Using time blocking with Google Calendar is a great way to work. But what if you have to move things around? In this video, Scott Friesen shows you how a free AI app can make time blocking so much easier (and productive). Get ready to fall in love with Google Calendar!
I've just finished time blocking out my week, and I'm excited to get started, but wait a minute, I just forgot that this meeting with Ted has been pushed back an hour. I'm going to have to drag this, and does that mean I'm going to have to miss my lunch or start to drag this around, and play that game of Tetris with my calendar? Nope, because in just a few seconds, AI will automatically move my lunch to an appropriate time, which I've already specified. And best of all, I can do this with any of my meetings or important tasks. Let me show you how. If you've had any experience with time blocking or time batching, you know by moving one thing on your calendar, that often means you have to shift or move a number of other things on your calendar, as well. Well, with the help of AI, that no longer is the case. What I'm using today is a free tool for Google Calendar users, and it's called Reclaim.ai, allowing us to reclaim that much more time and that much more sanity when it comes to managing our calendar. And best of all, we can do this for more than things just like lunch or catching up at the end of the day, we can do this for our most important tasks, as well. So let me show you what's going on. Here, I am within my Reclaim account, and here you can see my Google Calendar just in a slightly different format. And the difference that you'll see here within my Reclaim interface is that I have a number of things here that have this dotted line border, including most of my lunches, including the one which I moved, or should I say, AI, automatically moved for me, so I don't have to give up my lunch on Wednesday. These are habits which I have created, and I've told Reclaim that I want to make sure that these three things happen every day as much as possible and to move things around in case a meeting gets double booked, or if I have to shift things on my calendar. So if I go back to my Google Calendar here, and let's say that I'm talking with Ted, and he says, "Actually, it's fine. I can still meet earlier in the day. Let's move this to, oh, I don't know. Let's move this back to 11:00 AM," it may not move my lunch immediately. I have noticed that the sink may take a few seconds up to maybe 30 seconds in duration, but now, you can see my lunch has been moved back to my desired time, and no, I didn't click anything. I didn't extend it back to a full hour. It knew that I want to break for a full hour for lunch, so it automatically did the work for me. Back in our Reclaim interface, I'm going to click on Habits to show you exactly what is going on. Here are the three habits, which I've set up, a morning catch up and afternoon catch up for email, and then also a lunch break during the middle of the day. And you can see that I've specified that I want this catch up to happen sometime between 8 and 10:00 AM every day of the week and a duration of 15 to 30 minutes. My afternoon catch up is a little different. I want it to be 25 minutes, but it can happen anytime between 1:00 PM and 6:00 PM. And then here is my lunch. It can be as little as 30 minutes, as much as an hour, and I'd like it to happen between 11:30 and 2:00 PM. So I've given it a little information, some simple parameters upfront, so that it can adjust these habits when I move things around on my calendar. Now, here I can click a new habit, and create maybe some deep focus work if I want to make sure that I spend maybe a full hour on my most important projects, maybe I want to fit in some daily exercise or maybe it doesn't have to be daily. I can schedule it in some other frequency. I can set that up here, as well. But Reclaim has also made it very easy for us by creating a number of templates, so you want to fit in reading every day. You can add that to your calendar. Maybe you want to add some retrospective planning or maybe you want to fit in some strategic planning. This case, not weekly, but maybe two to four hours a month. Reclaim can help you find the best time, and make sure that you fit that directly into your calendar, but don't think that this just has to do with habits. We can also use reclaim.ai for working on our most important tasks. If we jump back into Reclaim, and if I click on the tasks area, here you can not only see that I can create my own tasks within Reclaim, but better yet, Reclaim integrates directly with Google Tasks, Asana to Doist, Clickup, and many other popular task management and project management tools. So in our example, I am using Google Calendar, and I'm also making use of Google Tasks. So if I come up here to the top right hand corner, I'm going to switch on tasks. And because I've already set up my sync with Reclaim, I have a new list here called "Reclaim". Here I can either start to add my own tasks, which will automatically start to appear, and be blocked out within my Google Calendar, or what might be easier is if I take existing lists that I have, and I can drag them into my Reclaim list. So before adding other tasks directly to my calendar, let's go back to the Google Calendar view. Here, you can see that I have this first task, the only task that I have in my Reclaim list, and it's got me set up to start working on this, well, rather shortly. But if I go back to the task itself, you'll see that actually it's not due until tomorrow. This, I think, is the beauty not only of time blocking, but of working with Reclaim. Yes, it's due tomorrow, but that doesn't mean I want to be working on it tomorrow. That means I need to finish it by tomorrow. So Reclaim is going to try and put it in the earliest slot, so I can make my deadline. And remember, just because Reclaim has put something on your calendar, it doesn't mean that it's blocked off for other people to book time with you. You'll notice that there's this free emoji on most of my Reclaim items here. That means that even these lunches that you see here are not blocked off for other people. So if I have a public booking app such as Calendly, they could still book me in this slot if I had made it available, and that's the same for this task. That's the same for my morning catch up and my afternoon catch up. The one difference here is you'll see that this lunch is now locked. The reason being is that I had said, if this has moved around more than two times, I want to lock it into place, meaning, I want it to happen. You can set up those types of rules and priorities, which I'll show you in just a moment in the Reclaim interface. But in this example, I have just the one task listed here. Let's go back to our Google Tasks, and I'm going to drag in three more tasks. Now, two of them have due dates with them already, but I'm also going to drag in this one here, which does not have a due date. Jumping back to our calendar view, you can see that all three of those tasks have been added to my day today and not in just some random order. If I come over here to the side panel and show you those tasks, again, you can see that we already had the one that is due tomorrow, that was already listed here at 10:00 AM, but then what is due on Wednesday is up next. What is due on Thursday is listed after that. And then the one that didn't have a timeframe or a due date attached to it has still been added, because I want to get that accomplished, but it has been added later on, the last thing for today. I can still make changes and drag things around here within my calendar, but this is a fantastic way for me to make sure that I have time to work on my most important tasks. And to make things even easier, we can come up here to the new priority section, and tell it what we want it to prioritize, whether we're talking about our habits or whether we're talking about our tasks, as well. So for example, by default, it is putting all of my tasks as a high priority, but maybe this summer proposal, which I don't have a due date, is a lower priority. I can drag that one over here, but maybe this one, which is coming up soon, is a high priority or a critical priority. I can drag that one over here, as well. By adjusting your priorities appropriately, you are telling Reclaim how to best handle both your tasks and your habits when it comes to changing things or when other meetings are booked within your calendar. Now, I'd love to hear from you next, what are your biggest issues when it comes to time blocking on your calendar? Be sure to let me know in the comments down below. Thank you so much for watching today's video, and remember, being productive does not need to be difficult. In fact, it's very simple.
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