5 Superb iCal Tricks To Streamline Your Productivity

5 Superb iCal Tricks To Streamline Your Productivity

Why search for a calendar app when you already have one for your Mac? iCal, the integrated personal calendar for OS X, is a useful tool with several features. Learning to utilize them effectively can significantly boost your daily productivity. This article provides five tips to enhance your iCal experience. If you have extensive knowledge about iCal, feel free to share your insights in the comments.

1. Open Scheduled Files

Opening scheduled files is a great way to build new habits. For example, if you want to use iCal more to track your time better, you can set iCal to open itself. The alarms work even when iCal is not open, which is cool.

You can also set recurrent events to use scheduled files as an alarm.

In iCal, create a new event and edit it. Look for the Alarm option and select “Open File” from the dropdown list. You can browse for files and set it to open a certain amount of time before the event.

If you enjoy waking up to a motivational video or TV show, this could be an option for you. (You may need to keep your monitor on or use an application like Caffeine to prevent your computer from going to sleep.)

2. Create Line Breaks

5 Superb iCal Tricks To Streamline Your Productivity

You can set titles of events to have line breaks by pressing the Alt/Option key + Return. This will break the line. It’s useful for creating a list of tasks, i.e. people to call or talk to, places to go, etc.

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5 Superb iCal Tricks To Streamline Your Productivity

After reading David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD), I found that using an Inbox stood out to me. The built-in To-do List in iCal is a more environmentally-conscious way of creating an Inbox, and you can tweak options to have it clear when something is done.

Of course, a physical copy is helpful. You can print a To-do list quickly by selecting File -> Print and changing the View to the List option.

4. Use Hotkeys

One thing that bothered me about iCal was the excessive clicking required. I prefer using the keyboard, relying heavily on Spotlight and Quicksilver, a keyboard launcher app. I don’t enjoy navigating in the Finder.

These three hotkeys saved me a lot of time:

– ⌘+N: New Event

– ⌘+K: New to-do List Entry

– ⌘+E: Edit Selected Event

Although these three shortcuts may not seem like much, consider how frequently you use them. They account for 95% or more of the commands I use. This tip is the most crucial of the five. (Windows 7 users can refer to our Windows 7 keyboard shortcuts article for more shortcuts.)

5. Explore Easter Eggs

If the previous tip was essential, this is probably the least. The only purpose it serves is to distract you when you’re bored or if you’re in search of an interesting History event to research.

Open Terminal and type this to have the fun:

cat /usr/share/calendar/calendar.history

These five tips should make you more efficient and effective with iCal or more knowledgeable in the case of the fifth entry.

If you’re interested in productivity, check out our productivity page for more tips, tools, and tricks to save time. You may also take a look at 2 nice tools mentioned over at GT Resources – Chrometa and Teamly. Enjoy!

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