In this Age of Apps, there’s nothing we like more than bells and whistles. We like alerts and syncing. We like voice commands, color palettes, and a host of other fancy features.
Scheduling apps and software get released all the time, but many of these digital 'time savers' take hours to set up. We want all the features, but are frustrated with what it takes to make them work. Ultimately, we’re left with a quandary: Why do so many digital calendars suck?
The modern calendar has come a long way from sundials and dry-erase boards, but who says the functionality of Microsoft Outlook really beats out the pre-iPhonean medium of pencil and paper? Since when did logins, help sections, and color codes help us save our precious task-scheduling minutes?
Luckily, some digital calendars and to-do tools do the trick. Let’s take a look at some apps that don’t require spending time to save time.
Schedule Once is designed for those of you with busy professional and personal lives, syncing with your Google Calendar (as well as Outlook, iCal, etc.) to ensure you don’t ever double-book. The interface is simple, easy to use, and setup is a breeze. The good news is that you won’t even have to abandon your current scheduling method—you can use Google Calendar at home and Outlook at the office and you’ll still have access to a comprehensive, simplified version of your calendar. Awesome.
The beauty of the pencil-and-paper scheduling method is that in order to remove a “to-do” item, you have to deal with it. You can erase it or you can throw the paper out, but you have to look at your task in the eye for a brief moment. This means you can’t clear your schedule without reminding yourself of what needs to be done.
Checkmark takes that same principle and makes it digital. You assign yourself tasks at home, at work, at school, etc., and notifications of incomplete tasks stay bright and red until you’ve accomplished them. Better yet: you save money on pencils.
This App doesn’t just remind you. It pushes you. Jerry Seinfeld used to have an old productivity trick: he would buy a calendar, set a daily goal for himself, and draw an “X” every day he accomplished that goal. His idea was that if he simply never broke the chain of “X’s,” he would remain committed to his tasks.
It’s a tried-and-true method. And Streaks takes that same principle and digitizes it for you, giving you the ability to maintain your streak of red, turquoise—any color, really—X’s once you accomplish your daily tasks. This saves you from having to buy a paper calendar while giving you the same satisfaction for a job well done.
No frills, easy syncing with Outlook and iCal, quick appointment adding—yep, Google Calendar hits about every major point on the time-saver’s checklist. And considering that it easily syncs up with that Gmail account you’re already using—as well as the rest of the Google universe—it’s perfect for birthday reminders and remembering when you have to go to that Friday night wine tasting. If you want an easy and free service, Google Calendar should be the center of your online calendar galaxy, if not the whole dang shebang.
There are apps and tools out there for every entrepreneur and small business owner, so if these don't strike your fancy, there's probably something else for you! Save time by keeping an organized, detailed, and easy-to-use calendar.
What scheduling apps and calendars do you use? Do you have any insights for other business owners? Please share in the comments below.