SkedPal needs to be aware of your busy times according to your iCloud calendar(s) so it won’t schedule tasks when you’re in a meeting or engaged in other activities.
But, before connecting your iCloud calendar(s) to SkedPal, let’s review what you have there:
- If you’re using iCal on your Mac or iOS, make sure you sync it with your iCloud account. Otherwise, it won’t sync with SkedPal.
- Fixed Appointments – If you’re using your iCloud calendar to book meetings with others, SkedPal will read your busy times to avoid scheduling tasks over them. In general, any appointment on your iCloud calendar will be interpreted as busy and SkedPal will avoid any scheduling conflicts of tasks and appointments.
- All-day Appointments – If you use all-day events on your iCloud calendar as reminders (e.g. Birthdays), they will not block you as busy in SkedPal. However, if you book all-day events for times when you are indeed unavailable and tasks should not be scheduled, then make sure to switch off the side-line in SkedPal. Learn more about side-lining your iCloud calendars in SkedPal here.
- Task Time Blocks – You need to think about using time blocks on your iCloud calendar when starting to use SkedPal. If the activity for which you’re blocking time is at fixed times, then keep them as time blocks on the iCloud calendar. You won’t need to add these as tasks to SkedPal. For example, if you’re going to a weekly community activity every Saturday from 10 AM to 12 PM, keep this as a recurring weekly time block on your iCloud calendar. However, if your activity is a task and you’re flexible to schedule your tasks in a time frame, you’re better off removing your time block from the iCloud calendar and add this task to SkedPal for more flexible scheduling. Remember, that you can’t have the same activity as both a fixed time block on your iCloud calendar and a task in SkedPal.
How SkedPal calendar blends in– Once you connect your iCloud calendar to SkedPal, you’ll see a new calendar named ‘SkedPal’ on the list of calendars on your iCal. Your tasks from SkedPal will be scheduled in this calendar. Your own calendars in iCloud will never be altered by SkedPal. SkedPal only reads them to understand your busy times. SkedPal schedules your tasks around your busy times according to the iCloud calendars.
A copy of your iCloud calendars’ appointments will also be displayed on your SkedPal calendar. So, when you add a new appointment to your iCloud calendar or alter an existing appointment, SkedPal calendar will be updated (see Sync’ing process below). Once you make changes to your iCloud calendars, you want to re-schedule your tasks in SkedPal to align with your new appointment times.
How to Connect to your iCloud Calendars:
- In order to connect your iCloud account with SkedPal, you must first create an app-specific password. Please follow the instructions provided by Apple to generate this password first.
- Go to SkedPal settings: https://app.skedpal.com
- If you’re not logged in already, use your SkedPal credentials to log into the website.
- From the left menu, select Calendars, and then Accounts. Click on + ADD ACCOUNT. If you already have existing calendar accounts connected such as other Office 365 accounts, or Google Calendar accounts, you will see them connected here.
- Follow the instructions to connect your iCloud Account. Important: To connect with your iCloud account, you must use your Apple ID (email address) and the password generated in step 1 above. This password is NOT your Apple ID password.
- Go to calendar-select, and select the right calendars you want to sync.
- Go to calendar-setting, and set the right options. See below for more details.
Syncing iCloud Calendars with SkedPal – The sync between SkedPal and iCloud needs to be triggered when you make changes to your iCal appointments. To refresh the sync, look for a sync icon on the top right of SkedPal’s calendar screen. Click on this icon to get the latest changes from your iCloud calendar.
When you update your schedule in SkedPal, your iCloud SkedPal calendar will automatically get synced.
Sidelining iCloud Appointments in SkedPal:
You might have some appointments added to your iCal that do not really stand for busy times. In other words, you are still available to schedule your tasks during the appointment times. Examples include all-day reminders (e.g. birthday reminders), or multi-day events denoting a certain context or travel time. In order to instruct SkedPal to use the event/appointment times as available times, you can sideline the appointment in SkedPal. You can do this by clicking on the event and you’ll see the sideline switch that can be turned on or off. See a short tutorial video here.
Your holiday calendars in your iCal cannot be synced with SkedPal unless they’re synced with iCloud. Once you have a holiday calendar in iCloud you can sync it with SkedPal in order to leverage the following useful feature.
Holidays have a varied impact on different tasks. For example, you probably want to complete personal tasks on a holiday, while not scheduling any work-related task. To do this, make sure you select your holiday calendar in step 6 above. This will sync all holidays with SkedPal. Then, for each Time Map, you can indicate if you’d like to block your time or ignore it.
Your Tasks on iCloud Calendar
SkedPal syncs with the iCloud calendar in both directions, that is it reads your appointments from iCloud and writes your tasks to it. The SkedPal calendar in your iCloud account displays your scheduled tasks. You can decide NOT to sync your tasks to your iCloud calendar. You will find this option at the top of the calendar setting page.
Buffer Time Before And After Appointments
You’ve probably noticed that if you have a fixed appointment on your iCal from 10:00 to 11:00 AM, SkedPal assumes that you are available the minute after (or before) this event. But, what if you need to commute to the next activity? Or just need some time to switch contexts before you can get started with your next task? You can set a fixed buffer time before and/or after all fixed appointments. This can be set at the calendar level. In other words, if you have more than one calendar, you can set these buffers differently for each calendar. You will find the right options in step 7 above (How to connect to your iCloud calendars).