Google Calendar Pro Tip: How to Set Helpful Reminders and Alerts

Google Calendar is an incredibly useful scheduling and time management tool. With robust features for creating events, setting reminders and alerts, and sharing calendars, Google Calendar helps you stay organized.

As a long-time user of Google Calendar myself, I’ve discovered many helpful tips and tricks for customizing reminders and alerts over the years. Setting the right reminders can make sure you never miss an important meeting or deadline again!

In this article, I’ll share my top pro tips for setting helpful Google Calendar reminders and alerts to boost your productivity.

Get Started with Reminders

Google Calendar enables you to set default reminders as well as custom reminders for each event:

  • Default reminders: Set default reminders for all new events added to a calendar under the Notification settings in Google Calendar Settings. These serve as the starting reminders which you can then customize further for each event.
  • Custom reminders: For each individual event, you can customize the reminders to be different from the default reminders if needed under Event details.

Customize Default Reminders

Set helpful default reminders for all your calendars to get started:

  • Navigate to Settings > Notification settings in Google Calendar.
  • Set the first default reminder under Notifications. I recommend 15 minutes before events.
  • Click Add notification to set additional reminders if needed. For example, you may want reminders 1 day before and 1 hour before events.

You can also enable Email notifications in addition to the pop-ups.

Set Custom Reminders Per Event

While default reminders work for most events, you may need custom reminders for important meetings or deadlines.

Here are some examples of helpful per-event reminders you can set:

  • 1 week before for meetings where you need to prepare documents or presentations
  • 1 day before to review notes and meeting agenda
  • 2 hours before to leave on time for an important in-person meeting
  • 15 minutes before online meetings to set up your camera/mic
  • 5 minutes before interviews or speeches to calm your nerves

To set these custom reminders:

  • Go to the event details and click Add notification under the existing reminders
  • Choose how long before the event you want to be reminded and the method (pop-up, email)

Smart Tips for Reminder Times

Here are some smart strategies you can use when picking reminder times:

Reminders for Preparation

  • 1 week before: Enough time to prepare documents, presentations, proposals, etc.
  • 2 days before: Review notes, create talking points, print or download files
  • 1 day before: Confirm meeting links/numbers; charge devices; set out relevant files

Reminders to Leave on Time

  • 2 hours before: For meetings farther away to account for traffic and parking
  • 1 hour before: For meetings within driving distance
  • 30 minutes before: For meetings nearby or calls/video conferences

Reminders to Join Meetings

  • 15 minutes before: Log into conferencing apps, set up camera, microphone, screenshare
  • 5 minutes before: Mute mic, turn off notifications, have talking points ready
  • 1 minute before: Join meeting room/call a few minutes early

Location-Based Alerts

Another Google Calendar pro tip is to set location-based alerts for in-person meetings and events:

  • When creating or editing an event, click Add notification > Location
  • Enter the location for the meeting under Alert at location
  • Set when to trigger the reminder prior to arriving at the location

This ensures you leave with enough travel time to arrive early.

Recurring Meeting Reminders

For recurring meetings like weekly status calls or daily standups, enable Default reminders in Settings.

Google Calendar will automatically apply the default reminders to every occurrence.

However, you can also customize reminders for specific instances of recurring meetings when needed. The custom reminders will override the default reminders just for that occurrence.

Calendar-Specific Reminders

If you use multiple calendars, you can set different default reminders per calendar:

  • Go to Settings > Settings for my calendars
  • Click on a calendar name and set reminders under Event notifications

For example, you can set an earlier first reminder for your work calendar compared to your personal calendar since work meetings are usually more urgent.

Get Reminders on Mobile

Make sure you enable notifications for the Google Calendar app on your phone to also receive reminders on-the-go.

You can customize notifications based on calendar under app Settings.

Intelligent Assistants for Reminders

Finally, take advantage of Google’s intelligent assistants for reminders:

  • Google Assistant: Add events to your calendar by voice command. Ask Google to set reminders for you.
  • Google Tasks: Create tasks with due times, which automatically create calendar events with reminders.

So there you have it – my top pro tips for setting helpful Google Calendar reminders! Start planning your days more effectively with customized alerts. What other reminder best practices do you recommend? Let me know in the comments!