Managing To-Do's

How to Make Your Google Calendar Notifications Better – Use CalAlarm 2’s More Persistent Alarms

October 30, 2020

I’m Kelly Nolan.
I'm an attorney who'd been decently organized through law school but got quickly overwhelmed as a actual attorney. After nothing else worked for me, I created this system – and kept on practicing law. Years later, I found out others were interested in learning it, so that's what I do now! Let's get this realistic system in your hands so you can start living a life that feels more calm, doable, and that lights you up.
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Your calendar makes your life easier only if you reference it every day. And if you’re like me, you don’t have time to pore over your calendar — you rely on notifications to tap you on the shoulder to remind you of events/action items.  

I love my Google Calendar, but I do have one criticism of it: its notifications.

Despite all playing-with-settings gymnastics, Google’s (and my iPhone’s default) notifications basically disappear before I can read them and its snooze function is pretty worthless.

But, never fear – at least if you’re an iPhone user.

For iPhone users, CalAlarm 2 is a perfect solution — it pesters you until you complete, snooze, or move the reminder. And you’re given multiple snooze/move window options that you can customize.

Think: Outlook desktop snooze function for your phone.

Note: I only use CalAlarm 2 for its notifications function and use Google’s apps for entering/viewing calendar events. 

Here’s how to use it:

This assumes you already have your Google account set up on your phone and, in your phone settings, have granted your phone’s “Calendars” access to your Google account. 

  1. Install CalAlarm 2 on your iPhone.  It costs $2.99 and is worth way more than that.

  2. Go to your PHONE settings and find “CalAlarm.”  There:

    • Allow access to at least your calendar and “background app refresh.”  

    • In “Notifications,” chose how you want it to notify you.  I prefer all three notification options are on – “Lock Screen,” “Notifications Cener,” and “Banners.” I want it to really nag me!  I don’t have it alert me with noise, but you could allow it if you’d like that.  

    • I also recommend turning off the “Notification Grouping” function so you see each separate reminder on your lock screen.

  3. Open the CalAlarm app, and go into its settings (cog wheel in top left of the main screen), and make sure it’s set up how you want it.  Some tips:

    • I like the “open location in” to be set to Google Maps.  

    • I have it nag me “every minute.”  This makes sure I see the reminder, which I can then snooze for a longer period of time if I can’t deal with it right then.

    • I set “snooze” to 15 minutes.  Taking a step back, when you get a notification on your lock screen / banner, you can press down on it and get three options: “Stop,” “Snooze,” and “More.”  Stop means it’ll stop nagging you – i.e., only hit this if you’re done with the event/task.  Snooze means it’ll snooze the event for your predetermined snooze window — which is the “snooze” window you’re setting up here (the 15 minute one).  “More” gives you more options, including snooze windows of other lengths of time.  For example, let’s say you set your default “snooze” to be 15 minutes in the settings.  Later, if you want to snooze a specific event for 45 minutes, you hit the “More” option and then select 45 minutes.  That’ll make more sense once you start using it.  

    • In “Customize Snooze & Move,” you can … wait for it … customize your snooze and move windows.  “Snooze” means the event stays where it is in your calendar and the alert is just snoozing.  “Move” means CalAlarm 2 will actually move the event in your calendar by a couple hours, days, or 1-2 weeks.  You’ll be able to see that move in your actual Google Calendar.   

  4. On the main screen of the CalAlarm 2 app, in the bottom left corner, there’s a calendar icon.  Tap on that.  You can then select which Google Calendar sub-calendars you want to get notifications for.  I allow notifications for all of my calendars, but you could avoid notifications for, e.g., your partner’s personal calendar.

Let me know if you still have questions.  Good luck!

We’ll go over other strategies and tips like this in my group program! Check it out here if you dig this kind of stuff. (I seriously nerd out over it.)

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  1. Tammy Bouchard says:

    Oh my God I’m desperate can you please make it to Android too

    • Kelly Nolan says:

      I understand! I was desperate before too! Check out "Calendar Notifications Plus." I’ve heard it does the same thing for Android. And let me know how it works!

      • Jonathan says:

        I tried it. I can add alarms within the app but for unknown reasons, it doesn’t sync with my calendars at all. Other apps have been able to sync with no issues.. I guess this app is outdated and doesn’t work unfortunately. 🙁

  2. Jeff says:

    Cost is now $3.99 and it appears there is no trial period. Buy this sight unseen.

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