There’s no doubt about it: Google rules the internet roost. It’s our most popular search engine and email provider, and when it comes to self-organization, its calendar leads the charge, too. But Google Calendar isn’t perfect (yet). While its in-built features and capabilities are strong, there are many extensions you can add on to enhance and customize your daily scheduling—whether for work or your personal life. From calendar extensions that help you bill for off-site work, to ones that streamline team management, here are six of the best Google Calendar extensions.
With Timely’s handy calendar extension, you can automatically track the time you really spend across all client meetings, appointments and events. The automatic time tracking app captures hidden billable hours (like overrunning or delayed meetings), so you can bill for every bit of project contact. By auto-importing your Google Calendar events into one neat time sheet, it makes it easy to schedule your week ahead too. You can see exactly how long you spend on meetings—as well as things like email and Slack—to truly understand the cost of your own internal team communications. Just connect Timely to as many work calendars you like, and it will record all the time you spend across all events in one private timeline alongside the rest of your work activity.
Sometimes the simplest things make the biggest difference; in the case of G-Calize, it’s the effortless efficiency of color-coding. While Google Mail already color-codes your emails for clarity, G-Calize applies that same strategy to your calendar, with unexpectedly helpful results. Simply choose a color for each day of the week, then decide which view you want to use: day, agenda, week, or month. The latter three are the most effective, serving as speedy visual prompts when you’re skimming your calendar and trying to schedule events. If the idea of color-coding to enhance productivity seems suspect, give it a try; not only does it help track outstanding tasks, but it also makes forecasting that bit smoother.
Another excellent extension for visual people is Event Merge, which streamlines the process of running multiple calendars at the same time. These days many of us have at least two calendars on-the-go – one for work, one for personal lives, and perhaps one for teams, too. But as the lines between these become increasingly blurred, things get muddled and frustratingly the same event can keep popping up on all your calendars. Event Merge helps you boost productivity by simplifying things, merging duplicate events into one single occurrence and color-coding it so you can keep track of which calendar the event belongs to. If glancing at your current calendar makes you wince and long for a clean, readable agenda, this one’s for you.
Checker Plus is a must-have if you regularly use Google Calendar and already make use of its tools and abilities. In terms of features, Checker Plus amps things up to the next level, allowing you to schedule and edit events and manage your calendar without ever having to enter Google Calendar itself. From your browser—and even when you’re offline—you can highlight information from any website and automatically add it to your events, create reminders and notifications, edit your schedule, and get a comprehensive view of your current calendar—whether that’s day, week or agenda. Easy to personalize and even easier to use, Checker Plus is like normal Google Calendar on steroids (in a good way!).
For managers, Google Calendar lacks one key aspect: the ability to view and manage your team’s calendars. Enter TeamCal, an extension that shows you multiple calendars at once without having to switch between Google Calendar and other tools. Using a simple, Gantt-like layout, you can detect planning gaps, avoid overbooking, and schedule working hours and holidays. The basic timeline layout lets you view every team member’s tasks and availability with a single click, and because it’s linked to your main Google Calendar, all relevant information pertaining to scheduling is automatically factored in. A straightforward, highly visual way to keep track of your team.
If you’re someone who cringes at clutter and finds it hard to concentrate when your screen isn’t orderly, you may want to download Collapsible Nav. Google Calendar’s left sidebar is filled with a jumble of features most of us probably rarely use. If you don’t use it, get rid of it—or at least hide it away to free up more space for the parts of your calendar you do actually use. This simple extension features a collapse bar that hides the left sidebar, decluttering your main calendars and expanding your view of the things that matter.