4 mobile calendar productivity hacks to optimize your planning on the go

Life is chaotic. You are constantly on the move, running from one scheduled event to the next. You don’t always have the time to be in front of your desktop computer when you need to make an appointment. This is what makes mobile calendar apps so essential in today’s world. By opening the calendar app of your choice, you can easily schedule a haircut, doctor’s appointment, or reschedule a work meeting.

The main disadvantage of any mobile calendar is that the screen is much smaller than the view on your desktop or laptop computer. The calendar view on your phone takes a bit of getting used to, as you have to navigate on a much smaller screen.

Watching your smartphone’s calendar while you’re commuting by train or bus can be tricky if you don’t have the right settings in place. If you’re looking to optimize your mobile calendar display, keep reading. Below are four ways to avoid or minimize the frustrations of planning on the go.

1. Voice commands

Using voice commands throughout the day has many benefits. At home, you can tell your Alexa speaker to add an item to your grocery list or put it on your favorite playlist. You can send and receive voice messages when your hands are tied with the kids and you can’t text your partner back.

Luckily, many calendar apps also have voice command integration so you can dictate your scheduling needs.

Google Calendar users can access the Google Assistant to help you seamlessly add, edit, or delete events from your calendar. With a quick “Hey Google”, you can say out loud and precisely what you want to do on the calendar. Google Assistant works for Android and iPhone users. Set up your voice recognition for Google Assistant in your Android settings or on your Google Assistant app.

For iPhone users, Siri can also interact with Apple Calendar. Like Google Assistant, you have to say “Hey, Siri” and request a calendar addition or change. She can also read your calendar if you ask her, “Hey, Siri. What does my schedule look like today? Try this on your next commute so you can mentally prepare for the day ahead.

2. Collaborative planning

Just because you coordinated the meeting doesn’t mean you should be responsible for that meeting. Let’s say you’re tasked with finding time for your team to meet with a potential client’s team.

You’ve added all of your team members to the invite as well as the customer’s primary person. But they may also have other teammates they want to invite. Instead of sending them their names and email addresses, you can entrust them to the calendar event.

In the Google Calendar app, click Options, then click Change Owner. The new event owner will receive an email with a link. They will need to accept ownership of the event in order to have editing privileges. From there, they can add their teammates to the meeting invite to make sure everyone is aware of the upcoming call.

This collaborative scheduling option is not available for Outlook Calendar or Apple Calendar users. If you’re using one of these calendar apps, you’ll have to cancel a meeting completely and have someone else set up the event. This is a disadvantage for Outlook and Apple Calendar.

3. Display Options

The smaller screen size is the biggest setback for using any smartphone calendar app. One way to overcome this hurdle is to add your calendar as a widget to your phone. This way, you can see your schedule at a glance from your phone’s home screen.

Outlook and Google Calendar widgets are available for Android and iPhone users. Android users can add it by tapping Widgets from the home screen, then finding the Outlook or Google group. Select the Outlook calendar or Google Calendar widget from there and drag it to the desired location on your home screen.

iPhone users should access their notification center by swiping down from the main screen. Swipe right to view your widgets, then tap Edit before selecting Outlook or Google Calendar and tap Done.

While you’re at it, go ahead and change your calendar view to your preference in your main smartphone app. Google Calendar lets you view an entire month on your Android or iPhone, or you can select a specific day to view that day’s particular schedule.

The same functionality applies to Outlook calendar users, who can swipe down to view the entire month’s calendar. Alternatively, users can choose a specific day. Apple Calendar defaults to a monthly view so users can tap on a specific day; a full list of upcoming events for the week/month will be visible.

4. Color coding

If you’re using a main calendar, all of your events and appointments appear on one screen. A vet appointment for Fido appears next to a meeting with your boss. It can be hard to tell the difference between what’s personal and what’s meant for work when looking at a small phone screen. You can assign each of your calendars a different color using a color code. This system allows you to quickly get an idea of ​​what you need to do each day.

Google Calendar users should assign a color to each event on their desktop. However, once the colors are assigned (yellow for kids’ appointments and blue for work meetings), you can designate the event color in the app. On your smartphone, tap to create a new event or select an existing event. Click Change, then select the current calendar color to switch to a new color.

The process is a little more complicated for Apple Calendar users who want to change the color of their iPhone. Rather than clicking on an event, select Calendars at the bottom of the app, then Add Calendar. From there, you can designate a new calendar and assign a color (eg blue for business meetings). Select your current event from the main calendar view screen or add a new one. From there, you can assign the appropriate color to the event.

Although it might take a bit of work upfront, assigning colors to your respective calendars and events can make your life easier. Rather than staring at an endless, confusing screen of multiple events, color coding lets you break out your day.

Some events may be FYIs or reminders, such as the day of your child’s field trip, that do not require action on your part. Others will require your attention at specific times, such as a team meeting or lunch with a client.

Take away food

Whether you use Google Calendar, Apple Calendar or Microsoft Outlook, chances are you can improve your experience. Features differ slightly across these major calendar platforms, as does the experience for iPhone and Android users. However, it’s well worth the initial time and effort to effectively use your calendars on the go. It can improve your life, leaving your frustrations at bay.

Featured image credit: Photo by Brett Jordan; pexels; THANKS!

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