Putting an End to Bad Calendar Event Titles

A style guide for naming calendar events is just what I needed.

Piotr Bakker
3 min readMar 14

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I like to have a system for everything: how I organize the files on my computer, how I pack my bags when I travel, how I get ready to go to bed, or what day of the week I do the laundry.

Not that you can have a system for everything, but I do want one whenever possible. It saves me time and frees me to think about more important stuff.

One area of my life that has evaded my efforts to systematize so far, though, is how I format calendar event titles. It’s just never been something high on my to-do list. After all, it’s not like the world is going to end if the events in your calendar have funky titles.

But these days you can’t live without a well managed calendar and well formatted event titles play a big part in that. As esoteric as it may sound, calendar event titles are important.

So recently I set aside some time to once and for all figure out how to format any and all events on my calendar. To create my very own style guide for naming calendar events.

It’s hard to come up with a system that covers all the different types of events in a simple yet comprehensive way. But going through my calendar I noticed that there are four pieces of information that are typically present: activity, topic, location, and participants.

Putting it all together into a coherent structure was a jigsaw puzzle in and of itself. But after playing with different formatting variations I settled on the following syntax:

[Activity]: [Topic] — [Location] — [Participants]

Not all this information has to be spelled out in detail each time, though. Depending on the circumstances, listing only the location (like the name of the café or restaurant) or just the names of the participants can provide enough context to let you fully understand the nature of the event.

Here are some examples:

  • Workshop: Marketing Strategy — WeWork Market St — Executive Team
  • Off-site: Marketing Strategy — Farallon Islands — Executive Team
  • Walk: Golden Gate Park — Bruce & Selina
  • Picnic: Golden Gate Park — Bruce & Selina
  • Phill’s Coffee — Bruce & Selina
  • Event Planning — Phill’s Coffee — Bruce & Selina

I summarized these principles in a style guide on GitHub, to keep handy for reference. It’s still very basic but I will keep updating it as I continue to refine the system.

So far the results have been promising. It’s been a month since I first got started and I must say, my calendar looks noticeably cleaner already. I can quickly identify what each event is about and easily look up past events. It also helps me prevent misunderstandings when I send calendar invites to others. Not too bad for a couple of hours of work.

How you format calendar event titles might not seem like a big deal, but I think it does make a difference. I’m glad I finally have a system for it and not have to wing it each time I add a new event. It helps me reduce mental clutter and manage my schedule more effectively. In this day and age, that’s exactly what I needed.

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Piotr Bakker

Product designer and occasional writer 🇪🇺🇺🇸