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Google Calendar’s new Goals will help find you time for self-improvement

Google Calendar turns 10 this year, but the service isn’t ready to rest until it has ordered your entire life into neat chunks. Calendar’s newest mobile feature, announced late last night, is Goals — a way for users to automatically set aside time for self-betterment tasks like learning a new language or working out by telling the app what you want to do and relying on it to find a spot in your busy schedule.

Specify that you want to go to the gym more as a goal for example, and Calendar will ask you how many times a week you’d like to work out, for how long, and which time slot you’d prefer — morning, afternoon, or evening. Then it’ll take a look at your existing calendar, full of meetings, lunch dates, and other immovable objects, and fit your goal into an open space. Users can choose to defer any goals they can’t complete (or can’t be bothered to complete) right now, and the app will move it to a later gap in the day. It will also automatically move any goal event that clashes with something else you manually add to your calendar later.


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Standard goals include “Exercise” and “Build a Skill,” but users can also make custom goals, meaning you can use the app to make time for reading, playing video games, or just generally relaxing. Google says Calendar will also use machine learning to get better at scheduling your Goals activities: if you regularly defer a task that the app keeps setting for the afternoon, for example, it will eventually stop scheduling stuff for that time frame.


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The new feature will help the hyper-organized make holes in their schedules, but Goals does rely on users already having their whole lives planned out in Google Calendar — miss an entry during a day and you could find the app insisting you study French or lift weights during dinner or work hours. If you do need Google to add a little structure to your free time, though, the new Goals are available now in Google Calendar on iOS and Android


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