TECH YOURSELF: How Google Calendar Changed How We Work

In a professional environment, the proper scheduling of meetings and events, as well as the keeping track of tasks that require completion, is essential to a solid and cohesive workflow.  In our modern age, we have come a long way since the Rolodex, written lists, and paper calendars, and our daily work habits have become more intertwined and streamlined.  One of the many available digital online tools, which greatly aids in our communication becoming more succinct, is Google Calendar.  We will start by taking a look at what makes this program unique along with some of the many features that are available on it, and we’ll end with how we here at NCTV utilize it regularly to our advantage.

A beta version of Google Calendar became available to the general public in April of 2006 and officially exited the beta stage a few years later in July of 2009.  From that time until now, it has evolved to include newer and better features to become the powerful scheduling tool that it is today.  One of the best things about this program is how easily customizable it is to tailor to one’s specific needs.

Once you sign up and start using Calendar, the first step is to click the little round gear icon in the top right corner of the screen in order to review and adjust each of the possible settings depending on how you want to use it.  Options include, but are not limited to, date format, time format, the particular day of the week the calendar starts on, the default calendar view, weather options, and keyboard shortcuts.  In terms of the default layout of the calendar you see on-screen when you sign in, you have the option to specifically view just the day, just the week, just the month, or a customized view that you can set up.
Once you set up the basic layout of your preference, the next step is beginning the process of creating separate personal calendars in order to start scheduling tasks, reminders, and events.  You can create (and color-code!) as many separate calendars as you want and need by clicking “Create a new calendar” in the drop-down menu next to “My Calendars” on the left side of the screen.  Once you’ve set up and named a new calendar, click on the drop-down menu next to the name of the calendar.  This will give you the option of displaying only that calendar, adjusting the settings for it, deleting it, creating an event for it, sharing it with others, editing personal notification settings about specific events, and choosing a custom color for the calendar’s events.

When setting up a specific event on a calendar, you have the option of: naming it, deciding the specific duration of it (which can be anything from 5 minutes to an event that’s ongoing for months), repeating it, naming the location, providing a description, adding an attachment (document, pic, video, etc), choosing a color for it, and setting up one of more notifications for the event in the form of an email that will be sent to you at a specific time OR a timed pop-up on your desktop.  You can set up events to repeat daily, only on weekdays, weekly, monthly, yearly OR customized to very specific time-frames.  You can also add guests via email and decide whether each guest as the option of editing the event, inviting others, and viewing the guest list.  When viewing the individual calendar on the master calendar, you can click the colored square next to it to display it on, or hide it from, the main calendar.

At NCTV, we use Calendar in a number of important ways that aid in our overall regular workflow.  We have a general staff calendar that all employees can access, view, edit, create events on, and share.  This allows us to make single calendar changes and updates that everyone can access and see instantly.  We also have our own personal work calendars, which enables each of us to schedule daily, weekly, and monthly tasks as well as set up various reminders for and about each.  Beyond our personal and staff calendars, we have multiple individually color-coded calendars relating to the various appointments, tasks, and events we oversee and are involved with, both inside and outside of the station.  These include the Norfolk Town Government meeting(s) schedule, edit suite appointments, equipment sign-outs, field shoots, studio shoots, our workshop schedule, special events, and our volunteer calendar.  Aside from helping us keep track of all of these important elements, it is also a vital way for us to communicate about opportunities to our members and the general community at large.  Our volunteer calendar is directly connected to the NCTV website, so when a studio shoot or community event takes place, our members can easily view the details of such events and sign up to help directly through our site.  We use our workshop schedule similarly to make it easier for those interested in attending to also sign up through the site.

Here at the station, we are always looking for fresh faces, new ideas, and volunteers to keep the ship running smoothly and make it the best it possibly can be.  If you have any questions or want to learn more about Google Calendar or Norfolk Community Television on the whole, please contact us by calling 508-520-2780, emailing, or checking out the rest of our website.  We always look forward to working with you!

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