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In this series on productivity, author Jess Stratton takes you through the latest tools that will help you run your business and life more efficiently. Each installment covers a particular feature or technique in a different online tool, such as Google Apps, Skype, YouTube, Mint.com, Etsy, and more. Check back every Monday for tips on topics from recording and publishing video chats to managing your finances online.
I'm Jess Stratton and welcome to Monday Productivity Pointers. This week's pointer actually comes from my wonderful Lynda.com colleague, James, who told me about some great add-ons that you can install for free in your Google Calendar. He told me which ones he liked, I installed them and never looked back, so I'm going to share them with you now. If you are a Google Calendar user, you can install these for free directly from your calendar in the Google Labs section. So let's go there and take a look at what we can choose from. I'm in my Gmail Calendar right now, so to access the labs portion, we need to first go into Settings.
And we do that by clicking the gear icon in the top right-hand side of the screen and choosing Settings. From here, you can click Labs from the top tab. This is the Google Labs section. It is important to note that some of these labs may disappear at any time, though the ones that are in here for now I can tell you haven't changed in a very long time. So you can read the description of the lab and if it sounds like something that's going to help you in your day-to-day calendar operations, simply click Enable in the lab that you want. I'm going to show you the two ones that James showed me that I really liked.
You can scroll down and read the rest, but one that's really useful is called Year view. This lets you see a whole year at once, so I'm going to select Enable on that lab. And the second one that I'm going to choose is all the way down at the bottom, and it's called World clock. This gives me additional time zones on my calendar. This is really useful because Lynda.com is on the West coast of the United States and I'm on the East coast, so it's helpful when I'm trying to schedule meetings to very quickly see what time it's going to be for them. So I'll click Enable on that lab.
Click the Save button at the bottom of the screen, and instantly, your changes take effect. So the first thing that we'll notice is that it added this sidebar in the right-hand side of my screen. Here's both labs that I installed. Here's my year view. I can choose the year and click Go. It's going to pop up a new screen. This is useful for me if I just want to quickly see a year overview. To get back to my calendar at any time, simply click Back to calendar in the top left-hand side. Now I'm going to go back to the right-hand side.
Here's the world clock. This is useful when I'm looking through my calendar and I see a particular time that I want to schedule a calendar appointment for. If I click on the time, it's going to change. For example, if I click on an appointment, it's going to keep that world clock open on the right-hand side and tell me what time that appointment is in all sorts of time zones. And what's even better is that I can click into Settings and choose the particular time zones that I want, or uncheck any time zone if I don't want it to show up in my list.
I'll click Save and my calendar is updated. So go through the labs, play with them, see what you want. They're interesting and useful additions to help you be just a little more productive in your calendar.
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