Keeping up with a calendar app is one of those things that I need to do, but am too lazy to do. I could maybe keep it up for a few days, but after that I would feel burnt out and just tired of the whole process of opening an app to write down something that I need to do later.
That’s why I felt that I clearly identified with the slogan of Quickcal, which says, “Don’t let creating an event be an event.” Does that catch your attention as much as it did mine? Then read on!
Getting StartedTo get you to know the app, once you start it up for the first time you’ll get a small welcome window describing how to create new events (Cmd+Shift+C) and a brief explanation on how to use the menu bar component of the app. QuickCal will reside in your menu bar and it will by default sync with iCal, although it also has support for Google Calendar as well.
Quickcal isn’t exactly a fully-fledged calendar app; in fact it’s barely even a calendar app at all. Instead, it will help you optimize how you add appointments to whatever calendar app or service that you already use. Let’s see how this works.
How It WorksTo create a new event, you can go into the menu bar and click on the “New Event” button, or you can use the keyboard shortcut that I described earlier. Be careful with that shortcut though, as it is already used by some apps like Google Chrome. The command should bring up a small window with a text box where you can write your event in a natural language (say, “Dinner at 6 pm tomorrow”).
As you type this, below the text box an event will show up with the arranged information that you’ve given to the app. This will show the start and end time (the end time will be calculated automatically, usually one hour later) of your event, and once you finish typing up your information you have the option to just schedule it, open it in iCal, or add another one. That’s it, your event will be added.
Smart Recognition and To-dosOne of the main features of this app is the intelligent recognition of dates, places and set times. You can quickly type in something like “Meeting on Tuesday at 7 pm at my office”, and without having to move anything else it will schedule that meeting from 7 to 8 PM with the said subject, date and place. It’s an easy feature to break, but if you are giving it everyday use it will work just fine, for the most part.
The app is also smart in other ways. For example, it will automatically recognize if you already have an appointment scheduled for the same time that you are trying to create an even. Instead of events, you can also create to-dos, which are handled completely different. You can add them by using the word “by” in your description of the task, and you can prioritize them by adding exclamation marks at the end of them.
Other FeaturesThe menu bar component does more than you might think. Other than letting you add new tasks, it also works as a quick view of your upcoming events and pending to-dos. They are even displayed with the color of the calendar folder that they belong to.
You can also tweak the usual features, like the calendar folder you want your events to be sent to and what features you’d like to activate for each calendar folder. Perhaps the most interesting of the settings is the one that lets you set the reminders by the time at which the event was added. For example, if you add an event more than a week away, you can by default set the reminder for one day before instead of the usual 5 minutes. This also works for events that are a month away.
Calendar apps are a dime a dozen, but Quickcal excels at removing the entry barrier that most calendar apps (in fact, most apps in general) have. You could go into this app knowing nothing about it and having to set up nothing inside it, and it would work wonderfully in more than one sense. It’s a prime example of how you can make an intuitive, automated and very simple app. It reminds me of how the Wunderlist app has been updated, by adding keyboard shortcuts to maximize time and also by making the app sort out stuff by itself, automatically recognizing things like dates.
This app has even made me consider using iCal again. I stopped using it ever since to-do apps like Wunderlist replaced my need for them. But Quickcal makes it very easy and simple to use a calendar again. Some of you might prefer it if it had its own calendar system and if it didn’t rely on iCal or Google Calendars to function, but I think the fact that it integrates with them makes it so much better.
What about you? Do you use calendar apps, and if so, which ones? How do you keep them all in sync, and how do you make them work with your GTD/to-do apps (if you use any)? Let us know in the comments!