This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Using Gmail and Google Calendar for appointments

Making, and keeping, appointments is critical to your professional and personal success. In addition to showing that you are on top of things, it shows respect to other people. But remembering appointments seems to be the one of the most difficult things that people do. And while people will smile, and tell you "it's OK, everyone forgets appointments!", they will quietly make a note not to trust you again. Or hire you.

First of all, I don't remember appointments. I remember people's names, I remember what type of dog food my dog likes. Appointments I write down. I have been using technology since I started my career as a graphic designer. Yes, the technology back then was writing the appointments on a calendar that was hanging on my wall, but the point was that I wrote it down and could glance at it whenever I felt like it.

The technology that has been working well for me for the past couple of years is Google Calendar. Yep, I lean heavily onto technology. And if I'm really nervous about it, I'll also write it down on a piece of paper, although I don't do that much. Anyway, the reason I use Google Calendar is that I use Gmail, a lot. And that combination works best for me. This is how to do it:

• Get yourself familiar with Google Calendar. I've used a lot of calendars in my life, and yes, they are all slightly different. And yes, that's annoying. But, grit your teeth, and learn it. It will be worth it. The differences between calendars are as trivial as the differences between cars. I can drive anything. Just give me a little time to figure it out. I started learning Google calendar by putting "practice stuff" on it - like when to put my trash cans out on the street. I am a big believer in learning something by doing something silly.

• Get yourself familiar with Gmail. If you already are, great. If not, do so. Send some messages back and forth to friends. Practice.

Once you are familiar with both Google Calendar and Gmail, you will see how Google Calendar allows you to have an email automatically sent for an appointment. I have been experimenting with this and have found the default (15 hours before) seems to work best.

I look at my Gmail every day. In fact, several times a day, as this is where I do my "monkey chatter" with my friends. I will also check the calendar, but it's the message in Gmail that I really like. It tells me what appointment I have coming up. And I glance at it every time I use Gmail.