Monday, May 19, 2014

Engineering Life: Google Calendar

If there is anything I appreciate, it is my Google calendar for keeping me in the right place at the right time. I check it all the time. I love using it online in conjunction with my emails. It's so easy to use! I can move my meetings, work schedule and org schedule with ease. I have a pretty busy schedule most weeks and the things I need to get done get more bountiful as the year progresses. As an engineer, you have to have a system that keeps your life from falling to shambles. I keep both a paper (later post) and online system, which I update once a day.

Usually, My month (on a good month!) looks something like this:

As you can see, I work a lot on campus and have NSBE events that I must attend. I typically do not like to use the monthly view but it's good to see when the engineering madness will end or pick up in the long term.  I usually end up using the weekly view - it looks better on my iPad mini and phone. Below is a typical week in my spring semester for me when I am not too busy:

I really like the weekly view because it's clean, able to be color coordinated (all pink everything) and you can drag events around on the online version. The ability to color coordinate and subscribe to other calendars is great. I am subscribed to the NSBE calendar (in purple) and the Penn State SWE calendar (not shown). You can subscribe to anyone in your life that has a Gmail and uses the calendar. Personally, I use this as a great way to plan things with people. You can see when you and a friend are both free and plan something to do. You can then plan an event, add them to it and it will show up in their calendar! Guaranteed time with a busy bud is a great thing. 

When I have a lot to do, I schedule everything. Last week (shown above), I have a ton of packing to do, so I left that area blocked out for myself to do the task. I also schedule calls with my family, eating and social plans when I get really busy. A good way to use Google Calendar system is to take all the emails you get daily with events, meetings and hangouts - schedule them into your calendar once a day at the same time everyday. This way, you make a habit of knowing exactly when things change or move rooms. As a backup, star those emails for the week just in case you forget what you have to. I have recently gotten into using the tasks bar for my running to do list (I will do a separate post on that). 

Overall, I think Google Calendar saved my engineering life. It's very easy to move things around and when everything is all finalized, I write it in my paper planner for when my phone dies (it always dies).

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