I’ve been working remotely for about five years now and I absolutely love it. One of my favorite aspects of working this way is that it lends itself to working flexible hours. I love being able to get in some work at night or when I would have otherwise been driving to and from work in exchange for being able to run errands or go to the gym during off-peak hours. Have you ever tried to go to a gym at 5:00 PM when everyone else does? It’s awful.
Core Hours and Meetings
As nice as a flexible schedule is, it’s also important to spend a good chunk of the day (“core hours”) working at the same time as other members of your team. Similarly, as painful as meetings can be they are sometimes a necessity of working on a team. If you have people working across different time zones, you’ll inevitably have situations where you have a meeting scheduled at a time when you might otherwise have been running an errand, having lunch, or working out at the gym. This occasional disruption to a flexible schedule is a small price to pay for the immense convenience of working from home, but on more than one occasion I’ve forgotten about a meeting only to be interrupted 5 minutes into a workout by a meeting reminder on my phone interrupting the music in my ear buds. I then have to scramble to get back to my house in time to jump in on the meeting. Had I remembered, it would have no big deal to change up my schedule that day to accommodate the meeting; I just forget sometimes. For awhile I tried to mitigate this by setting reminders for all of my one-off meetings that would pop up before I left for the gym, but most of the time I never noticed the meeting reminder on my phone until I got to the gym, plugged in headphones, and went to start playing some music. Thankfully, I stumbled onto a Google Calendar notification feature awhile back that has completely alleviated this problem for me: the Daily Agenda e-mail notification.
Daily Agenda Reminder
If you setup this feature in Google Calendar, you’ll get an e-mail early each morning that just summarizes what meetings you have that day. Some folks advocate against checking your e-mail first thing in the morning, but I always do. I take a quick glance at the daily agenda e-mail and make note of any meetings that might conflict with my plans and mentally adjust my personal schedule for the day. I typically only have a handful (read: less than 10) of e-mails in my inbox, so this one always gets my attention. I just read it, make mental note, and archive it. Since I started doing this I haven’t forgotten about a meeting.
Setting up the daily agenda reminder:
To setup this feature, log into your Google Calendar and use the ‘gear’ pull down menu in the upper right corner to get into the ‘Settings’:
Next, click the ‘Edit Notifications’ link for your calendar:
Then, under the ‘Choose how you would like to be kept up-to-date’ section, check the box ‘Daily Agenda’:
Save your settings, and never miss another meeting!