Google Calendar is my calendar of record for everything. I’ve used it for so long, it’s second nature for me. These are some of the ways I use it. I use it primarily on my Android phone.

The Basics

Screenshot of Google Calendar
Screenshot of Rebecca’s Google calendar as displayed on her phone. It includes repeating reminders in blue, appointments and time blocks in coral, and helper schedules in green.

Appointments: ALL appointments go in my calendar. Always. The minute I make them. I do not need an appointment card. I put it in my calendar, and read back to verify. Because I also use a paper planner, I also record them there. But no matter what, they must go into Google Calendar

Birthdays and anniversaries: I put all important birthdays and anniversaries in my calendar as all-day events.  Then I go down and change “does not repeat” to “every year.” Instead of writing in what age someone is going to be, I include the birth year in the title of the recurring event: Aunt Sally (1945).

Death anniversaries: Sometimes I want to keep track of this. I set it up the same way as birthdays, but instead write: (Aunt Sally 2010).

Medication schedules: I use reminders to schedule all my medication times as repeating reminders. They pop up on my phone at the scheduled time, and stay there until I mark them as done. Then they disappear from my calendar.

Other reminders: There are certain other tasks I do every day that I could easily forget. I set recurring reminders for them too. For example, I use a colored lightbulb in a hallway lamp to let others know when I’m sleeping. Because it’s in the hall, and I operate it remotely by an app, I could easily forget to turn it off when I wake up. SO I have a scheduled reminder every morning to turn the light off. It’s scheduled for earlier than I ever wake up (6 am), so I just see it already there waiting for me when I wake up at whatever time.

Blocking rest time: When I have something coming up that I know will require rest before or after, I block out my calendar in giant time blocks and label it rest. That keeps me from scheduling other tasks or appointments at the same time, when I know I shouldn’t push, or likely won’t have capacity.

Assistant Shifts: I record all the shifts that have been scheduled for my assistants and pet care volunteers.


Advanced Skills

Using multiple calendars: I have multiple google accounts, emails and calendars. I use a separate calendar/email for my assistants and pet care folks, which is attached to a separate email address. I originally set this account up as a way to advertise when I need to hire assistants, without giving out my full name and needs to total strangers.  It turns out, that has additional advantages in Google Calendar.

Because I set up this account, it comes with the full suite of Google products, including its own calendar. Google calendar allows you to view and interact with events from multiple calendars at the same time, as long as you have permission to view those calendars. So I told my primary Google Calendar, that I also want it to display, in the same space, a calendar for my helper account. It  is coded with its own color.

I then put my pet care helpers and assistant shifts on that calendar.  Why bother? Two key reasons.

First, I can then share that calendar schedule, without all the items on my personal calendar, with others. This is one way that my roommate can know what’s going on and who’s coming into the house, at any given time.

Second, for assistants who use Google Calendar themselves, I add them to the event when I schedule it, and it shows up on their calendar too, once they accept it. That way we are absolutely clear that we all have the same information about when they are scheduled.