As it turns out, there are a lot of tools for keeping track of your life that are more efficient than sticky notes scattered all over your desk. If you’re looking for one of the best resources around for planning out any and all aspects of your life, look no further than Google Drive.
Hear me out — Google Drive is an incredible tool that’s free, accessible from any tech device at any time, user friendly, and multi-purpose. It offers users flexibility, room for creativity, and access to many integrated apps and tools.
While individual apps or programs might be able to make a single kind of planning easier, Google Drive is an amazing way to customize a planner for every aspect of your life that’s in need of a little organization. From route planners to event planners to your daily schedule, Google Drive has the functionality and accessibility to completely organize your life and help you stay on track with the tasks you need to accomplish.
Really, when you think about it, there’s nothing that a combination of Google Docs, Sheets, Maps, and add-ons can’t do – to prove it, here are six examples of creative Google Drive Planners that we’ve managed to think up so far!
1. Day Planner
Let’s start with the basics. It can be impossible to find a paper planner or planner app that has the exact designs you want. Creating your own virtual planner that can be accessed from Google Drive at any time gives you the freedom to include any prompts and lists you desire.
It may not be as polished as many other Calendar apps, but what this approach lacks in polish it makes up for in customizability and accessibility.
Google Drive allows you to quickly and easily insert all of the information you need about a specific part of your life into a single document in whatever visual format that works best for you. This is also a great way to share your schedule with someone else without worrying about what kind of calendar app they use — no matter what, they will be able to open and collaborate with you on a Google Doc!
- Break up the time slots in your day in a way that is intuitive for you and your needs
- Use colours and text sizes to indicate different kinds of tasks or different people!
- Leave space for notes and tasks that don’t have a specific time associated with them
2. Route Planner
One of the greatest recent additions to Google Drive has been “My Maps”, which allows you to create maps that are more than just a way to get from Point A to Point B. My Maps allows you to add several layers for directions and key points to a route while adding as much detail as you want to.
Creating a virtual trip planner can be so much more effective than any file folder or notebook, and can allow you to have a stress-free travel experience. Google Drive’s My Maps is a fantastic way to design a planner that makes sure you hit all of the sight-seeing destinations you want while also giving you immediate access to any notes you make during the planning process when you’re en route.
- Include hotels that you’ve booked, restaurants you want to try, and sight-seeing destinations along your route so you don’t miss a single one
- Be sure to include important information about hotel bookings and dinner reservations in your notes so that you can access all of this information while you’re on-the-go
- After your trip is complete go back through your Map and add photos of your travels so that it can be a virtual keepsake of your adventures!
3. Interior Design Planner
Google Drive isn’t just for schedules and travel — it can also be used effectively for planning other, more design-oriented, aspects of your life. Floorplanner is a Google Drive add-on that can be used to quickly sketch out design ideas for your home and office. Having a single floor plan is free, but if you like to have more than one floor plan on the go you may want to pay for individual projects or a monthly subscription.
If you’re an aspiring interior designer, are wondering if your couch will fit in a new apartment, have forgotten the square footage of your entryway, or need to show a contractor the space that they’ll be working with, having immediate access to Floorplanner can be a lifesaver! Floorplanner is very easy to use, but also offers plenty of tutorials and how-to’s for new users.
- Keep an up-to-date virtual representation of your house or office on Floorplanner so that you always have access to measurements when you need them
- Floorplanner can be a great way to try out new configurations of furniture in your house without having to overexert yourself
- If you need to re-purpose a space for an event, Floorplanner is a great way to visualize your end result
4. Event Planner
There’s so much information on Google about throwing an event, that you don’t need an event planner. That being said, there’s no denying that planning an event is stressful, and there’s no reason to complicate it further by using inefficient technology in the weeks and months leading up to the big day.
Google Docs and Google Sheets are both excellent tools to use during the planning process, especially because of the freedom that they offer with regards to collaboration. Keep everyone up-to-date with a Google Doc Calendar that highlights important dates, a to-do list that can be updated by anyone at any time, and a Google Sheets budget to keep everyone’s spending in check.
- Use a Google Form for RSVPs so that attendees’ names and information can be automatically sorted into a Google Sheets file
- Make use of Google Drive’s chat tool and comment system to communicate clearly with others involved in the planning process
- Try to minimize the number of files you use to keep conversations and information focused and centralized
5. Hobby Planner
It might seem counter-intuitive to plan out a hobby — after all, they’re supposed to be something you do to relax! With that being said, when it comes to developing a skill (like learning a language or a musical instrument) having a plan written down can help you to use your time effectively and to make huge strides in your abilities!
One of the best benefits to using an online planner to instead of a paper-based one for your hobbies is how interactive your planner can be! The Internet is an incredible resource for anyone learning a new hobby, so instead of just writing down that you want to practice guitar for an hour on Tuesday, include a link to a YouTube video on strumming technique that you want to watch and an image of the chords for a new song you want to learn.
- Include links to any resources you might need to help you with your hobby such as inspiration or tutorials
- Consider having a section for reflection that you can fill out after each session – this can remind you of what you accomplished and guide your next session
- Consider having an overall timeline that can help you keep your long-term goals in sight!
6. Project Planner
Another great add-on for Google Drive is Gantter, a web-based tool that is primarily intended to help managers with online project planning (although it can easily be repurposed for a variety of situations including group projects, event planning, and projects around the home!).
Gantter helps you to break down projects of any size into their anticipated duration and to visualize the steps that are required to see the project through to its completion. Gantter works seamlessly with other software that you may be using to complete your project – important files can be linked directly to the step that they are related to, expected completion dates can be exported to iCal or a web calendar, and project files are easily imported and exported between Gantter and Microsoft Project.
- Assign each of your participants a unique colour to identify the tasks they are responsible for completing
- Use the integrated chat and comment functions to communicate key information
The World of Planners is Yours for the Taking
Google Drive is essentially limitless in its potential. The number of extensions that work with it is constantly increasing. Its functionality does nothing but improve with each update, and it is a tool that is easily accessed by anyone, anywhere.
I do want to acknowledge that there are definitely many other apps available that are specific to the kinds of planners I’ve mentioned here. These apps can be wonderful as well, but I often find that it’s much easier to have everything I need in one online location so that I’m not forced to rely on having a specific app installed on every computer, phone, or tablet that I need to use to accomplish a task.
This list of custom planners is by no means an exhaustive list of what you can accomplish with Google Drive, but it is a great place to start!
Have you used Google Drive as an everyday planning tool? What parts of your life do you think it would be most useful for?
Image Credits:Busy Calendar by hidesy via Shutterstock