80: Automated Calendaring

Can’t wait to give this a listen. With a new school year coming up, bulk-importing events and repeated tasks (that are sometimes quickly forgotten!) are certainly on my mind.

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I was interested to hear that others have been having issues with their Logitech Mx devices – I get so frustrated with the connection issues and jumpiness. Rose, what was your solution exactly? You deleted the log options software, then just re-programmed buttons through better touch tool?

I loved so many things about this episode, possibly because my calendaring life is complex (possibly overly so) and I use fantastical to manage my multiple calendars as much as I possibly can.

As an alternative to the copy-paste daily/weekly time blocking methods described, I do have a separate “ideal week calendar” that contains the blocks I’d like to see repeat every week. I have it set up so each event repeats weekly. In Fantastical it has it’s own calendar set so I can view it alone, and I also have a calendar set called “planning” that is my default set that I use for most daily/weekly calendaring PLUS my ideal week.

I do this because my ideal week blocks almost always get moved. I’m an ER doctor whose shifts span any of the 24 hours, plus I have significant teaching and administrative responsibilities, random daytime meetings, and there are days I need to make sure I sleep after night shifts. So my ideal week is really a collection of ideal days/half-days that I move wherever they fit. For example, I try to have a teaching day each week with morning conference, a teaching session, a break for lunch, and then deep work block in the afternoon for academic projects. That day can fall on either Tuesday or Thursday; its on my IW calendar for Tuesday and then I just move all the blocks when needed. Sometimes the deep work afternoon has to be another day because I have an afternoon shift.

I do all this with duplicate rather than copy/paste, and since I use Fantastical’s “combine identical events” setting it is easy to see. I do really wish there was an easy way to “duplicate and edit new event” in one step in Fantastical - I would use that very frequently.

I’ve also had to combine several of my calendars recently in order to accommodate a work environment that uses office365. I have two subscribed calendars (webcal format) that I need to copy events from into my work calendar, but unfortunately our security prohibits using Zapier to do this. Right now I’m duplicating these manually in Fantastical, but I’m looking for a better solution.

Yes! In fact, I just never installed the software on my new iMac. It seems to be working fine, though I did give up using the buttons to trigger macros because I have a 32 button stream deck here.

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Thanks Rosemary - will have a go at running them without the software.

Curious as to how many people use Sorted. I think I tried it a year or so ago, but it looks like they’ve made a number of improvements to it (including a Mac app) so tempted to give it another go after listening to today’s podcast.

Are the two apps two separate payments?

Anyone have an calendar automations they want to share?


I don’t think I have posted this before.

I use this Applescript (via Keyboard Maestro) to review my upcoming Reminders and then make a Time Block event in Calendar.

I find if I do this review and allocation at the beginning of the week I am more likely to get around to actually completing the task.

Calendar Time Blocking

Another one I posted previously will create a Calendar Event from an Email

Email to Calendar



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While listening and you guys were talking about the event duplicating thing for each week I thought that I may have a better solution (at least for me) for that problem.

I have some actions in Drafts where I store regular events for different calendars (e.g. Sport, Work) together with their duration. During my weekly review I have my week view open on the Mac. When I want to plan all my workouts for the week I run this action on my iPhone. in a prompt I can select e.g. “Mountainbiking [1,5h]” and then select the day and the time where I want to do that specific workout. The action prompts for new events until I hit the cancel button in the prompt. The Action then sends a string with all the events to a shortcut, which splits the single events and runs all of them through the fantastical parser to add them to the calendar.

note: actually I did this in a single drafts action before, but the fantastical parser is much faster in shortcuts then when called with an x-callback Url (weird for me and I submitted some requests about that - seems like the parsing time in x-callback is expected, don’t ask me why).

I can repeat the same process for e.g. work events or other calendars, too.

I don’t have a shareable action ready because this looks kind of hacky and would need a little bit of documentation but if a few of you would love to use that, I maybe can share an action in the next weeks.

The hint about dragging from OmniFocus into Calendar is a great one.

However, being on the OmniFocus 4 beta on iOS/iPadOS I thought drag and drop was disabled. I just checked with the latest beta on iPad and dragging FROM OmniFocus works fine.

You have to be careful to drag to the right spot. With Calendar and Fantastical the timing is where ever you drop it to, rather than the Due Date / Time. (Fantastical seems to me to give better feedback about this.)

Actually, what’s getting dragged is a URL, rather than the title. I’ll raise this in the Slack group.

It seems to be Calendar.app that has the problem, not Fantastical. So it might not be an OmniFocus 4 beta problem.

I want to make shortcut where on every Monday I want it to look at a certain calendar for the next 7 days that I work and text my wife. I get the short cut to get the next 7 days get it in a text message. But the problem is in the text I want it to be like lines or something easy to read. The way it shows up now is you have to click on each day in the text to find out the date. Does anyone know how to fix this?

Can you post a link to your Shortcut so we can see what you have so far and where the issue may be?

I know it’s not much but this is the shortcut.


But the photo is how it shows up in text messages

Your problem is you’re sending the calendar events - which get converted to .ics files. You need to get the details of the events.


Here I used a repeat with each, and a text action, the text extracts the data from the repeat item - the calendar event it’s going through now, and then after the repeat they’re all stuck together.

Thank you Rose that’s what I was looking for. I thought it would be much easier.

I’m not using Sorted, but I really liked it when I did look at it. My biggest problem with it was forcing me into it’s own task management as opposed to a robust reminders integration. Using the native reminders just is so powerful (especially now), that I didn’t want to give that up.

Thanks for the reply - I’ve tried using it for the last couple of weeks, but I think I’ll pass on it and go back to more of a standard To Do list. I did quite like the hyper-scheduling, but it didn’t seem quite flexible enough.

For example, I couldn’t delegate tasks for weekends vs weekdays which meant that things just got rapidly confusing over the weekend, or when the next week was started.

I was wondering how you keep in track with your family?
Do you share some of your calendars and task lists?
Keep up the good work. I like listening to the podcast.

Kind Regards from The Netherlands.