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The online calendar & planner platform explained 16 min read
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We’re guessing you have a calendar app on your laptop or a planner that sits in your office bag most of the time. But are they really working for you? There’s a better way to organize your tasks, meetings, and more. A tool that allows you to sync with your team and coordinate schedules.

Say goodbye to old fashioned calendars—we’ve got an online calendar planner that can increase team transparency, integrate with your favorite tools, and allow you to see a holistic view of your workload.

In the next few minutes, we will walk you through everything you need to know about online calendars. We’ll talk about what makes a good online calendar app and give you some handy tips for making the most of your online calendar.

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What’s the difference between an online calendar and a planner?

To make your online calendar work for you, you need to know exactly what you want it to do. Are you looking for something that gives you a 30-minute warning before your next meeting? Or would you benefit from a system that provides to-do lists, deadlines, and lets you assign work to your entire team?

There’s a whole range of calendar apps and tools between these two extremes. On the simpler end, you have your basic online work calendars. These are usually free and built into your phone or inbox.

Basic online calendars are good for keeping track of your appointments and sending reminders ahead of time. You might also find features like color coding or setting up multiple calendars, but it doesn’t get much more advanced than that.

On the more advanced end of the spectrum, you have online planners. With a planner, you can create and track to-do lists, deadlines, and so much more — while still keeping an eye on your meetings and appointments just like a regular calendar.

Here’s a snapshot of a calendar widget that allows you to merge with your regular workload to-dos and customize your view, so you can see at a glance what’s coming up. On this platform you can see upcoming meetings and tasks in a calendar view as well as in a spreadsheet showing you who’s responsible for what, when it’s due, and more. calendar widget split view

This level of customization and flexibility is partly why 66% of people have moved to digital, rather than paper or basic planners to track their work.

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3 ways online calendars help you work smarter

Now you might be thinking: are online calendars and planners worth the fuss? Can’t I just make do with a hodgepodge of my Google calendar, that brand-new whiteboard I just installed over my desk, and a year’s supply of sticky notes?

You could do that. But consider that 71% of people who use an online tool to manage their tasks and meetings say it’s easy to see exactly where their projects are — but only 52% of people who use paper planners say the same. Online calendars are the way to go to increase team productivity.

Online calendars and planners can:

1. Increase transparency, efficiency, and communication

With a shared calendar for team projects, every team member can see what is due when and who is responsible for each task. Everyone can track major deadlines, meetings, and project start dates in a single source of truth for your team.

Since 80% of employees are stressed due to poor communication at work, it’s wise to do everything you can to improve transparency among your team members. A shared calendar is step one toward that goal.

When you take it a step further with a robust calendar planner, you’ll improve transparency and efficiency even more. You’ll get better insights into the workings of your team and create balanced workloads that play to everyone’s strengths.

Better insights mean better work planning, which improves your team’s efficiency — and your bottom line.

2. Integrate with other tools to keep everything in one place

When your online calendar is really just a calendar, you end up with a lot of different tools for a lot of different jobs. You’ll have your calendar of course, and then Slack for instant messaging and Zoom for video calls and Dropbox for file storage and…well, you get the picture.

But when your online calendar app can sync with everything else you use, you don’t lose up to two hours of productive time looking for information in a different tool — something that 85% of employees contend with every single week.

Not only do you lose time trying to remember which chat thread had that one piece of information, but you also break your concentration every time you switch to a different window. That concentration can be hard to get back.

With an online planner, you can bring everything into a single platform through built-in integrations. These cover everything from online calendars and communication tools — like the ones shown below — to CRM tools, marketing assistance, and more. integrations

Integrations with your online calendar are the key to no more wasted time switching between windows or hunting down information. That means more time spent on moving projects forward.

3. Show the whole picture on a single interface

We get it — those pretty paper planners are tempting when they fill stores every December. But when it comes to getting a holistic view of your entire workload, they aren’t the most effective tool. And if you need to plan work for an entire team, paper planners become even more unwieldy.

With an online calendar or planner, you can plan work on a daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly time scale with just a few clicks. You don’t need to flip through pages and pages of a paper planner or compare two different desk calendars to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

Online planners also make it easier for you to see how tasks are connected, with options for dependencies, hard deadlines, and more. Plus, some of the best online calendars have a color coding system you can apply throughout all your projects, task lists, and calendars.

