Tech Tip Tuesday – 10 Useful Google Calendar Settings, Labs & Extensions

August 6th, 2013

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  1. Meeting length – Change default length of an event time slot from 60 minutes to your preferred length
  2. Weather – Want to know the daily forecast by glancing at your calendar? Turn on “show weather based on my location”.
  3. Daily Agenda – Receive your daily agenda in a single email for one or all of your calendars.
    Select a calendar from calendar settings -> select “Reminders & notifications” -> select “Daily agenda”.
  4. Event reminders – Turn off or change the default event reminder notification (pop-up or email) and time in advance for one or all of your calendars. You can set multiple reminders for each event.
  5. Embed a calendar in a website – Great for business intranets, clubs, schools, family sites.
    Select the calendar from calendar settings -> select “Calendar details” -> select “Embed This Calendar”
  6. View other’s calendars on via Google Calendar (not in Settings, on main calendar view) –
    Select “Browse Interesting Calendars” -> browse and add calendars from around the world, most professional and college sports teams schedules, lunar phases, sunrise & sunsets and more.
    Select “Add by URL” to add a calendar where you have been provided code or a URL – school systems often use this method.
  7. Copy an event from one calendar to another – Great for sharing specific events from one calendar to another. Need to add the soccer team’s schedule to your own but only for events your family is attending? Share those games with your own calendar rather than retyping the event. Need to add a work event to the family calendar? Share that specific event to the family calendar.


  1. Event attachments – Attach a shared Google Document, Spreadsheet or Presentation to your event, or upload a file from your computer. Great to avoid searching for a document needed for an event.

Google-Chrome-Google-Chrome (1)
– Google Chrome extensions from the Google Chrome Web Store

  1. Boomerang Calendar –– Syncs with your Google Calendar but lives in your Gmail. It automatically highlights dates and times in the Gmail message with information about whether or not you can attend based on your Google Calendar. It allows you to add events directly into your Google Calendar from the email or enables you to open your calendar. Reduces switching from Gmail and Google Calendar to reply to emails.
  2. Google Calendar Toolbar – Adds an icon to your Chrome toolbar. Mouse over the icon to see your next upcoming event. Click the icon to see your upcoming agenda or add events to Google Calendar.

Want to learn how to add these Google Chrome extensions and others?  Check out our video below
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Falling back is more than just changing your clocks.

October 30th, 2009

So tomorrow is the big day!  Your likely thinking Halloween, I am thinking time to change your clocks back to standard time.

The time change itself means very little to me.  I find it’s only real significance is the darkness may enable me to sleep a little later.  It is the physical act of actually changing the clock that reminds me of the other things I should do at the same time.  Below I’ve listed activities I do in conjunction of changing back my clocks.

  • Check and replace the batteries in your smoke detectors. Using a Sharpie, I write the month and the year I am installing the battery on the battery.  If I accidentally miss changing one, I can easily pop or slide open the door and check the date I last installed.  My smoke detectors are hard wired.  I very rarely lose power so the battery gets little use so I only change their batteries in the Fall.  If your smoke detectors run only battery only, you may want to change them in both the Spring and Fall.
  • Check and replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide (CO2) detectors. This is a must for the Fall.  CO2 detectors are almost always connected to an outlet, the battery is used as a back-up power source.  Most CO2 detectors use a 9V battery as a back up.  I believe changing this battery in the Fall is a must because Winter seems to be the time of year when CO2 is more likely to build in your home.  CO2 is often considered a silent killer as it is odorless.  (If you don’t have a CO2 detector in your home, get one now.  They run from $19 – $50).
  • Prepare a disaster supply kit for your house (water, food, flashlights, batteries, blankets). September was Disaster Preparedness Month.  If you missed putting together your supply kit last month, now if the perfect time.  If you’ve created a home disaster kit in the past, use the semi-annual time change to check its contents (including testing/replacing flashlight batteries).
  • Check home and outdoor storage areas for hazardous materials. Before it gets too cold out, discard (check with your local city or county for proper disposal) any which are outdated, no longer used, or in poor condition.
  • Check and discard expired medications – both prescription and over the counter.  The expiration dates really DO have meaning.  Many medications start to lose their effectiveness and may breakdown after their expiration date.
  • This is the perfect time to check all of the batteries and replace burned out light bulbs in your home. Have you ever come home to your alarm clock flashing following a power outage?  This weekend, grab a battery, write 11/09 on it and install it in your alarm clock.  Do the same for anything with a back-up timer such as thermostats, phones, and other electronics.  Also, check for burnt out bulbs and replace those too.  Compact fluorescent light (CFLs) bulbs are made for all wattage and sizes now a days.  CFLs conserve energy and last much longer.  (The two in my basement will be 16  years old this December).

Remember batteries, medications, paints, compact fluorescent light (CFLs), and chemicals are considered hazardous waste.  Please check the website for your city or county for proper disposal.

I hope these tips help keep you safe and prepared.  Do you have any tips to add?  Please comment below.

Happy Halloween!

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Need a contractor? Where to start?

September 11th, 2009

How many of you have relied on AAA (formerly known as the American Automobile Association)?  AAA has become synonymous with the name of the company who bails you out if your car conks out or you get a flat.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Toll Booth
Image by jimmywayne via Flickr

As a child I remember my mom’s old Pontiac overheating while we waited at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge toll plaza.  Somehow (pre cellphone days), we managed to contact AAA. I was terrified, the 3 BIG A’s were going to come.

