Friday, 29 July 2011

Thing 8 - Google calendar - Getting organised

So we're moving swiftly on to Thing 8 - using the Google calendar.

I am not embarrassed to admit that it has taken me several years to actually get used to an electronic calendar at work, let alone an additional one! Yes, I am afraid I remain a bit old fashioned and still carry a paper diary in my bag, simply because when I am looking forward at dates for a holiday, for example, I find it really hard to do so using an on-screen calendar - the information just doesn't sink in, whereas if I look back or forwards at a paper diary/calendar, suddenly all becomes clear! Admittedly this might be just a little mental block that I only I have, but let's just go with it. HOWEVER - I am approaching the Google calendar with an element of scepticism that I shall ever actually use it on a regular basis. Not because I don't think it's a great little tool, but just because of my inability to work fully effectively with electronic calendars!

When I first started the cpd23 challenge, I managed to add all of the 23 'things' to my Google calendar, so I guess I had access to one already, albeit unknowingly! Other than checking it now and again over the last few weeks when I want to see, for example, what the next 'thing' is, I am afraid to say I haven't used it at all. Nonetheless, undaunted, I read through the cpd23 blog post and followed the instructions on how to add the calendar to my iGoogle page - DONE. I have to admit already it's pretty useful to have it on there, because I do log into my Google page when at work because I use a Google reader to access my RSS feeds. However, I don't actually know anyone who has a Google calendar so I am unable to 'share' mine at this point. Nonetheless, I genuinely can see that there could be a lot of benefit derived from doing this - in much the same way as there is in sharing calendars in the workplace. However, the benefits only work if everyone keeps their calendars up to date! I fear this is where I could come a cropper with the Google calendar - I find it hard enough to remember to update my work calendar - unless someone sends me an appointment, and therefore the event goes into my calendar automatically, I can on occasion be very slipshod when it comes to maintaining it.

In terms of using a Google calendar in our library, I have to admit it's something I had never considered before, and so it was interesting to read the cpd23 post on how other libraries are using it to publicise opening hours, for example. In all honesty, it would certainly come in handy when we run the many training sessions for new trainee lawyers every September - November, but other than that, I am not sure how much it would be used - simply because we are a very different kind of library to one which is in a university, or a public library. Our users are all internal and are well aware of the general time frame that we are in the library. Secondly, we don't run 'events' in the way that another kind of library would, so other than the group training sessions we run every so often, I don't really think it's something we would get a lot out of.

I don't mean to sound like an old-fashioned killjoy - I fully appreciate the benefits of having a calendar online that everyone can access and it certainly makes setting up meetings at work a lot easier, because you can generally see at a glance if someone is free when you are. However, for personal arrangements, I sometimes pop them in my work diary if I am at work when I make them, but I always try and add them to my paper diary too. I think it's just reassuring for me to have that paper diary close to hand, because I can access that at any time and any where - the same can't always be said for online calendars! Secondly, I think a paper version is more reassuring because it's actually tangible...

I think this is definitely an interesting 'thing' to consider, and while it may not be completely relevant to my particular role in the workplace, at least it's provided me with the impetus to sort out my calendar and get it to appear on my Google page - it's a step in the right direction, and I may try to start adding information to it, at least in terms of personal plans and so on.

Having said all that, despite now having a work calendar AND a Google calendar online, I can't quite bring myself to give up my little paper diary quite yet...!

Image provided by:


  1. Glad to know I'm not the only one hanging on to my 'old-fashioned' paper calendar!

  2. I'll likely never give up a paper calendar/planner, as I think over time they have an archival value not possible with an electronic one, and I like to be able to look back over years. As much as I'd like to be efficient with just the one organizational tool, I find that I end up using many for various purposes, resulting in a bit of chaos when it comes down to synchronizing and all that (yet another task spawned by the situation...). Kudos to you for putting Things on your calendar! I didn't even think of that.