If your to-do list is out of control, a popular trick is to schedule tasks on your calendar. These free calendar and planning apps will get you going.
Productivity is about maximizing time. And the representation of time that we usually use is a calendar. The sooner you turn a calendar into a way to plan your tasks, the sooner you’ll stop procrastinating and get things done. Whether it’s a weekly calendar, a shared family calendar, or a free time preview, these apps will teach you how to make your calendar more productive.
1. Week (Web): Minimalist weekly planner calendar app
Tweek is a minimalist calendar app for planning your week and adding tasks. The idea is to take the simplicity of paper agendas and make it digital. Tweek is one of those great no-sign up web apps that you can use right away, but you can also sign up and save your weekly schedule.
The simple seven-day schedule lets you add a task to any day, give it a custom color, and move it between tables. At the bottom you will see a section for “Someday” where you add the items to the to-do list that need to be done, but don’t need to be scheduled.
Any Tweek calendar can be shared with up to three registered users. So a family or a small team can plan their week together. You can also share a read-only link to the calendar with anyone.
Tweek offers a Premium plan with more features. You will be able to sync it with your Google calendar, get rich formatting for tasks, add recurring tasks, and add subtasks to any task. And most importantly, Tweek Premium lets you add reminders for any task.
2. Lightpad (Web): Calendar without table for a fluid view of time
The standard table format is the default calendar design, a grid of days for the month. If you have long to-do lists for each day, this board can seem a bit overwhelming. Lightpad is a refreshing new design for calendars while retaining the functionality of to-do lists.
Lightpad looks like a beautiful, fluid timeline of dates, with only one active date at a time. On the active date, you’ll see the today’s task list, with empty dots representing due tasks and filled dots representing completed tasks. For all future and past dates, you will see dots under the date to get an idea of ââhow many tasks you have scheduled for that day. You can also change the timeline view to hours of the day, days of the week, weeks of the month, or months of the year.
All tasks can be tagged and quickly sorted by tag. You can change the color scheme. Lightpad also works offline as it is a progressive web application (PWA) and looks great on mobile devices and desktops.
3. Morning (Chrome): automatically color code and analyze your calendar
Productivity experts and busy, successful people swear by the practice of color coding their calendars. A color-coded calendar shows you at a glance how you manage your time and divide your tasks. If you haven’t already, Mornin will automatically color-code your calendar.
Install the Chrome extension and grant it access to your Google Calendar, then wait for it to scan for events. Mornin will break down your schedule into six colors: planning, executing, reviewing your work and the work of others, managing people for interviews and small meetings, town hall for large events and more. Once that’s done, you can immediately see if you’re spending too much time on one activity rather than another on any given day.
Mornin also tries to warn you when you have too many strenuous tasks in a day. It will issue a high cognitive load alert, prompting you to reprogram the events. And in case Mornin gets the wrong analysis, you can easily change the color code manually.
To download: Morning for Chromium (To free)
If you are looking for a calendar to share events and tasks within your family, this might be the case. TimeTree takes shared calendars to the next step, allowing anyone in a group to add tasks, discuss that task, and add shared memos for items unrelated to the calendar.
Once you’ve created an account and invited other people, the app allows anyone to edit the calendar. You can also create multiple calendars to share with different people. In each calendar, you can add an event with a to-do list for each event, reminders, labels, URLs, and a color code. This way you can keep your calendar as organized as possible.
Someone else can then tap that event to open a chat room for it. Here anyone can add comments, photos, and like other people’s posts, so you can prepare for this event with a dedicated chat room.
TimeTree also offers memos, which relate to items that are not limited to a date. For example, you can create a Grocery Store memo where everyone adds the items they want.
5. Printable Productivity Calendars (Web): Free planners to download and print
There is no perfect productivity app. In fact, productivity should not depend on technology. If you prefer to plan with a good old pen and paper, that’s fine. You can find great printable productivity calendars online.
The Printable tweek is a paper version of its web application. Print it out on a standard A4 sheet and fill it out just like you would with the app. When you’re done with a task, cross it off with your pen for that satisfying sense of accomplishment.
Day Designer is famous for some of the best paid productivity planners on the internet, and their Ideal week the template is free. In an hour-by-hour breakdown of the week, write down how you’d like to spend it, then do your best to stick to it.
If all you want is a standard blank monthly calendar, check out the Simple printable calendar 2021. You can print it with a week starting on Sunday or Monday, and with weekends highlighted, grayed out, or normal.
Aim for a zero-based schedule
Once you’ve found the right calendar app for your working style, continue to make a habit of sticking to and completing tasks. At the same time, keep track of the time it takes for each activity and set timetables for the future accordingly.
The more accurately you estimate the time required for a task, the more productive your schedule will be. The end goal should be to achieve a zero-based schedule, that is, a schedule that fits perfectly with time slots and tasks so that you can maximize efficiency and get things done.
When you’re busy and need to manage your time better, one of these calendars may be the answer for you.
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