Multiple Calendar Query

Here’s a (rather long) question for the Google Calendar devotees out there:

I’ve long had a personal Gmail account that I’ve done all my scheduling through. (I can’t remember what prompted me to switch my calendaring from the iCal/Mobile Me suite, but it probably had something to do with sync failures.) Anyhow, being a little fastidious, I’ve got multiple calendars set up in that account, each with its own color, so that I can see at a glance the distribution of my time across any given day/week. There’s a calendar (orange) for exercise, a calendar (purple) for personal stuff, and so on, and of course the main account calendar (blue), which I use for work-oriented appointments.

It’s been a system that’s worked fairly well for me. Until now!

The good news is that my work email and calendaring system has recently moved from one that I found bizarre and unfriendly (cough***Lotus Notes***cough) to the familiar and functional world of Google Apps. And the even better news is that as my colleagues move into the new system, we’re using Google Calendar for lots and lots of scheduling, so calendars are openly shared (full information, not free/busy) throughout the office.

And this is great; I love knowing when my colleagues are available, and I love that they know the same about me. But what I’m struggling with is how to simplify my scheduling across these two accounts as much as possible, without announcing every yoga class or personal appointment that I have to all of my colleagues.

I’ve shared my personal calendars with my work account and vice versa, so that everything appears in and can be manipulated from both accounts. And I’ve made it possible for my colleagues to see my free/busy status on those personal calendars. But I think that they’d have to subscribe to each of those calendars in order to get all of the information, which isn’t ideal.

What I’m wondering is whether I need to collapse all of the calendars in my personal account down into the primary calendar (and then use the recently introduced ability to set a color for an individual event to maintain the visual distinction I like), so that my colleagues only have to subscribe to my work (full info) and personal (free/busy) calendars to get the full picture.

Or is there a better way? Multiple-account-holding Google folks, I’d love to know how you’re dealing with your calendars…

01 September 2012 by KF | Categories: tinkering

Comments (2)

  1. A bleg that’s way too long for Twitter; help me, lazy web! New post: Multiple Calendar Query. http://t.co/YXG3ZMRp

  2. I’m not going to claim “better way”; I’ll just describe what I do. There’s definitely a manual-step in this, but over the years I’ve yet to find where the aggregated time taken in that manual step is greater than the time taken to find a technical solution. That’s perhaps more because I’m quick/time doesn’t even register than because there _isn’t_ a solution, but I don’t know.

    * personal account (gmail.com): all non-work related appointments, time blocks, etc

    * work account (company domain w/ google apps): all work-related appointments, time blocks, etc

    * how I view my calendar, on phone: typically I have all the calendars turned on (my personal, my work, partner’s personal)

    * how I view my calendar, on desktop: at work, typically through the g-apps cal view, with gmail cal visible (so I get alerts for the g-apps cal view); at home, typically through the gmail cal view with g-apps cal visible (the point here is that no matter if it’s one click to view gmail cal or g-apps cal, it’s still the “right” calendar for the context, and it’s still just one click).

    *because no matter how I’m looking at the calendar (iow, no matter which is the primary), they’re linked such that I can copy one to the other in one click (“copy to my calendar”), if I need to block off a personal time block in the middle of a workday.

    All of that is to say: I still maintain separation of personal and work account. I see what I need to see, work people see what they need to see, and if there’s something on the former that needs to be on the latter _for the work people to see_, then I copy it. But it’s not often that’s the case (a couple times per month?), so the fake-myself-out view of the calendars all-in-one for me, works (for me).

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported This work by Kathleen Fitzpatrick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
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