June 1, 2015

Part 2 – Business Tools we can’t live without: iCal


Going Paperless: Paying homage to printed stationery whilst embracing the digital revolution

As primarily print designers, we appreciate more than most the aesthetic of beautiful stationery in boutique office spaces, around the home and in our very own creative sanctuary. Attractive leather-bound diaries and notebooks have held a place on our desks for many years, and have served their purpose well for more basic diary management and note taking tasks.

Spending much of our working time in front of a computer and juggling the pressing demands of personal and business activities which at times are unmanageable when calendars need to be shared etc, has resulted in us exploring other effective ways of managing our time than the traditional methods. What we found is that there are many unique digital offerings currently on the market, so much so that whilst we found it very difficult to let go of a written diary (we had both an online calendar and hard copy diary simultaneously being used for 2 months – just in case!), a digital calendar has transformed the way we work and made our communications relating to commitments transparent and instant.

Given the industry we work in, you could be forgiven for assuming that we would dislike the simplistic and minimal offerings in the realm of online organisation. In actual fact though, it is quite the opposite. Although we love the visual components of our work materials, we also need for them to be practical, easy-to-use and most importantly – accessible both in and out of the office and easily visible to both team members and clients where required.

If you’ve fallen behind in the world of digital organisation, take a leaf out of our book and experience the clean and concise order, to perfectly manage the chaos and constant juggle in your life.

What are the digital offerings available?

The tech market has often been divided into two teams – that of Android and that of the competition – Apple, and its ingenious innovation of everything Mac-related.
The types of platforms and systems that they utilise to communicate, organise and execute their daily tasks determine these different types of users. Although much of the decision comes down to personal preference in useability – the design and aesthetic of the user interface plays a significant role in the functionality of each model, as each user is searching for the fastest and easiest way to manage their time, projects, their staff and their business.

Mac Calendar, aptly named iCal, is the leading calendar application for Apple iCloud users in comparison to Google Calendar which is predominantly used by the Android camp. As Apple users, we organise ourselves with iCal and want to share our positive experience using the platform.iCal-sample-ideapro

If you are yet to experience the realm of digital intelligence, the first thing you need to know about iCal is the exceptional features that the platform is based on.

>> Need directions to a location for your next appointment?

When placing information directly into your digital calendar, not only can you specify the time frame and duration of the event to subtly indicate when the appointment will have to conclude, you can also directly input the location of your event, which connects to the Maps application on your iPhone, providing you with directions from your doorstep to exactly where you need to be.

>> Always in a rush?

iCal provides you with estimated travel times from your exact location to ensure that you are always on time. Not only that, iCal also sends you event reminders right when you need them, so that you will never be in a rush again. To sweeten the deal, it also provides you with updates on weather patterns in your area, so you will always be prepared come rain, hail or sunshine.

>> Require transparency?

iCal allows you to share your location and agenda with your colleagues and/or family to ensure that you’re never double booked and always make time for the most important things in your life.


Highlights & Features

Interface Design

A clean, simple, minimalist interface that makes appointment setting too easy. With the ability to alter views from days and weeks to months and years – whatever project management or appointment management timeline you like to look at, iCal definitely has a solution.

Colour Coding 

We often take advantage of our ability to simplify processes not with words, but rather with colours. By associating specific areas of our schedule with particular colours, we automatically eliminate any unnecessary event descriptions that often accumulate space in your hard-copy diary. For example, orange could be utilised as your work appointments, red as your urgent tasks and green for your personal/family events. Your week all of a sudden becomes a lot simpler.

Multiple Calendars

For those of you who don’t want to confuse work with play, with iCal you are able to separate your work, personal and social activities all in the same place. If colour coding isn’t for you or you feel like you’ve painted all the colours of the rainbow in your weekly schedule – separating the important segments of your life is certainly a cleaner approach.

Reoccurring appointments

Have to collect your kids from sports training every Thursday? You only ever have to input the event once, select the event as a reoccurring appointment and it will continue to block out your availability each week at the time you have specified. Huge time saver.

To-do lists made easy

We love the feeling of crossing a task off of our to-do list, which is why utilising daily task reminders via iCal is a perfectly rewarding experience. Receive prompts and alerts when tasks are nearly due and receive an entire picture of your day so that you can prioritise your most important tasks. Each task or event has its own reminder, perfect for collaborating all of your to-do’s in one place but separate enough to ensure a clean and comprehensive process. We also utilise Evernote which we have previously blogged about here to manage our short, medium and long term tasks or plans.


The benefits of utilising a digital calendar such as iCal ensure that you maintain a clean and well-organized system that gives your colleagues and clients a lasting impression of your professional abilities. Whether you utilise your diary for time management at work, outside of work or just because you like to be organised – iCal emphasises the importance of your time and its value. No more post-it notes scattered around your desk, loose pages hanging out of your diary or forgotten birthdays, anniversaries and important client milestones. iCal becomes the personal assistant that you’ve always wanted, enabling you to take control of your schedule and make the most out of the time you have available – leaving more time to spend with those closest to you at home.

Here is a sample iCal entry:



Now that youve fallen in love with the concept of digital organisation, how do you set up your very own digital calendar for Mac?

To begin, you will need to have access to Apple Mac software and an iCloud account. This will allow you to easily sync all of your devices to the one calendar account so that regardless of where you are, you will always know where you’re supposed to be.

Apple provides extremely useful support services and have simplified the process below:

In iCal:

  1. Choose iCal > Preferences.
  2. Click Accounts.
  3. To add a new account, click the Add button (+) in the lower-left corner.
  4. Choose iCloud as the Account Type.
  5. Enter your iCloud email address and password, then click Create. Your iCloud calendar events should now be viewable in iCal.


To learn more tips on how to get your life organised be sure to read this article

Creatively yours, Rosie & Anthony @ IDEAPRO

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  1. Kylie

    Wonder if you have any hints and tips on how best to use iCal and Asana?

    • admin

      Unfortunately we don’t use Asana, so can’t help with direct experience on this one. However, we did a quick google search and found step by step instructions on synching iCal with Asana (scroll towards the bottom) – hope this helps!

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