The iPhone calendar can keep you on track throughout your day, but very few folks actually use it. Instead, keeping daily calendars on stickies, the work computer, the paper planner or the front of the fridge. I’m the first to agree there can be challenges in syncing between the many work day planner options but for the rest of us that use Mac or iCal options it is always at our finger tips, why not use it?!
A tip I brought forward from my Palm days was to create ‘different’ calendars for different types of items to be on my calendar. Color coding each differently so a quick glance tells me if I’m running to a meeting room or just dialing in.
Don’t for a minute believe the iPhone calendar is all it could be. It is great at keeping calendar items, viewing a week or day (yes, a limited month view too), setting a variety of alarms and repeating occurances. The ability to vary the font and viewing scale is lacking. And, extended information on meetings in a single view is not supported.
When you have a full day, this is what a day view looks like using your iPhone’s ‘list view’:
Another view that is much more popular for seeing the day as one chunk is the ‘Day’ view:
It is nice to have the color coding and see how the meetings stretch across the time of your day.
If the day view is what you spend most of your time in, you may wish to concider the app “Today’s Calendar“. It presents more information about the meetings you have in your built in Calendar’s Day view. No need to have two calendar entries. Today’s Calendar is a separate iPhone Launcher icon though (added feature is the reason).
All of the built in calendar options are available when setting up a new or editing a current calendar item. The time of the appointments are tied directly to the calendar item to help know exact start/end times. As well, there is an icon to let you know which ones have an alarm assigned to them.
Today’s Calendar shows the ‘notes’ text for each appointment item too making that field much more useful. In the built-in calendar, you have to drill into the particular appointment to see the notes. I generally forget to do that till someone asks for what I had made a note about not forgetting.
A nice feature for those that travel or are expected to go to appointments outside of the office or home is the linking to the built in Google map. When you create an calendar item, just fill in the ‘location’ field that the iPhone allows. In Today’s Calendar the address will show up below the appointment like the ‘notes’ do in the above example. See the last appointment of my day in the below screenshot:
Taping the crosshairs next to the address launches Google Maps and automatically does a route for you from your current location to the meeting (huge for those that travel to towns you don’t know!!):
Finally, the additional icon in your launcher for Today’s Calendar to go along with your built-in calendar. This is because Apple has chosen to not have an alert number appear on the Calendar icon like your mail and phone icons get. The Today’s Calendar icon shows you have many things are on your day’s calendar to get done.
If you don’t want extra numbers in your Launcher, you can tune via the app settings area. You can also choose which calendars are shown in the day’s view (remember earlier I mentioned color coding, you could just show your work or home and not the other):
Every highly usable app has to have at least one small item that needs a bit of improvement. This is a really small one, but… in the month view of Today’s Calendar, you don’t get the dots on the days that have appointements like the built-in month view calendar does. What are you doing on a month view anyway? You just using it to get to the day you are wanting to view. The app is called Today’s Calendar after all.