Update as of 2012: I’m now using Google calendar (sorry, Yahoo!) and I still have access to all the features below and more.
In yesterday’s post, one of the types of lists I suggested that we all need to get friendly with was a calendar.
Basically, it’s a list of all your appointments and open/closed time blocks. If you like using a paper calendar, definitely use it. If it’s not broken, there’s really no need to try to fix it.
That said, one of the drawbacks with paper is that you’ll have to have it with you to know when you’re booked and when you’re available.
With an on online calendar, you don’t need to do that and there are lots of other benefits, too.
6 Benefits of Using an Online Calendar
1. Free. It’s nice when you get something useful that’s on sale. It’s even nicer when that item is free and it works. While there are some online calendars that will cost you, both Google and Yahoo offer them to you free of charge. I have used both, but primarily rely on my Yahoo cal.
2. Convenient. You can access your online schedule from anywhere. All you need is computer, internet connection, and your log-in credentials. Forgot your laptop or iPad at home? No worries, call up your calendar on your smart phone.
This means you’ll have a lighter purse or briefcase (your shoulder and back will thank you) and you’ll know exactly how your time is scheduled. Another convenient feature: you can set recurring appointments. Less writing and more automation (your hand will thank you).
3. Get Reminders. With a paper calendar, you have to be on top of your game and self-motivated. You have to check your calendar to see where you’ll be on a given day. With an online version, you can create text or e-mail reminders for those very important meetings and doctor’s appointments.
Here’s a look at my calendar for this Friday, November 5th. I’ll be at the GrowSmartBiz Conference and Trade Show for much of the day. As you can see, I have several reminder options and I’ve filled my notes section with additional details. I’m not so fond of getting e-mail reminders because my inbox has too many messages as it is. Instead, I choose to receive text messages that I delete almost immediately.
4. Create More Than One Calendar. Did you notice on the upper right side of the event page that this particular calendar is called “Education, Training, and Networking?” You can have more than one calendar for various types of events and add a bit of color to help remind you what’s what.
I love that I can have multiple calendars within the same app (Yahoo calls them calendar layers), and I can choose to view one while hiding the others by simply adding/removing a check mark.
5. Share with Others. You can share your calendar and let others view or even make changes to it. Sharing is a great option, especially if someone in the family always forgets what’s coming down the pike. =) This is also perfect for the assistant who needs to update the CEO’s appointments. I’ve got the calendar. I just need the assistant. ;)
6. Sync With Outlook. You can sync with your Outlook calendar so that you don’t have to do double duty. Save a few minutes by not having to enter the same information twice, and get the benefits of using Outlook’s other features, like dragging and dropping e-mails directly to your calendar.
The bad news is that Yahoo is still working on that feature. The good news is that Google’s got it figured out. Check it out here.
*Update: You can now sync Yahoo calendar with Outlook. Click here to learn more.
Are you using an online calendar? Why does it work for you? Please share in the comments!