By now, we’ve gone over a few reasons why a standard scheduling calendar app might not cut it for your team and why the right online calendar & planner platform might be a better fit. But to really utilize these platforms, there are a few things to keep in mind.

7 tips for making the most of your online calendar

To help you start off on the right foot, here are seven tips for making your online calendar work best for you.

1. Have a clear goal for your online calendar

First step: you need to know exactly what you want to use your online calendar and planner for. Do you need to track meetings? Plan your workload? Juggle personal events and appointments?

Make sure you have a clear idea of exactly what you need for your calendar, and keep it to just those items. If you’re using a shared calendar to manage your team’s work and suddenly this weekend’s dog grooming appointment pops up, things get really confusing really quickly.

Now, you might be thinking that you need to track all of these things — many of us do! But putting everything in a single calendar can quickly get overwhelming, and it might do more harm than good.

You might need different calendar strategies for different needs. That brings us to our next tip.

2. Create separate calendars in a single app

Most comprehensive online calendar apps will let you create more than one calendar. You can use this feature to create calendars for different needs.

For example, you might have a work calendar and a personal one. Or have a master calendar for all of your team tasks, and another for just your individual tasks. You could also create separate calendars for each project, client, or type of work, like this social media calendar template:

social media calendar template from

Creating separate calendars helps you focus on only the most important information at any given time. It also helps keep private things private, like personal appointments or sensitive client information that requires limited access.

Pro tip: look for powerful solutions where you can get full control over who can view or edit each task in your calendar. That means everyone has access to exactly what they need, and nothing they don’t.

And when you need a complete master view, you’ll be able to combine your calendars into one to get a complete look at everything you’ve got going on.

3. Customize your notification settings

Have you ever downloaded an app or set up a tool that sends you notifications constantly? After a while, you barely even notice them — too many notifications aren’t effective at alerting you to what’s actually important.

The same thing happens with your calendar notifications. When you get notified about every single entry on your calendar, you start to miss the ones that are really important.

To make the best use of your notifications feature, customize your settings to only get the most important notifications. For example, you probably don’t need a 24-hour warning about starting that big project you were already planning on spending your whole day on. But a 30 minute heads up to prepare for that major client meeting? That’s a lot more helpful.

Your online calendar should help you reduce clutter, not make more of it. Cutting down your notifications to the essentials keeps you focused on what’s most important.

4. Use time blocking or batching to work more productively

Time blocking is a productivity hack where you plan to work on certain tasks or types of work at a set time of day. It helps maintain your focus and improves your productivity for virtually any task.

This can work in a few different ways. You can block off a couple of hours of time as “Do Not Disturb” in your calendar, allowing you to concentrate on difficult tasks with no interruptions.

Or, you can “batch” your time and work on similar tasks all at once instead of returning to them sporadically throughout the day. For example, you can designate specific times for checking email, reviewing your team’s workload, entering data, or any other tasks you might have on your plate.

No matter which way works best for you, you can use your online calendar to denote these times and plan the most effective way to use your time. When you have a shared calendar, your team can see what you’re working on and when, and adjust their own work accordingly.

5. Use color-coding to organize efficiently

When you’ve got multiple calendars, time blocking, team tasks, personal appointments, and whatever else ends up in your online calendar, you need a quick, visual way to know what’s what. Color-coding, when done well, can give you an instant insight into what’s coming up, how important it is, and what you need to do to prepare.

Check out this example of color-coded phases on a sales pipeline template: sales pipeline template with color coding

Here, the creator used color coding to indicate both the sales stage and the project phase for each client. But there are dozens of different ways you can visually organize your own online calendar. For instance you can:

  • Assign priority levels, with red as the highest priority and green as the lowest
  • Categorize marketing content by topic or channel
  • Label each phase of a sales cycle or project workflow
  • Designate which team is responsible for each task

For color-coding to be most effective in your online calendar, make sure you’re consistent. If you’re sharing a color-coded calendar with others, create a quick cheat sheet to help everyone assign colors according to the same system to avoid confusion.

