A Free Google Calendar Tool to Meet your Workflow Deadlines

A Free Google Calendar Tool to Meet your Workflow Deadlines

I am a serial procrastinator, I will do it tomorrow is a common theme. However my goal this year is to meet my deadlines! Nothing is more unprofessional than missing a deadline for a client. With Google Calendar and a simple Excel / Google spreadsheet file I am able to schedule a multi-deadline schedule in a few clicks.

Google calendar has the ability to import calendar entries via a CSV file (which is a spreadsheet). With some simple excel formulas I have created a template that will add a calendar reminder for each step in my workflow and help me meet my deadlines. After I enter the Bride and Groom's name and the wedding date the excel formulas fills out the remaining dates and creates my timeline. The dates are created off a -/+ date range from the wedding date (which acts as the anchor point), I have this -/+ date in the description field.

excel

close up

Once the formulas are calculated I save the excel sheet (or google doc) as a CSV file for uploading. Open your Google calendar and navigate to the gear on the top right and then settings.

saveas

settings

Once here click on calendars and then import calendar.

import

Select the CSV file for uploading and the correct calendar to add the events to.

import1

Once imported you will get a message that confirms upload or tells you the events have already been created.

failed

All the events have been uploaded and added to your calendar. Now time to do some work!

fstoppers-workflow-schedule

Click here to download my excel template. Click here to download and edit from Google Docs

Feel free to edit the formulas and text to match your workflow. My Formulas are located in the cells in Columns A,B, and H. You can also delete all the formulas and just do a mass dump of dates on your Google Calendar.

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20 Comments

Fantastic advice! For those that are wondering - looks like outlook.com also supports importing of csvs (although I haven't tried this).

Good stuff! I definitely plan to use this and add it as a regular client task.

One thing I'm doing to improve is adding another sheet to my spreadsheet of clients, then have it copy across the client name and wedding date. A small improvement but it will make it slightly faster. I still have to figure out the right function to use though...

Jerrit Pruyn's picture

You would just have to point the data point to the name or date on a different sheet. It would be easy. It would allow you to have all your data on one sheet. Here is the other tool I use to keep track of my workflow, the calendar will just remind me and set dates to it. http://fstoppers.com/using-trello-to-manage-my-photography-workflow

I love Trello! I hadn't remembered that it was you that wrote that other article, but that got me started with Trello as well.

I do have my calendar dates on a different sheet. I haven't quite perfected near automation yet, but I have an idea for a solution that will be pretty close to airtight. I'll post it here when I figure it out. :)

Jerrit Pruyn's picture

I just found this, you might be able to get your google spreadsheet to do some more work for you. https://zapier.com/zapbook/google-docs/trello/3552/create-trello-card-fr...

OK! I'm pretty sure that I found out the perfect nerd-solution to doing this even to the highest level of automation that Google Docs allows (that I know of).

The way I'm doing it is tacking an extra sheet onto my existing Client Details Google spreadsheet. This sheet (called "Clients") contains client names, payment history, balance, what their package contains, etc.

I'm using one row in the Clients sheet to choose which client that I'd like to select by adding an asterisk. With a few formulas, the * is all I have to type! :) The attached image is how I set it all up.

Jerrit Pruyn's picture

Nice! I like the reminder for the one year anny. I am going to add invoicing reminders on mine as well.

Scott Madrigal's picture

Sorry if i'm a little confused. Do you make a separate spreadsheet for every wedding or one spreadsheet with a long list of bookings. And if it's a long list of bookings will Google's Calendar auto-update from the linked CSV?

Jerrit Pruyn's picture

I will just do 1 wedding at a time when I book it, however if you copy and paste the cells over and over it should carry the formula over. Then just fill in the anchor points. I would verify the data before you upload it.

Spencer Lefevre's picture

So I'm guessing you must be really good with Excel Spreadsheet formulas. I can easily see how this is super effective and helpful, but the formulas are messing me up now with modifications.

Jerrit Pruyn's picture

I am no expert, but let me know what you are trying to do and I will see if I can help.

Spencer Lefevre's picture

Well If I modify the Date on "Start Date" it's not updating the "Reminder Date". So I would need to change the reminder dates to be let's say 7 Days prior to the Start Date. And the description from what I am seeing is where you're showing the +/- functions of reminder. So how would I re-configure the Dates to make it populate for Google Calendar.

Jerrit Pruyn's picture

I have the reminder date (column h) set to copy the date from the start date (column b). Example formula =(B3) . The -/+ dates on description are just notes(column k), I ended up putting the -/+ date in the formula in column b. Example =(B2+7). B2 is the wedding date or anchor point. Does that make sense? Are you doing this on google or excel?

Spencer Lefevre's picture

Huge thanks Jerrit! Was able to figure it out now. Thanks

Spencer Lefevre's picture

Hey Jerrit, Any Idea why Excel gives me an error of Filename.csv may contain features that are not compatible with CSV (MS-DOS). I tried to still save and import into Google and all failed. Just wanted to check before doing some research.

Jerrit Pruyn's picture

I have the template I made in xlsx file format, you need it in the format to do the calculations. When you save the file make sure you select save as CSV comma delimited. This is really just a simple text file and google can read this. I think you might be saving as CSV MS Dos and they might be different.

Spencer Lefevre's picture

Question for you, Google Imports and processes the file and added the events, it turned on reminders but not for the days ahead. I have it set to remind me a few days ahead. Based on forums I've read, this is a common issue. Have you had any issues?

Jerrit Pruyn's picture

I did just read there is an issue with it, I look at my calendar so much this isn't to bad... http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/calendar/xNFPwHV9NY8

Spencer Lefevre's picture

Worked for me. I also look at my calendar a lot. I actually just created a separate calendar then changed the notifications on that one only. Both show on my phone and on the web interface. Thanks for the support as well! I'm sure my actual employer despises I just did this all during my shift.

sweet - thanks - ive turned down other studio software because they dont
have a proper workflow setup (ie 3 days after shoot - do this) as well
as not having the ability to have multi-stream tasks (ie album design
can occur at the same time as ordering prints)... i was dreading setting
up something in a dbase but this is so much easier and faster and best
of all - plugs into google! thanks so much for sharing!