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Usually I’m the last person in the world to write about a calendar system or a to-do list. I usually just stick to using Google Calendar for my scheduling needs, and Workflowy as my online to-do list. It takes a lot to impress me about any calendar/scheduling system. So I was a little bit hesitant to try a new calendar system that I came across, and more than a little surprised to discover that I loved the new system. It’s called Coolendar, and in my opinion it revolutionizes scheduling for people that are too busy to mess around with calendars and to-do lists. Coolendar is both of those things combined into one system.
The beauty of Coolendar is that even though it has a simple interface, it quickly becomes very clear that the online organizational tool is not the least bit simple. It is an innovative way to make scheduling and organizing tasks more efficient. It does this by making the ability to add new tasks or events as quick and painless as possible, while making the highest priority items displayed in a way that will maintain your focus on those tasks until they are done.
Simplify Your Schedule With Coolendar
The first thing that struck me when I visited the Coolendar site is its simplicity. Logging into the site doesn’t even require a sign-up, you can just log in using your Google account. In fact, the simplicity was initially a turn-off to me, and I almost didn’t even bother writing about it. But then, I noticed an odd line below the task entry field with various time period filters – and what’s up with the red dot?
It didn’t take too long playing around with Coolendar to see that there are a bundle of awesome organizational and planning features buried underneath the facade of simplicity.
For example, there is an intelligent “engine” of sorts that’s buried within the task entry field. You can type certain keywords that instantly flag the built-in calendar to format your task entry in a certain way. This lets you create your calendar on the fly, one task entry at a time.
As you can see above with my two to-do task items without a date, you can also just enter straight to-do items. These will also show up on your list as you enter them. All of the items are initially just added to your schedule list, organized by date. You can also go beyond the standard date syntax and just type simple words like “tomorrow”, and the calendar engine immediately looks up the date for you and adds that date to your task item.
You can do the same with real days of the week. Coolendar is smart enough to know that if you type “Friday”, that you mean this coming Friday, and it’ll automatically add the correct date to the front of your task. This approach completely streamlines the process of adding new events to your Calendar because you don’t have to point and click any pop-up calendars – just type. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
If you forget any of the commands or available syntaxes, just click the “?” next to the task entry field and a pop-up guide will appear with examples.
Want to quickly organize your to-do list with your calendar items? No problem, it’s as simple as grabbing your to-do items on the list and dragging them to the location in the calendar where you want it to be. This lets you prioritize your date-less to-do items alongside the events or appointments you’ve entered into Coolendar.
Another nice feature is the filter bar at the top, with “all plans” on the left. By default, all of your calendar/to-do plans are shown on your list, but you can filter the list to only show today’s or tomorrow’s items, the week’s items, or a special “red dot” flag.
The way this works is you “flag” certain top-priority items by clicking the red dot to the left. This way you can click the red dot on the filter bar and view just those items.
It doesn’t take very long using Coolendar that you start to realize just how much better this format for a calendar is over the traditional grid-style calendar. With the Coolendar format, the critical items that require your focus and attention are at the very top of the list, where your eyes naturally gravitate to. This style of Calendar helps you to remain on task and work through your plans, whether they are dated or not. You make the priorities and then accomplish each goal. Checking off the “Done” checkmark on the right side of the task or planned event becomes a very gratifying act.
One final, very cool feature is the ability to “tag” keywords in your plans. By adding a hash in front of a word, you transform it into a “tag” – a searchable keyword that you can use to find all tasks related to a particular thing or place.
Even though I used to be an avid user of Google Calendar and WorkFlowy, I do have to say that Coolendar has me hooked and convinced that it may be a much better option. Staying focused is my one major weakness, and this looks like a perfect scheduling system that can help with that.
It also helps that Coolendar is accessible just about anywhere you are – from your Android device, on your iPhone or iPad and even from your GTalk account (just invite firstname.lastname@example.org and type “help“).
Give Coolendar a try and see if it helps you to stay more organized and on task. Share your thoughts and experiences about the service in the comments section below.