The 5 Google Apps I Use to Better Run my Household
July 9, 2018
While I’m an iPhone user, I’m a big fan of GSuite (formerly known as Google Apps). The suite of products are designed to work together. And yes, they all are great for business.
But, I’m also a parent with a full-time job. So, yes, I use them for business. But in this article, I’m going to share with you why I love GSuite to help keep my household running as smoothly as it can.
Google Calendar – create one per child
In Google Calendar, create a separate, secondary calendar for each child by clicking the plus sign and selecting New Calendar.
When creating a new event, choose the appropriate calendar from the drop-down list.
You’ll end up with a calendar that looks a little bit like this, the color difference makes it easy to see who has what appointment. And you can toggle on and off each calendar, so if you only want to see your events, you can hide everyone else’s.
The real beauty of this plan is sharing a child’s calendar with a spouse, partner or caregivers that may need the schedule, without having to share your own calendar entries and schedule along with it.
Click the three dots next to the child’s calendar and select Settings and Sharing to share with a caregiver.
Even on a mobile device, you can create new appointments for your children this way. This is the standard iPhone calendar app.
At the bottom of the new event screen, there is a drop-down list where I can choose the calendar. You’ll see here, it’s adding this new event to Kerri’s calendar. The addition will be instantly sent to whoever I shared this calendar with.
Recommended Course: Google Calendar Essential Training
Gmail – multiple tabs and the Snooze feature are your friend
Gmail has a tabbed Inbox style that separates social media updates from purchase and trip emails, while still leaving the primary tab for your most important correspondence.
To use the tabbed interface, click the gear icon and select Configure inbox.
If you purchase regularly from sites like Amazon, those emails can clutter up an Inbox super-fast. Keeping transactional emails in their own tab allows you to still make sure the purchases are accounted for, while not getting overwhelmed with email.
The Snooze feature is fantastic for trips, purchasing tickets ahead of time, and summer camp confirmation emails. Snooze the confirmation email until a week or a few days before the event to get a reminder, or to print out tickets.
Recommended Course: Gmail Essential Training
Google Voice – get transcripts of voicemails for efficient call screening
Google Voice allows you to get a local telephone number, completely free, that’s different from your currently landline or mobile number.
While the number can be kept completely separate, it can also be linked to your existing mobile number, so when someone calls your existing number, Google’s voicemail will take over. The beauty is the text message and email transcription of your voicemails in addition to the usual audio recording.
Most of us have been in a situation where we can’t answer the phone. In fact, in my life, it’s becoming the norm rather than the exception to screen my calls when out in public to save a conversation for private.
The very unspoken “but” is when I wonder if it’s my daughter calling and if she’s OK. As both my Apple Watch and phone displays text messages, I can usually sneak a glance at either one right after the phone rings to get the quick rundown of what the voicemail message was about. Even if the transcription isn’t clear, it’s usually clear enough to let me know if I need to hightail it out of there or not.
The extra bonus is the email transcription – with the ability to Snooze an email with Gmail, I can snooze a voicemail email, and bounce it back as a reminder that I need to return the call.
Recommended Course: Google Voice Essential Training
Google Hangouts – the most efficient way to stay in-touch with loved ones
Google Hangouts is a messaging, video and SMS chat app that can be installed on any device or desktop. In fact, it’s the desktop aspect that I particularly enjoy.
It’s nice to be able to check in with my spouse and child right from my desktop at work straight to their mobile device, no matter where they are.
While desktop apps are available, Google Hangouts is built right into Gmail, so you can check for missed notifications while you check your email.
Recommended Course: Google Hangouts Essential Training
Google Maps – use it to save time, even when driving around town
I’ve lived in my town for nearly 18 years. In that time, I’ve happily been driving my daughter to school, to extracurricular activities and to friends, and all places in between.
But, until I needed to get from one of those activities to the next one as quickly as possible, I never thought to see if Google Maps knew of a better route than the one I had been taking. Sure enough, it found a very unassuming windy little road that cut off a decent chunk of time from the way I had been driving previously. Also, it’ll alert you if there is traffic.
So, the next time you think you are a master of where you live, try challenging Google Maps to find a better route. When you have only have a lunch break to get your child to a dentist appointment before heading back to work, every second counts.
Looking for more productivity tips? Check out the course Monday Productivity Pointers.
Other LinkedIn Learning courses you might be interested in are:
- Balancing Work and Life
- Gmail Advanced Tips and Tricks
- Happiness Tips Weekly
- Google Sheets Essential Training
- Communication Tips Weekly