Nooooooo!  Not the 3 BIG A’s.  While this was a service who was going to help, as a child I pictured 3 BIG A’s.  We were going to get attacked by the alphabet!!!  Needless to say, AAA sent a service individual to come help us and we were sent on our way. As an adult AAA customer, I learned that AAA does not always have it’s own service trucks. Honestly, I don’t know if they have any of their own trucks anymore. Their service and reputation is handled by contractors who they screen to represent them. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had one stop shopping for all things that cause hiccups in our lives? Boy, wouldn’t that simplify your life?

I recently learned friends had launched a AAA-like home repair service called HOCOA – Home Owners Club of America. Like AAA offers pre-screened automobile repair contractors to their members, HOCOA offers pre-screened home repair/maintenance contractors to their members. You make one phone call to HOCOA. They document your problem and set you up with the contractor who can repair your problem. Members pay a minimal fee to have access to their pre-screened contractors saving members time and aggravation.  While there are other home repair companies who sell memberships, there are some definite differences.

I have invited my friends Michelle and Andy Katon, owners of HOCOA Metro DC to guest post about how a home repair network can simplify your life.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could simplify your life when it comes to home repair.  We discovered a home repair network that can do that, HOCOA. We were so impressed, that we choose to purchase a franchise in the Washington, DC Metro area so we could share this benefit with Washingtonians. Here is how it started….

We noticed an odor in the kitchen.  We did not realize that our dishwasher had broke mid-cycle.  The following day, Sunday we discovered the odor was from the dishwasher.  Once we noticed it was a broken dishwasher causing the odor, we did not know who to call.  We did what most people would do: opened the Yellow Pages, and started making calls, more calls and even more calls.  After 11 calls and a lot of frustration, we knew there must be a better way. We did finally get our dishwasher fixed but decided that it was time to find a universal solution to the household headache of home repair.  After a lot of research, we found a home repair network called HOCOA.  HOCOA had a proven track record of making the process of finding a contractor/service provider easier.  Further investigation showed that all HOCOA contractors are licensed, bonded/insured and pre-screened.  Best of all, they do all of the  leg work for you.

Upon moving to the DC area, we discovered there was no HOCOA location in the area.  In an area like DC where people are always on the go, we knew that there was a need for HOCOA.  Most Washingtonians don’t have the time to make all the calls and screen contractors before hiring them.  Yes, you may have your favorite plumber or electrician but who do you call when the roof leaks, the attic fan dies, or you discover mold in the basement.

So we brought the HOCOA Home Repair Network to DC!  Below are success stories from your DC neighbors.

Image via Wikipedia

A family in Rockville was in the middle of a renovation project. They ran into problems with their contractor, who could not finish the job. What should they do? A friend suggested they call HOCOA. Within an hour, we figured out what type of contractors they needed.  By the next morning, they were back in business and work reconvened using HOCOA contractors. HOCOA was not only able to save them the time and energy of re-interviewing contractors after previously being burned, but the project became stress free because of HOCOA.

Another family had a light that was going in and out. They called an electrician on their own. He came, fixed the light and did what appeared to be a good job. A week later, the light was giving them the same problem. They called the electrician again, and again, and again. They never received a return call. So much time was spent trying to resolve this issue. The problem was that their electrician had already done the job and had been paid. They were no longer on his “priority” list.

Through HOCOA, the contractors are held “accountable” because of the way jobs are dispatched. Since the contractors want referrals, they respond almost immediately when called by a HOCOA representative. If the family had called HOCOA for this project, ONE call would have taken care of this problem with NO frustration.

Joining HOCOA is the way to save time and energy and be able to simplify your life when it comes to home repair.  The value of piece of mind is so much greater than the small yearly HOCOA membership fee.   In addition to the home repair contractors participating with HOCOA, your membership also gives you access to additional resources at wholesale prices.

If you know of anyone moving to the DC area, a HOCOA membership is an incredible gift.  Know a good reliable contractor you feel would benefit from being part of the HOCOA Metro DC network, please pass our information along.  Feel free to give us a call or send us an email with any questions.  We look forward to helping you simplify your life.

Michelle and Andy Katon
Owners, HOCOA Metro DC


Michelle and Andy are extending all Need Another You readers a 15% discount on any HOCOA Metro DC membership.  Use code ORGANIZE when purchasing your membership.   Need to simplify your life?   Be prepared, contact Michelle and Andy today.

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Who wants to win a $4000 organizing makeover?

May 25th, 2009

You are likely thinking, “who doesn’t want to win a $4000 organizing makeover?”.  Even I, a Certified Professional Organizer®, want to win a $4000 organizing makeover.

The Real Simple Organized Home Sweepstakes is sponsored by Real Simple magazine and The Container Store.  The prize is one (1) Set of Merchandise valued at $3000 from The Container Store and one (1) Real Simple Home Organizer Consultant, to organize the winner’s home valued at $1000.  The contest runs until June 15th and you can enter once each day.  They will be choosing a winner, at random on or about June 26, 2009.

Do you dream of an organized home?  Then this contest is for you!  Apparently, they have thought of everything.  The entry form gives you the option of a daily email reminder to enter each day.  The only thing they seemed to forget was to include me as a Real Simple Home Organizer Consultant.  Well, at least for now.

We hope one of our readers is the winner.  If you win, please come back and post a comment.  We would love to hear that merchandise you received and your feedback.  Wishing you the best of luck!

Sweepstakes link
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