There are millions of apps available for iOS and thousands of new ones hitting the App Store daily. But rarely do I stumble across one that changes the way I live like Calendar — a smart time management app, has.
Over the years, I’ve tested out all the top calendar apps and scheduling tools. Unfortunately, none of them actually streamlined my schedule or helped me manage my time better. Most of them function like paper calendars with a few extra bells and whistles.
In that way, Calendar reminds me of Zoom or HubSpot. Sure, other conference calling apps existed before Zoom — but there’s a reason everyone made the switch immediately. Apps that actually make life easier get adopted.
Soon, everyone will expect Calendar’s features and perks from every scheduling app. I foresee it changing time management in five key ways:
According to one survey, managers and administrative professionals waste 4.8 hours per week scheduling meetings. The reason is, most people are still using old-school scheduling methods, like email and phone calls, to coordinate a time that works for everyone.
Calendar’s smart scheduling system comes at a crucial time. With many companies moving some or all employees to permanent remote work post-pandemic, the need for easy and efficient scheduling is only going to grow.
Being able to send someone a link with no back-and-forth is the easiest way to schedule meetings quickly and save everyone time. Calendar makes coordinating even small conversations a cinch.
With so many of us working from home, the line between our personal and professional lives is getting blurrier. You might go offline at 3:30 p.m. to pick up your kids from school and then open up your laptop after dinner to answer work emails.
Blended calendars make it easier to collaborate, but you shouldn’t be forced to give up your privacy. Just because you don’t work a normal 9-to-5 schedule doesn’t mean you want your co-workers to see that you have a vet appointment on Tuesday and date night on Friday.
Calendar offers the best of both worlds. Its “Connected Calendar” feature ensures co-workers can’t see my personal appointments, but those time slots are still blocked off to avoid the dreaded double-booking. If only I’d had it last year when I accidentally booked a work event at the same time as my niece’s recital.
Tools like Doodle have been around for a while. Until Calendar came along, however, I couldn’t find anything that made it simple to schedule meetings with multiple people.
Most emails setting up a time to meet usually go like this:
I’d like to schedule a time to discuss X next week. What day works for everyone?
What follows is a messy group email chain. A dozen replies may be required to reach a solution, creating headaches for everyone.
Instead, Calendar can crawl my team’s calendars for available time slots. It automatically adjusts for time-zone differences, and it will even send follow-up RSVP reminders so that plans can be solidified quickly.
If old scheduling methods weren’t bad enough, meetings themselves are also a huge drain on our time. Upper management spends as much as 50 percent of their workday in meetings, and businesses waste an estimated $37 billion on unproductive meetings per year.
Especially when you’re living on Zoom, it’s easy to waste the workweek on activities that don’t move the needle. To be a truly effective leader, you need to be aware of how you’re actually spending your time.
Here, Calendar’s time analytics come into play. Just as Screen Time for iPhone allows you to see how much time you spend surfing the web or scrolling through Facebook, time analytics gives you a breakdown of how you spend your days.
Get as granular as you want: Calendar shows you how much time you’re spending in meetings or on certain types of tasks. Soon, it’ll even show you the people who you’re spending most of your time with. If you’re sick of wasting your week in meetings, Calendar might provide the push you need to revamp your schedule.
One of my biggest issues with calendar apps like iCal or Google Calendar is that they’re pretty basic. And to be fair, a free app that comes preinstalled on every iPhone or Android device probably should be geared toward the novice user (like my mother) who only needs a classic calendar.
Any time app developers create a new tool, they have to balance the needs of the majority against the needs of so-called “power users” — a small percentage of people who account for an outsized share of an app’s usage. Calendar is clearly targeting users in this category.
What’s impressed me about Calendar is how it’s evolved over the last six months. Calendar is even working on a feature that will show you where your meetings are on a map and automatically suggest meeting locations. That’ll come in handy when you’re trying to squeeze in a weekday lunch downtown with an old friend.
We’re living in an era of self-driving cars, augmented reality, and AI software that can write like a person. And yet, most of us are still using an online calendar app that’s just a slight step up from the paper version that hangs on the fridge. The way we work is changing faster than ever, and we need a calendar that can keep pace with the times.
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Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.