6. Activate time zones

If you work with a dispersed team or clients all over the world, the time zone feature on any online calendar is a lifesaver. No more accidentally scheduling a 6 a.m. meeting because you miscalculated the time difference. Just easy, simple scheduling at reasonable hours for everyone.

Some online calendars have this feature automatically ready to go, but in others, you may need to manually activate it. Always confirm this feature is set up before you start scheduling that meeting with your team in London or Beijing.

7. Conduct time audits

If you use your calendar to plan every part of your day, from time blocking to meetings to deadlines to reminders of what you’re picking up for dinner, conducting periodic time audits can help you make sure you’re making the most of every minute. What do you want to accomplish in a single day or week, and in what order?

Then, track your time every day and compare what you want your schedule to look like to what you actually do. Find areas that aren’t optimized or where you’re losing valuable time and productivity. Adjust your schedule accordingly, and see how that impacts your productivity.

This is some next-level online calendar work, but trust us — your productivity will thank you.

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The platform that does it all from online planners, calendars and more

If you just need a simple online calendar for appointment and event tracking, a free calendar like you’ll find in your Google account or on your iPhone will technically get the job done. These platforms are great for personal scheduling and a bit of “invite your boss to a Zoom meeting this Friday”-type stuff.

But, to successfully plan your work, whether it’s for yourself or an entire team, you’ll need something a little more powerful than a default calendar you get for free.

This is why we love Work OS.

We’re getting a little ahead of ourselves, though.

Let’s start with the basics: As we said above, Work OS integrates with Google Calendar, Outlook, and Apple Calendar. So no matter what free online calendar you love most, you can incorporate it into’s planner and management platform.

And there are tons of other useful integrations too. You can sync up Slack, Zoom, and more into, allowing you to create tasks from instant messages or receive notifications in your preferred platform.

You can also set up as a typical calendar view, like in this example of an editorial calendar: editorial calendar template

With detailed color-coding features, each entry in your calendar can be assigned a certain status, team, or priority level. These colors will remain intact even when you switch your planner to a different view.

Why a different view? Well, calendar views can be a little limiting when you’re trying to plan work on a larger scale. On the Work OS, you can use a Gantt chart or timeline view to see how different tasks are connected and how long they should take. gantt chart view

You can also rely on a more traditional list view, or even switch to a Kanban board set up. One of the Work OS’ best online calendar planner features is the automation settings. This feature helps you set notifications for completed or updated tasks, create recurring tasks, and more to streamline and update your workflow.

And, if you absolutely love your free online calendar, that’s great. Keep using it, but make sure to integrate it with to get so much more out of it.

The combination of different views, automations, and integrations makes a robust platform for tracking everything you need to keep your work on track. You’ll increase your own efficiency and productivity, and by sharing your online calendar with your team, you’ll provide increased transparency that makes their work better too.

Still have a few questions? Keep reading to learn more about online calendars.

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Online calendar FAQs

How do you create an online calendar?

To create your own online calendar, follow these steps:

  • Decide which calendar app you want to use and create an account
  • Create a new calendar or start with a calendar template
  • Start adding your meeting, tasks, and events
  • Set notifications to be alerted about upcoming appointments

If you’re switching to a new calendar app like Work OS, you can export your existing meetings from your old calendar to your new one.

What should you add to your online calendar?

You can add anything that’s important to your online calendar. Some common items to include are:

  • Work meetings and appointments
  • Tasks and project deadlines
  • Holidays, birthdays, and designated time off
  • Time blocks or designated “do not disturb” signs

Don’t forget to use color-coding for better organization!

How do you share an online calendar?

If you need to share an online calendar with a team or group, follow these steps:

  • Find the “share” button in your calendar interface
  • Copy the shareable link to your calendar, like in the screenshot below.
    • Note: in some calendars, you may need to add the email addresses for the people you want to add.

how to share a calendar in

  • Send the calendar link to the people who need it via chat, email, or another method.

Take your online calendar to new levels today

Online calendars help you stay organized, increase transparency, and work more efficiently — far more than their paper counterparts.

To make the most of your online calendar, consider an advanced platform with detailed planner functionality like Work OS. You’ll bring everything you need into a single interface that you can customize to your exact scheduling needs.

Try using’s online calendar and get organized for good.

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