The Best Shared Calendar Apps
Shared calendars are excellent tools for scheduling, task management, and even keeping household duties straight. By allowing multiple users to upload their schedules and communicate their availability, shared calendars enable even large groups of people to keep organized while pursuing a common goal. Plus, they can even offer task-specific features for work groups, families, and even party planners.
However, choosing the application that’s best suited for your needs can be difficult with so many options on the table. In order to find the best one for you and your family, schoolmates, or business colleagues, you need to thoroughly evaluate your needs and then find the best app that suits them.
Know Your Needs
When determining the best-shared calendar application for your purposes, you should evaluate your needs and goals before you take the time to set it up. Ideally, you should use an app that has functions geared toward your intended uses. Ask yourself these questions before you hit download:
- How will I use this?
While this may seem like a simple question, asking yourself about all of your intended potential uses can help you realize that you may need (or want) certain organizational functions built in. For example, if you’re creating one for your team at work, you may want to consider that you also need task management functions that allow you to track progress on particular projects. You should therefore think of all potential uses to ensure that you download the right application for all of your needs.
- Do I need to filter what I share?
Some apps allow you to share only certain event categories whereas others will sync your entire schedule. For a family calendar, you may be OK with sharing all of your tasks and appointments, but for a work or group project calendar, you may only want to share relevant items.
- Do I need variable user permissions?
Many basic applications allow all users to make all changes, but in many cases, you want to protect an event from being deleted or ensure that certain things cannot be changed. On a family calendar, for example, you may want to give children access to add events and receive notifications, but you may not want to allow them to delete their doctor’s appointment.
- Do I need additional functions?
Some shared calendars only include basic functions while others include other helpful organizational tools like a to-do list function. If you want to use an application that’s a one-stop shop for all of your organizational and scheduling needs, then you should look for one that’s multi-functional.
In addition to the questions above, you should consider practical factors like prices and devices. While you may be tempted to download software with all of the bells and whistles, the fanciest program will likely cost the most, and for something as basic as shared family schedules, you may not need a slew of intense functions. If you’re realistic about your needs, then you can find an application that suits them without breaking the bank.
Along with cost, you must also consider whether the application you choose can be shared across multiple types of smartphones, tablets, and computers. Certain apps have many user-friendly and appealing functions, but they will inevitably prove difficult to use if you need to share with other users. As a general rule, you should stick to applications that can be used on all platforms unless your group only uses specific types of devices.
Keep it All Together
In most cases, you want to limit the number of productivity apps that you use in order to prevent “app overload.” App overload occurs when you have different groups and to-dos on multiple disconnected platforms, which can create issues with overlapping schedules or forgotten tasks. You , therefore,want to minimize the number of applications you use to keep organized, so you should use ones with integrated features in order to keep all of your schedules and to-dos in one or two easily accessible places.
Best Overall Apps
While the app you choose will ultimately depend on your personal preferences and needs, these are the best all-around shared calendars to help you organize your life and schedule. Here are our top five picks for the best overall applications.
Google has a whole suite of free software for business and personal organization and offers an easy-to-use shared calendar. This simple, intuitive program can be easily learned by even the least tech-savvy coworker or relative, and it even includes useful functions like uploading a link to Maps when you post a location for a scheduled event and pushing reminders to your Gmail account. However, this program has two major downsides: first, if you don’t often use Gmail, then Google programs aren’t as effective, and second, as with any free software, this program has some limitations. If you need something simple and easy, then Google’s applications are perfect for you.
Coorganiz is an all-inclusive application with various functions that range from from to-dos and chats to document sharing. The software allows you to create “organizations” from households to project groups, and it provides a nicely centralized home screen that allows you to view all of your scheduled plans and to-dos. Coorganiz also has tiered pricing with advanced options, so you can pick the option that best suits your needs. The only drawback to Coorganiz is that it’s more geared toward families than businesses, but it’s quickly adding more and more functions for businesspersons.
Microsoft Outlook offers users a number of useful functions. Users need only to create a group and invite all participants, and meetings can be scheduled easily since users canseamlessly share their availability from their personal schedules. Furthermore, since it’s built into Outlook Email, your contacts are integrated, and you can easily send invites to various events. The only major downside of Outlook is its hefty price tag, which makes it less suitable for everyday use. Microsoft Outlook is thus a good choice for offices or larger project teams, but you may want to reconsider using it for just a family schedule.
This shareable group calendar is designed specifically for group use, making it a solid choice. In the application, users can create schedules, book meeting rooms, and generally coordinate team needs. Additionally, TeamUp has multiple pricing tiers that give users access to increasingly advanced functions, such as password protection. The primary drawback of TeamUp, however, is that its group-focused design makes it less useful as an individual calendar, so group members may end up having to use other applications for individual productivity.
If your team or your family are Apple users, the iCloud calendar makes a great option for fully-integrated group communication. Its general functionality is largely similar to Google’s version, and it’s simple and easy to use. It also fully integrates into any Apple device, and its “Today” view can give you a great holistic overview of your schedule. However, as with all Apple-based products, this application can be difficult to use on non-Apple computers, and it’s borderline impossible to transfer information to Android devices. Overall, this application is highly recommended only if you and other group members only use Apple devices.
Tips for Effectively Using a Shared Calendar
Once you’ve chosen the best scheduling application for your needs, you should apply these best practices for getting the most out of your chosen program.
Keep Items Relevant
As with any shared organizational platform, you should only post items that are relevant to the group. In a group project calendar, for example, you want to ensure that others know when you are free, but you do not necessarily need to share what you’re doing at other times. By limiting what you add and post, you will both ensure that the group calendar remains uncluttered and avoid looking unprofessional by oversharing too many personal details.
Use In-App To-Dos and Chats
The best way to stay organized with project management applications is to keep everything in one place. If you can have a to-do list beside your scheduled calendar, you can more easily check day-by-day progress and envision deadlines. Chat boxes also allow you and your group to more easily make scheduling decisions and ask questions as needed. In general, you should take advantage of an application’s comprehensive features to achieve optimal organization.
Sync with your Personal Calendar
You should always be sure that you connect your personal calendar with any shared ones. Automatic updates will save you time and ensure that you do not fall victim to over-scheduling as a result of incorrect information. Syncing will also improve your ability to plan your days and manage your time wisely. In general, the best applications will come with functions that can be used on a personal level, which will enable you to keep all of this data in one place.
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