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Using Calendar to Manage Your Life

I don’t know how many of you know this, but before I started Small Dog Electronics I had a “real” job working as the General Manager of a software company that produced address book software and calendar software. Day-to-Day Calendar was the calendar product that came out before I left the company. So, I know a little about calendars and what goes into making a great calendar product.

I like Apple’s Calendar and I use it extensively. These days I can set calendar appointments directly from email messages or ask Siri to set a date for me. My calendar is always available to me; that same calendar is on my Mac, my iPad, my iPhone and on my wrist on my Apple Watch. Further, with iCloud it is available anywhere I have internet connectivity.

You do have to make a commitment to using calendar, especially if you are a busy person. It won’t do to have just some of your appointments and reminders on the calendar. The best way to use calendar is to make an effort to put them ALL on there.

I have a lot of regular meetings that happen weekly so those time slots are booked as repeating events. I also know that on Thursday I have to write Kibbles & Bytes, so I block that time slot off so I don’t accidentally find myself without time to write.

Let’s go into some of the details of how to use calendar. We all have devices that will not be that useful unless you have the same calendar on all of them. That is the big benefit of iCloud Calendar. So, my first recommendation is to make sure all of your devices are logged into the SAME iCloud account. If you have multiple iCloud accounts you are not going get full benefit from Calendar. Surf to iCloud preferences on each device and make sure you are signed into iCloud with the same Apple ID. Then make sure Calendars is checked in iCloud preferences on each device and you are ready for a unified experience.

Now you can start adding meetings, events, appointments and activities as well as set up event alerts, reminders and notifications. When you add an event you will be presented with a number of options including when the event starts and stops, whether it is a repeating event, where the event takes place, how long it will take to drive to the event, when you should be reminded, etc.

If you add the location, like the name of a major league ballpark, Calendar will fill in the address and show you a map, the weather and when you should leave to get there on time. You can invite meeting attendees and Calendar will send them the invite which can be easily added to that person’s calendar.

You can share your calendar, too! That is especially handy for significant others, kids, co-workers and anyone that needs to know when you are free. iCloud makes that easy. You can also subscribe to public calendars like an academic calendar, the Boston Celtics schedule or hundreds of others that you can find here.

Siri makes calendar even easier. Now that Siri is on the Mac it is easy to say “hey Siri, set up a meeting with Emily for Tuesday at 2” and bingo it is added to my calendar and an invite is sent to her. Or you can ask Siri when your next meeting is or just to tell you your schedule when you wake up in the morning.

Apple Calendar plays well with others, too! You can set up Calendar to work with Apple’s iCloud, Google Calendar, Microsoft’s Outlook, and even CalDav calendars from your own or your company’s servers. Because iOS has a unified calendar database, whatever you add or change in Apple Calendar will also be reflected in any third-party calendars you have and vice-versa.

This is just an overview of the many features of a very powerful Calendar. I think as you get to know Calendar you will, as I do, find it an indispensable part of your digital lifestyle. I do remember the days of paper organizers, I carried one around for a very long time and I just do not know how I could manage without Calendar, now.

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