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Color-coding your calendar to improve productivity

Regardless of the online calendar planner you use, you might have noticed that all the entries are added using the same color. Whether you're scheduling your next visit to the dentist or the presentation of your project with the company's vice president, you might have noticed that the default color tends to be blue. At least that is what Microsoft and Google decided.

Google Calendar Default Color

If you are like me, a visual person, looking at a monochromatic calendar is not only tiring but complicated. Yes, I can read the meeting's subject or description to figure out the meeting's purpose. But when your coworkers insist on sending invitations with subject Sync or Meeting, and no meeting's description whatsoever, it is hard to remember who you will be meeting or what information you need to bring to that particular meeting.


Here is where color-coding comes in. After all, we are used to the typical red-green-yellow when presenting the status of our projects. Or how about highlighting in yellow the phrase that you need everyone to read in your email? Using colors to catch one's attention or to represent an idea is not something new. I am applying color-coding to manage my calendar better and to improve my productivity.


Given that I'm not an interior designer, my calendar's color-coding does not follow a color palette or pattern. I only select a color, decide what type of meeting it will represent, and stick to it. I started using orange for the Scrum Stand Up meetings. Then I had a bunch of Demos with users, and those ended up being my yellow meetings. Green represents the meetings to talk about the Requirements. You get the idea.

Color-coded Google Calendar

I don't even have to worry about changing the color after sending or accepting an invitation because I have set up a few rules that automatically add the color to the calendar entry based on keywords in the invitation's subject or description. When putting together the metrics that include the number of demos that the team presented during the iteration, I only have to count the yellow entries. To me, counting the calendar entries with a particular color is way faster than browsing thru the agenda for the word Demo.


Do you use color-coding at work? How has it helped you to be more productive?

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