Google calendar is the primary tool I rely on to keep track of my day, including my meetings, events, simple tasks, and my overall schedule.
For years, I’ve tried finding and trying other tools out there other than Google calendar. From the default calendar app, Apple provides on Macs and iPhones to startup apps, widely-used apps, etc., I tested every possible calendar app out there.
But ultimately, it always came down to using Google Calendar when I wanted to use a stable platform I could rely on.
So today, I’ll be sharing how I plan my day using Google Calendar. After years of trying to find my system, I finally feel like I’m at a place where I can showcase my setup.
Step 1. Start Planning the Day Before
This is undoubtedly the most challenging part for me as an ISTP person (if you’re familiar with Myers Briggs personalities). I tend to be incredibly spontaneous, so planning the day ahead is always the most challenging part for me.
Because even if I set up a time for something, I know that if I want to do something else at that time, I’d have to take another section out of the day to edit the calendar.
Nevertheless, setting up the schedule the day before is important because it prepares me for a productive day when I know what I will do the next day when I wake up.
I usually plan the next day right before I go to sleep. This is especially helpful because I can calculate how much I will be sleeping before I need to wake up.
I can even plan when I’m going to wake up and how much sleep I will be having if I don’t have a busy schedule the next day.
Step 2. Always Plan Mornings in Detail
A productive morning always puts my day together than days I don’t. And to do this, I don’t exactly have a great morning routine but have incredible details laid out.
For example, instead of just putting ‘Morning Routine,’ I would block an entire hour for my routine and put smaller tasks within that time block for me to tick off.
And by smaller tasks, I mean everything that I’ll do to make myself feel more productive.
- Wake up (yes, there’s a task for me to check off just for this)
- Open windows & make bed
- Wash & clean (doing this before anything else starts my day off fresher)
- Exercise & drink water
I would manually put these tasks in my calendar before I sleep (Step 1). And this gives me a sense of creating an outline of to-do lists (which is essentially what I’m doing) to wake up and cross out immediately.
Step 3. Create General Time Blocks
As I mentioned initially, I’m an incredibly spontaneous person, so creating detailed blocks of what I’ll be doing is useless and time-consuming once I decide to do something else.
Instead, I have a few categories of what I do, and I time-block them in the calendar. You can think of this as having a block schedule in school.
For example, I have a few categories for the different types of work. Instead of putting specific tasks as events, I have calendars dedicated to each category, and I use them to plan how I will spend my time.
I block my time with general tasks such as working on wireframes using these categories. I don’t specify which wireframe I’m working on and simply put ‘X Client Wireframes.’
If it’s something that I cannot reschedule, I make sure I mark the event as ‘busy’ so that I don’t book any last-minute calls.
Step 4. Use a Task Management Software
My calendar is only used for planning the day, which doesn’t equal managing my projects and tasks.
So to execute my planned day accordingly, I use a task management software called ClickUp that I use along with our team. Because all of the projects and tasks are planned inside the tool, all I have to do it check my to-do list inside ClickUp for the time my calendar is blocked in.
Another thing I do in Step 3 is to look at my to-do list inside ClickUp and block my time accordingly.
Every once in a while, I would block a time in my calendar to manage ClickUp and ensure that all projects and tasks are set up correctly with the right deadlines.
The process of planning my day using Google Calendar is constantly evolving and improving. I might change up my calendars once in a while, set up a new color scheme, or even change my process entirely when I have to.
But ultimately, whatever set of tools and processes you use, it’s important to utilize whatever you set up consistently. If you take your time into building a process and leave it unused, it’s a waste of time that you’d use better just by not having a process at all.
And yes, this is speaking from experience.
So build a solid process for yourself, use it, and improve it as you go!