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Lifehacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better, Third Edition by Gina Trapani, Adam Pash

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Hack 59: Become a Scheduling Black Belt with Google Calendar

Level Easy

Platform Web

Cost Free

In Hack 33, “Send Reminders to Your Future Self,” you learned how to schedule events and reminders using the web-based Google Calendar, or GCal. GCal has many more useful features that make it a strong candidate for your central work and life calendar application. This hack covers more advanced uses for GCal, such as adding and getting events from anywhere, subscribing to multiple calendars, sharing calendars, booking inanimate objects such as a conference room, and inviting multiple people to events.

Quickly Capture Events

When Google Calendar is loaded in your web browser, you can press the Q key to summon a single field to enter an event. Forget typing in seventeen fields for all the event details; GCal understands natural language such as “tomorrow at 1 p.m.,” as shown in Figure 6-24.

For example, you could write “Lunch at Nathan’s next Thursday at noon for an hour” and Google Calendar will parse your language and create a new event for that day and time, with “Lunch at Nathan’s” as your event title and one hour as the event length. You can even set an event as recurring by adding something like “on the first Tuesday of every month” or “yearly” to the Quick add text.

Currently the only downside to using Quick add is that you can’t set reminders; instead, it uses your default email reminder which you can set by clicking Settings Calendar settings Calendars Notifications and ...

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