Better than a task manager or a calendar: Fantastical 3 Premium

To start with the least juicy parts of the Premium subscription: Fantastical has feature parity on every platform it supports, whether that be iPad, iPhone or Mac. It syncs its calendar sets and does that without delays. It supports Google Hangouts, Google Meet and Zoom. It lets you choose from interesting calendars, powered by SchedJoules.

A bit more juicy is that you can combine duplicate events and hide events that clutter your schedule. And when entering a new event, you can have the time block show favourite time zones and select a time zone that suits you.

And then the really interesting bits and pieces… Number one is templates for events and tasks. What you can do with Fantastical 3 Premium is to create a template from an existing event. The template duplicates all you have entered in the existing event and is saved to the templates area that appears when you enter a new event or task. Nice is that you can edit the template as well. Next time when you schedule something that resembles that existing event/task, you can just select it from the templates and — if necessary — edit the time or whatever else you want to change.

The greatest benefit of using templates, of course, if when you create it in such a way that you don’t need to change anything. It could be an alternative for repeating tasks or events, but it’s better suited for things that happen sometimes or often, but in some disorganised repetitive pattern. For example, I often get assigned a writing job before it’s 100% clear whether I will actually be writing the piece at all. In the past, I used to set apart time with an alert connected to and OmniFocus task. It’s not very obvious the task is tentative, though, as I can’t make it stand out enough in OmniFocus and I need to enter the task every time such an assignment enters my mailbox.

In Fantastical I created a template for the purpose as a scheduled event called “Tentative assignment”, showing the time slot as “Free”. To make sure I can see whether it’s tentative or not, I also use a different calendar colour using the secondary colour chip — another Premium feature — in the entry block.

The most powerful benefit a Premium subscription to Fantastical will get you, however, is Proposed event times. It’s been conceived to help you when scheduling an event with invitees. Fantastical always lets you see your invitees’ availability and helps you find a time that works for everyone, but proposed times goes further and has other uses not necessarily tied to invitations as well. Event proposals are entries that you create with the “Propose another date” feature. If you hit that link, you’ll be entering multiple times and dates that will be sent to the email addresses of the people you add. Fantastical will automatically turn their responses into an event.

I found out that I can propose an event time/date to myself and set up a tentative schedule for doing stuff. An example is this: some time ago I wrote a review of Hexeract and the developer was keen on sending me his percussionist’s app as well. I normally don’t write reviews on pure music creation apps, but Hexeract was so good that I decided to make an exception. The only thing was and is that I must prioritise the work that I earn a living with. Consequently, PercX was to go on the back-burner for some time. Only, when you put things on the back-burner, they’re usually forgotten about. So, I proposed to myself four dates in the future of which I can accept one when I’m ready.

What makes proposed events so lovely is that Fantastical leaves the tentative ones in your calendar with little question mark icons to the tentative ones and a checkmark to the accepted one. That shows me when I could be doing the review on the way towards the date that I have set for myself to be the ultimate one.

All of this could become cluttered if it weren’t for Fantastical’s calendar set capabilities of which I used to think it was a gimmick. Well, if you’re using Fantastical for serious scheduling and follow-up of tasks and events, I can tell you it’s not a gimmick.

There’s even more to Fantastical that makes it an unbelievably powerful and efficient schedular annex task manager. For example, you can upload files or images directly from Fantastical to your iCloud, Google, or Exchange events. Attachments are accessible across all devices that sync with your calendar accounts. It works with Todoist. It has its own engine for CalDAV and Microsoft Exchange and supports iCloud, Google, Microsoft Exchange, Outlook.com, Office 365, Yahoo!, fruux, Meetup, as well as any other CalDAV account.

A yearly subscription costs 3.67 USD per month and is worth every cent!

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