Why You Should Replace iCal With Virtual Daily Planner Opus Domini [Mac]

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Do you remember, before the advent of palm pilots, blackberrys and smartphones, carrying around one of those leather bound planners, to keep track of your daily schedule? Opus Domini [App Store Link] is the ideal solution for someone looking for a virtual version of that kind of daily planner.

The virtual daily planner is divided into five sections, Daily Tasks, Master Tasks, Compass, Goals and Mission. Even if you don’t have a need for all sections, you can get a great deal out of this nifty little app that is impressively available for free through the Mac App Store, and could easily replace the  native Mac calendar app, iCal.


Opus Domini gives you a more fun and visually appealing way to handle your schedule, as it is made to look exactly like a physical daily planner, which you can leaf through. The way it is laid out, it transforms itself into a useful tool which you can use to stay organised, and on top of both your daily and over all work tasks.

virtual daily planner

Automatically Syncs with iCal

If you’ve already got your entire calendar plugged into iCal, making the transition to Opus Domini is easy because it automatically syncs with the native Mac app. There is no need to do anything on your part – it automatically pulls in your appointments and events from all of your calendars, and performs a two-way sync with your default calendar. This is also useful for anyone who uses iCal to take their calendar on the go with them on their smartphone.

virtual planner

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Calendar Display Options

With iCal you can take a look at your upcoming schedule by month, by day or by week. Opus Domini outdoes iCal by adding a 5 day planner and a weekend planner.

virtual planner

Task List

With Opus Domini, your task list is front and centre, whereas with iCal it’s little more than a side bar with a list of ToDo items, to which you ocan assign due dates, priority and an alarm to remind you when a task is due. There are two separate Opus Domini task lists. The first is a task list that is viewable by date. Click on any given date, and you will see your scheduled tasks, next to a calendar of scheduled appointments for that day.

virtual planner

The second task list is a Master List. This is useful for keeping a separate list of ongoing tasks that don’t have a specific due date.

virtual planner download

With Opus Domini, while there is no alarm feature, you can mark tasks as being in progress, delegated or scheduled. You can also easily reschedule all tasks for another date by ‘forwarding’ them.

virtual planner download

Another easy way to assign a due date to a task is by dragging and droppoing tasks onto the calendar above the task list. Overdue tasks are highlighted in red.

If you use your planner for reminders, iCal is the better option for you. If you use your planner as a way to give you a broader picture of what your tasks are, how they are being handled, and to keep you on track, Opus Domini will definitely be more appealing.

Notes & Weather

Opus Domini has a few extra features that makes it a more visually appealing and more well rounded app to use instead of iCal. Next to the daily tasks, you have a blank page in which you can write notes, as well as add images using the drag and drop method.

virtual planner download

Above the notes, you can keep track of the weather in any given city, setting it up in the preferences. There is, however, a small glitch with the weather feature, as it displays the temperature in Fahrenheit only, despite there being the choice between Celsius and Fahrenheit.

Compass

The Compass is another interesting feature that Opus Domini offers users, but it won’t necessarily appeal to just about anyone. It allows users to document Physical, Social, Mental or Spiritual items on a list, and track their progress.

Here you can record tasks or goals aimed at bettering yourself in any given way. You can also add your own categories to the Compass.

Goals & Mission

If you’re interested in the bigger picture, you can also use Opus Domnini to keep a record of your goals, and how they are progressing.

In addition, you can set down your mission statement, vision and values, to remind yourself of the driving force behind your work.

virtual daily planner

Opus Domini is only available for download through the Mac App Store, and so you have to be running Snow Leopard in order to install it.

Would you ditch iCal in favour of Opus Domini? What do you think of its features? Let us know in the comments.

** Update 26 March 2011 ** At the time of writing, this app was free of charge. It is now a paid app, costing $4.99.

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