There are some key mistakes to avoid when you create a shared calendar or set up a calendar for your work or organization. Here are the top mistakes to avoid, and a few important tips for how to create a calendar that is secure, flexible, and helpful.
Mistake 1: Rushing in to set up the calendar
The way you use your calendar is what determines the best way to set up your calendar. And when you create a shared calendar, you need to think about how your collaborators will use the calendar, too. Otherwise you might set up the calendar in a way that doesn’t function well for the way the calendar will be used. You don’t want to spend time redoing calendar setup, and you also want your team, staff, or other collaborators to understand and be able to use the shared calendar.
Here are a few tips for avoiding this mistake:
- Function matters! What is the primary purpose of the calendar for your organization? Decide on one priority, and set up the calendar to support that priority.
- Follow the process. Think through each step of the main process or tasks. How do you and your team members accomplish these tasks? How do you flow through the process? How will that process transfer to your calendar? See user stories for ideas and examples.
- Try it out. We have many live demo calendars you can use to test different ways to set up your calendar. They start with different calendar templates and are fully functional with all features enabled. Change anything in the live demos, test out ideas, follow the workflow, and see where it works and where it can be improved.
Mistake 2: Making your calendar too simple
Using a calendar may seem very simple. Why does it take so much thought to get the set up of your calendar right? The truth is that a calendar–especially a shared calendar–is much more than a tool for scheduling meetings or shifts. A calendar is a tool for information reference and sharing, collaboration, complex scheduling, and management of resources, projects, and personnel.
To avoid a calendar set up that is too simple to handle your needs, avoid these common mistakes:
- Putting all events onto one overloaded sub-calendar. Your Teamup calendar can contain multiple sub-calendars. Use sub-calendars to categorize different event types or calendar uses.
- Using too many and/or unorganized sub-calendars. Avoid creating a long list of sub-calendars that are more specialized than you need. Use folders to group sub-calendars together for easy organization.
- Using one master calendar when you need multiple master calendars. In some cases, such as managing multiple regions or large departments, it makes more sense to create a separate Teamup master calendars for each region, department, etc. See this article to determine if multiple master calendars might work best for your needs.
Mistake 3: Making your calendar too complicated
On the other hand, you don’t want to create a shared calendar that is so complicated no one uses it! Necessary complexity helps; unnecessary complexity confuses.
- Watch out for too many layers of organization: if you see empty sub-calendars and nested folders which never get opened, you may need to simplify your calendar setup.
Try to make it easy for yourself (and others) to work with the calendar. The more decisions and steps required, the longer it takes to complete a process. Require information that is really necessary; avoid asking for extra details that serve no purpose.
- Watch out for duplicate functionality: if you use sub-calendar to identify team members, you don’t need to create a custom event field to do the same thing.
If using the calendar the way you have it set up continually requires intervention from the calendar admin, try to simplify. Get things working rather than perfect. Once it’s working, you can adjust and improve.
Mistake 4: Forgetting about the users
To create a shared calendar that functions well, think about your calendar users. Many calendar administrators know in great detail all that needs to be done with the information and scheduling. But others who use the calendar may not know the processes, information flow, and other details as well.
Consider those who will use the calendar–both within your team and in a more limited way (clients, customers, contractors). If you will share your calendar publicly or with a large group, consider what these more public users will understand and how you can make calendar user easier for them.
Some factors to check to avoid confusing or frustrating users:
- Are you using codes or unknown abbreviations to name sub-calendars? Name sub-calendars clearly.
- Are the sub-calendars clearly categorized? Try using folders to organize sub-cals.
- Are there many events irrelevant to the main users? Place these events on a separate sub-cal that is not accessible to all users.
- Are there special instructions for how your team should use the calendar? Customize the About box with these details.
- Are there too many options for a public or group calendar? Use link parameters to create a streamlined calendar view.
Mistake 5: Giving all calendar users the same access
When you create a shared calendar, it’s very important to think about what each calendar user needs to do. You can set up the calendar so that users can access and do only what is needed for their role. Otherwise, you may accidentally share confidential information with unauthorized individuals: avoid this by selecting which sub-calendars each user or group can access.
Next, consider which level of access to give each user or user group. We recommend starting with a lower access permission; then increase the level if needed. Read about the access permission levels here.
One very important note is administration level access to the calendar. Anyone with administrator access to your calendar can access all calendar settings. This gives them complete control over the calendar. Of course you want to be very careful. Only give administrator access to authorized individuals who need it (and know how to use it.)