Using Google Calendar

One thing I’ve heard repeatedly from numerous students is that they have a hard time keeping track of assignments and appointments. I average probably 4-5 missed advising appointments per week, with the student later telling me that they completely forgot about it. The reality is that I used to miss appointments and would lose track of when assignments were due. And then a friend introduced me to Google Calendar. It changed my life. And it can change yours, too.

All students (and employees, too!) at the University of Maine are provided a Google account. That’s actually what the @maine.edu account is. So there’s no legitimate excuse for any and all students to not use Google Calendar to help them organize their life.

First and foremost, Google Calendar can help you visually keep track of meetings and assignment due dates. You have three different viewing options for the calendar, either the daily view, the weekly view, or the monthly view. And you can easily switch between the views for whichever is most convenient at that time. You can use the daily view to keep track of appointments and meetings for that specific day. The weekly view lets you know what’s coming up throughout that week. And the monthly view puts all your assignments in perspective so that you can plan your time accordingly.

Another benefit is that you can create multiple calendars. For instance, you could create a new calendar for each course you are taking. You have the ability to have them all showing at the same time, however, and use different colours for each. Thus you could visually see the amount of work and due dates for each class.

Once you have your assignments and meetings in Google Calendar, you can set up reminders for each and every entry. These reminders can be either pop-ups (it shows up on your screen), text messages, or emails, and you can set them to be sent out a certain number of minutes, hours, days, or weeks in advance, or even a combination of those. For instance, if you have a paper due on a certain date, you could set up a reminder email or text to be sent to you a month in advance, two weeks in advance, one week in advance, three days in advance, one day in advance, and then 12 hours in advance. Then you’d have no excuse to forget about it or not get it done in time.

In addition to sending reminders, you can also receive daily agendas via your email. Once you set it up, Google Calendar will send you an email with your schedule for that day. And it can include any and all of your calendars. Once set, you will receive an email at about 5:30am that will include everything on your agenda for that day.

For the more advanced user, Google Calendar also gives you the option to share your calendars with other Google Calendar users. You can give them ability to simply read your calendar or give them progressively more rights, up through the ability to edit your calendar appointments and settings. This can be very useful in a group learning setting, so that everyone has access to the same due dates and the same reminders.

And for those students who use a smartphone or a tablet, you can sync the calendars directly with iCal on your Apple products or link to it directly on your Android phone, so you can access it any time you’d like.

So set up a Google Calendar for yourself and give it a try. Used correctly and consistently, you’ll find that you get assignments done in a more timely manner and you will not miss appointments. It will help you on your path to academic and career success.