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Google Calendar 101: How to Set and Manage Working Hours Like a Pro

Google Calendar 101: How to Set and Manage Working Hours Like a Pro

Gone are the days of paper calendars, adorned with scribbles, illegible handwriting and flaking white correction fluid (remember that?). Now – thank goodness – it’s all about the digital calendar to let you know where you need to be and when. But more than that, Google Calendar can help to streamline your working day and generally make your life easier. Read on to discover how.

What is Google Calendar?

Google Calendar is a time-management and scheduling tool. It is free to use and has a number of handy features, including:

Creating and scheduling events

Whatever you’re planning – be it a meeting, a brainstorm, lunch with a client – you can create it in Google Calendar as an ‘event’, setting start and finish times, and inviting specific guests to attend.

Reminders and notifications

Post-it notes stuck all over your workstation will only get you so far. With Google Calendar, you can receive reminders/notifications for events, either via email or through the app.

Multiple calendars

Is that drinks with Charlie my friend or Charlie my boss on Thursday? Avoid confusion by creating and managing multiple calendars. Perhaps you’ll have a work calendar, a personal calendar and a family calendar.

Working hours setting

Dolly Parton may have accurately sung about our working day in the 1980s, but the concept of toiling from 9 to 5 no longer exists. Many employees fit their working hours around other commitments – but how is every member of a team supposed to remember who is available when?

Google Calendar has a function that allows you to indicate which are your working hours and, crucially, which are not. You can also create a recurring out-of-office notification if, say, you don’t work Wednesdays. Select ‘automatically decline meetings’, and if someone tries to schedule something with you during this time, they will receive a notification informing them that you’re unable to attend.

Location setting

Remote working has become the norm in many organizations. Google Calendar allows you to set your location, so your colleagues will know if you’re in the office, working from home, or somewhere else entirely on any given day.

Customizable elements

You can view your calendar however you’d like – either by day, week, month or agenda. You can even customize its appearance by changing the color scheme and adding images or photos.

Sharing and collaboration

You can share your calendar with other people – such as colleagues, friends and family members – so they can see your availability and schedule appointments and events with you.

Integrations with other Google apps

You can use Google Calendar with other Google apps, like Gmail, Google Drive and Google Maps.

Mobile app

These days, no one needs to be chained to their desk. The Google Calendar mobile app can be accessed from any device with an internet connection, which allows you to manage your calendar on the go.

Benefits of Google Calendar

By calendar tracking and using Google Calendar to your advantage, you’ll make your working day – and life – run a whole lot more smoothly. Some benefits you’ll enjoy are:

  • Maximizing your working hours
  • Increasing productivity
  • Being more organized
  • Better time management
  • Planning your day/week/month more easily
  • Boosting focus
  • Reducing stress
  • Documenting the time spent on tasks more efficiently

Time-block your day with Google Calendar

Hold your very own block party during your working day. By dividing your day into specific blocks of time – dedicating each one to completing certain tasks – you’ll enjoy a happier working life. In a world that is often driven by urgency, Google Calendar can help you to be more methodical and reduce this ‘now, now, now’ pressure, whilst keeping your schedule realistic. How?

Ease yourself into the day

A hectic start to your day is never conducive to productivity. Instead of throwing yourself headfirst into your working day, take time to sit, think and plan. Block off 15 to 30 minutes in Google Calendar at the start of your day to review what you are planning to achieve. Give the chunk of time a title – something like ‘Planning the Day’ or ‘Daily Review’. Then assign blocks of time throughout the day to your other tasks.

Deal with meeting requests

Either accept or decline any meetings that you have been invited to. A sanity-keeping tip that often doesn’t get implemented is to block out time ‘buffers’ before and after each meeting. A 15-minute window before a meeting can be used to prepare, while a 15-minute window afterwards allows you to get straight in your head what actions now need to be taken.

Do you need to follow up with someone? Write a plan? Send an email covering the key points of the meeting? Google Calendar can also help to eliminate unnecessary meetings. By seeing how much of a working day is blocked out by meetings, managers may decide that some are unnecessary and the item to be discussed can be done so via email or Slack. When you’re trying to be productive, there’s nothing more frustrating than a meeting for the sake of a meeting.

Set your ‘do not disturb’

When you need to knuckle down without any distractions, tell your colleagues this via Google Calendar. Block off a section of time that indicates you are unavailable for meetings, calls or ‘can I just ask…?’ questions. If you’d like to enter into ‘deep work’ at the same time every day, set up a recurring time block on your calendar. If it varies from day to day, you can adjust it as such.

Allow time for admin

When blocking out time in your calendar, always assume that you’ll need to reply to emails, take calls and attend to admin, and assign time for such tasks. Try not to plan back-to-back meetings so that you’re not playing catch-up at the end of the day.


Google Calendar has a number of useful features, such as:

  • The ability to create and schedule events
  • Reminders and notifications settings
  • Multiple calendars
  • A working-hours setting
  • A location setting
  • Customizable elements, such as viewing it by day, week, month or agenda
  • Being able to share and collaborate with others
  • Integrations with other Google apps
  • Mobile app 

Using it has many benefits, including: 

  • Maximizing your working hours
  • Increasing productivity
  • Being more organized
  • Better time management
  • Planning your day/week/month more easily
  • Boosting focus
  • Reducing stress
  • Documenting the time spent on tasks more efficiently

How to time-block your day with Google Calendar

  1. Block out 15 to 30 minutes in the morning to plan your day ahead.
  2. Deal with meeting requests, and include ‘buffers’ before and after each meeting.
  3. Allow for ‘deep work’ by marking yourself as ‘unavailable’ for a period of time.
  4. Allow time for admin.
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