The latest update to Google Calendar adds a handy feature: goals. It intelligently finds time in your schedule for activities you want to do, such as working out, reading, learning a new language or something else. (See also: How to use Google Calendar like a pro.)
It also lets you defer them if something else comes up, and will rearrange if you add a new appointment or meeting.
Note that you can’t use an iPhone’s native calendar app or third-party calendar apps (such as those on Samsung phones). You need to use Google’s own app. You’ll need the latest version of the app on Android or iPhone to get the new feature, but you may well find the ‘Goal’ option is missing as Google is slowly rolling out the Goal feature globally.
It may be that you have the correct version of the app, but the feature hasn’t yet been enabled on your Google account. It’s unclear at this point whether it’s the app or your account. When we tried on an iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S7 in the UK, the Goal option was missing on two separate Google accounts.
If you’re already using a different service for your main calendar, then know that Google Calendar works with iCloud, Exchange and Yahoo! Calendars, which should cover most people. See also: How to sync Google and Outlook calendars.
How to set up a goal in Google Calendar
Launch the Calendar app and tap the red ‘+’ symbol in the bottom-right corner. There should be three options: Goal, Reminder and Event. Obviously, tap Goal.
Now choose Exercise, Build a Skill or a different category.
You’ll then see some options for activities, but you can tap Custom… if what you have in mind isn’t listed.
Then it’s a case of choosing how many times per week you want to do it, for how long and when is the best time of day, including Anytime.
The app will then check your schedule and insert the new activity where it finds spare time, but you can change the time of an individual session if it doesn’t suit.
If you subsequently accept a meeting the conflicts with a goal, that session will automatically be moved. And when you get a reminder a session is due, you can tap the Defer option if you don’t feel like it and Calendar will reschedule it.