toggl with your Google Calendar, which activates a timer for each calendar event and populates the time log with relevant appointment information. Toggl even has a great 30 day free trial, so you can test out the tool’s capabilities.

 

Enable Desktop Notifications

Desktop notifications are another native setting that you can enable in your Google Calendar. Like the Hive notifications, this setting will remind you of upcoming meetings you have 15-minutes before they start. This can help you prep, organize, and decrease the amount of times your late to, or forget, a call. 

Bonus: This might be obvious, but downloading the Google Calendar mobile app, or another calendar app, is really life-changing. If you need to check your schedule for the next day, see what the action items are for a meeting, or quickly reference a coworkers schedule, the mobile app is great. You can also set notifications to push through on your phone before a meeting starts.

Are there any favorite calendar organization hacks that we missed? Let us know your top tricks in the comments below.