This is the second in a series about productivity, as part of our 5th anniversary celebration. In the previous article, we talked about integration: “Personally – and maybe it’s just me – I’d rather track and plan my activities in a dynamic timeline, rather than in a neck-wrenching tennis match that features my own thoughts as the tennis ball. Evidently, some others also agree with this concept: SmartTime, and its connected cousin SmartDay, have achieved over 1 million downloads over the past few years.”
Connectivity between devices
So it was liberating to integrate tasks and events; I felt an immediate jump in productivity for the simple reason that I could see my entire day in one view; I was no longer overwhelmed by everything I had to do, and I could see how everything fit in-between my appointments. Then, I noticed that people were taking their information with them on a variety of devices – smart phones, tablets, computers, and also shuttling between home and office (or dorm and school). Things needed to be connected. Google and Apple were leading the way with Google Docs and iCloud, respectively. We wanted to connect our users also, but there was just one problem: how do you connect an integrated calendar, when nobody else makes one? Up until last year we employed a “stitched quilt” approach by connecting our events with Google and iCal, and our tasks with Toodleo and Reminders – then combining them into our integrated organizers. But stitches still showed, especially as the different data sources created inadvertent ‘sync loops’ with their own cloud hubs, and as their different data distribution methods continuously updated and changed. What we really needed was to have our ‘smart’ technology available on as many devices as possible, and to connect them all through our own integrated cloud solution. The result: mySmartDay.com. Now SmartDay is available on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and can be viewed on any web browser with a free account (no obnoxious advertising) . That means anyone, anywhere in the the entire world, can integrate their day for free – and, if they have our apps, they can connect as well.
Connectivity between tasks, events and notes
Connecting integrated data between devices is one thing. But connectivity also means connecting items to each other, for quick association and instant recall. Let’s take an example: I have set up a meeting to discuss marketing ideas with my board of advisors. A meeting is an ‘event’ because it has a scheduled date, and a start and end time. During that meeting, I take notes and make follow-up points. Naturally, I want my notes to be connected to the meeting event in my calendar, so that I can refer to those notes any time I look for that meeting. Amazingly, no other organizer does that! Likewise, if I come across the notes in my Notes folder, I’d like to see what meeting they refer to. Surprise: no other organizer else does that, either. Now let’s say during that meeting, while I’m taking notes, I want to create a series of follow-ups. Some of these are events (break-out meetings, follow-up meetings, brain-storming sessions); some are tasks (things that must be done at some point in the future); and others are just separate ideas (notes) that I’d like to think about later. As I create these events, tasks and notes, I’d like to link them all to the original meeting event and to the main notes that I’m taking for the meeting. Things are starting to get connected. Now let’s say that one of the follow-ups I create is a task called “Arrange break-out meeting with interns” and I give it a deadline of next week. Next week, I get a pop-up alert to “arrange break-out meeting with interns.” Cool. But where did that come from? I can’t remember. But if I had a link, I could just click on that and it navigates me to the original meeting notes. Sweet. Connectivity in a way that can’t possibly be done on paper because you can only file one piece of paper in one place. With our LinkNotes feature – now available in all our SmartDay apps – you can ‘file’ the same note in as many places as you need.
To summarize, here are the connections that are available on SmartDay, today:
- Create two-way “jump” connections between any combination of events, tasks and notes with each other. SmartDay exclusive.
- Synchronize connected events, tasks, and notes between SmartDay iPhone, SmartPad (iPad), SmartDay for Mac OSX, and SmartDay on the web, all via our cloud hub, mySmartDay.com. SmartDay exclusive.
- Connect events on SmartDay for Mac OS X, with the Calendar app (formerly known as iCal), and tasks with the Reminders app.
- Connect Google Calendars with Mac OS X via iCal’s CalDAV subscription system
- Connect events on SmartDay for iPhone with the iPhone Calendar, and tasks with Toodledo.com (free)
- Connect events on SmartPad for iPad with the iPad CAlendar, and tasks with Toodledo.com (free)
First Integration, then Connectivity. The 3rd logical step toward attaining true projectivity is Sharing and Delegation. I’ll talk about my own thoughts on the matter, and how we will incorporate sharing and delegation into the SmartDay system very, very soon.