As a small business owner one thing that we find ourselves lacking is time. Time to do the multitude of jobs a thriving business owner has to do. One indispensable tool that can help you manage your time like a pro is your Google Calendar (or any digital calendar).
Using the Google Workspace calendar has increased my productivity no end. I have more headspace, I don’t miss deadlines, I’m much more structured with the regular jobs I have to do (email marketing, content creation, sending invoices, chasing leads, asking for feedback etc), I don’t skip lunch and I have a specific daily closing time for my business - where my laptop lid shuts and I leave my work at my desk!
A digital calendar has been instrumental to the successful organisation of my business. Let me walk you through the setup and how to optimise your Google calendar for your online business needs.
How to Set Your Google Calendar Up
Setting up Google Calendar is easy and will take you only a few minutes. First, make sure you have a Google account. Then simply go to your Google Calendar by opening a new tab and either clicking on the 9 dots by your profile image (see below picture) or go to https://calendar.google.com/calendar and log in. You can add the Google Calendar app to your phone too. The initial setup takes only 10-15 minutes.
Click on the "+" sign to create a new calendar.
You can customise the name, time zone, who sees your calendar (and what they see), how you receive notifications and more! Within 10 minutes, you'll have your calendar up and running, ready to revolutionise your business organisation!
The Top Features of Google Calendar
Multiple Calendars: Create separate calendars for personal, work, or project-related events. I have a work calendar and a family calendar. You can see both at the same time, which is really useful for planning.
Colour-Coding: You can brand your work calendar in your business colours using your hex codes and assign distinct colours to different types of events for quick visual recognition. Eg client work, networking, admin, meetings. (See image below)
Reminders and Notifications: Set reminders and receive notifications via email or mobile to stay on track.
Event Attachments: Attach relevant documents or resources directly to events. You can create a Google doc for the agenda of a meeting which sits within the calendar event. Everyone invited to the meeting will have access to it.
Drag-and-Drop Editing: Simply reschedule tasks or events by dragging them to new times.
Recurring Events: Schedule repetitive tasks with various recurrence options. I love this one - it’s a gamechanger and makes planning your month/quarter so much easier.
Guest Invitations: Invite clients, collaborators, and team members to events.
Mobile Accessibility: Access your calendar on the go via the mobile app.
Search Functionality: Easily find past and future events using the search bar.
Sync with Other Apps: Connect Google Calendar with other productivity tools like Trello, Dubsado, ClickUp, Zapier and Asana.
How to Organise Your Google Calendar
Effective organisation is at the heart of a well-managed business. Here's how to keep your Google Calendar tidy:
Use Different Calendars: Create separate calendars for work and home to avoid clutter.
Categorise with Colours: Assign colours to categories like client meetings, deadlines, and personal time.
Use Descriptive Event Titles: Make event titles clear and specific to know what's happening at a glance.
White Space: Don’t be tempted to fill your calendar up! Give yourself plenty of white space to think/have a break/get away from the desk!
Busy or Free?: With each event that you create on your calendar you can choose if you are busy or free. If you are busy then other automated tools like Calendly or Dubsado will know not to book in any meetings. If you select that you are free then you can still accept appointment invites. (See image below)
How to Link It to Your Zoom Account
Integrating your Google Calendar with your Zoom account makes arranging meetings a whole lot easier! Allowing you to arrange Zoom calls directly within your Google Calendar.
With the Zoom for Google Workspace add-on, you can easily schedule, join, and manage meetings directly from Gmail or Google Calendar. With just a couple of clicks you can send invites, add an agenda and share the call link - all within your digital diary!
Once installed, you can use it in the desktop web browser (Gmail or Google Calendar) or mobile device (Google Calendar app).
Link Your Google Calendar To Your Automated Booking Service (Like Calendly).
Arranging meeting with clients, collaborators and leads gets a whole lot easier when you use an automated appointment booking system like Calendly. And by connecting your Google calendar to Calendly you’ll never be double booked!
The key here is to put EVERYTHING in your Google calendar! You have to live by it. Think of your Google calendar like a school timetable but for your business!
By hooking up your automated appointment booking service with your Google calendar people will be able to book in calls with you without any of the dreaded email ping-pong, where you are bouncing possible dates with each other. Instead, you send over your booking service link and the recipient chooses a suitable time that works for you both. Something like Calendly will be linked to your digital calendar and your Zoom account. Once an appointment is booked:
A confirmation email is sent to the booker with your Zoom details and meeting information.
You receive a confirmation email too
Your Google calendar is automatically booked out as ‘busy’ with the meeting details listed
The booker can get a reminder 1 day or 1 hour before the call.
You’ll receive a reminder notification too.
You can easily cancel or reschedule the appointment by clicking links on the confirmation email.
How to Time Block Your Google Calendar To Work Smartly
Make sure you block out time when you're not available! So when the kids are around, block out any exercise classes you have or if you're walking the dog. It’s very important to block out your holiday and bank holidays (digital calendar don’t know that you don’t work on bank holidays so your diary is still available for people to book in calls!).
Look at the next three, six or even 12 months. Now block out your regular work - for each client you have give them an allocated time each week. Remember on a Google calendar you can repeat this ‘event’ daily, weekly or monthly (see image below).
Setting boundaries - Make your clients aware of the days/times you dedicate to them. This is when you will be focusing on their work and when you are likely to be most contactable. You can also list your working hours in your contracts, proposals, work with me page and email sign off!
You also really need to make time in your calendar for your own business development (so NOT client work) e.g:
Sending out invoices
Creating your own marketing content
Following up leads/potential clients and networking
Any regular coaching/group coaching/membership sessions
Virtual events you want to be part of
These are all really important to your business growth and personal development. These things shouldn’t be squeezed in - you need to allocate time for them.
Planning - Make a point of also blocking out 15-30 mins at the end of every working day to plan out/check your schedule for the next day. I also give myself 30 mins in the morning to look at my email and read any industry news. I’m not available for meetings until 9.30am (no one wants to talk to me before I’ve had two cups of coffee!).
Once you fully embrace your digital diary you’ll have a centralised hub where all your events and appointments are in one easily accessible place. You have the ability to streamline your scheduling with easy event creation, plus simple integration with any other digital tools you use.
There’s the benefit of the automated reminders so you can stay on top of tasks without manual follow ups. Collaborations are easy with team members and clients, plus you have the flexibility to adjust your schedule by simply drag and dropping events to different times/days! Google calendar’s user-friendly interface allows you to easily make it part of your business’s daily routine - make it one of the first tabs you open every day 😊
Whether you're a new online business owner or a seasoned entrepreneur, I truly believe that by using the Google Calendar in your business operations you’re equipping yourself with a tool that can transform the way you manage your time. From setting it up in minutes to mastering advanced features, you now have the know-how to make your business more efficient and productive. Say goodbye to clutter and chaos and welcome a more simplistic and organised life that Google Calendar brings to your business journey.
If you would like help in setting up your Google Calendar or any other digital tool then consider booking in a power hour with me. We can work through the process together. The session will be recorded and I’ll share with you any useful resources I have that will help you stay more organised. Click here to find out more.