The more I use Google Calendar, the more I love it.
Yesteday I realised that I could pretty much use it to replace Microsoft Project (if only I could create dependencies between items and spit out a gant chart…. perhaps I’ll just have to train clients to not like gant charts quite so much. What’s with that, hey?)
Google Calendar is SOOOO much better at managing multiple projects + life that MS Project will ever be. (Ever experienced a Project Central implementation? You’ll know what I’m talking about).
When I take on a new project, I create a new Google Calendar and name it after the project. I can then assign tasks to that calendar that appear, beautifully colour coded, in amongst all my other projects and personal activities on one calendar. At a glance I can see when I’m going to be super busy and when I’ll be able to go have lunch out of the office.
It’s easy to move from a high level (monthly) view to a detailed daily view. The agenda view is also great. You can switch other projects/calendars on and off easily, and you can *share* your calendar with others (project team members, your client etc).
If only everyone used Google Calendar. For those who don’t they can keep up to speed with XML feeds or an iCal feed into another web based calendar that supports iCal (and most of the good ones do).
You can share your calendar only with a chosen few, or you can share it with the world. Many thanks to the great people who have created the Australian Cricket Schedule in a shared Google Calendar so that I’ll never need to miss another match (albeit via an online broadcast). The Sydney Web Standards Group also have a public Google Calendar that I’ve added to my calendar at the click of a button. Dead easy and so helpful. (Of course, public & school holidays can be imported exactly this way as well).
Of course, Google Calendar doesn’t do *everything* that MS Project does. It does do a *lot* of the things that Outlook does though. (Although, it doesn’t seem to cope so well with meeting requests and the like that come to Google Cal from Outlook).
If you’re like me and you mostly use Project to create a list of tasks, work out a schedule, then try to stay on schedule (or, watch how the project schedule slips out as people (not me, of course!) don’t deliver on time), then I think you’ll find this a great tool for managing your time. And, I *know* you’ll be happy to see the back of Project!
PS. Know what else I’ve finally gotten into using? 37 Signals’ BackPack. It’s taken me a bit of time to work out whether I actually *like* this product and how I might use it to help me be better organised, especially now that I have quite a few things going on that require organising and lots of working! So, I’ve taken a little time to try a few different structures and I thnk I’m settling into it. (Well, I have settled in enough to justify upgrading to the Basic service from the free one… I guess that speaks volumes). I particularly like the integration of the Writeboard functionality (basically a v. simple collaborative word processor). I do wish it was Writely tho’. Writely is mucho sexy.
V. long rambly sentences today. Sorry about that! :)
Image Credit: rossMania @ Flickr