While we often struggle to find the best email app, in many cases finding the best calendar app has a bigger impact on how we stay productive. From apps that will find documents for your upcoming appointment to apps that will notify attendees how many minutes late you'll be for your meeting, calendar apps are becoming smarter and more functional.
Here are five solid solutions for better calendar management on your smartphone (iOS and Android).
If you have others you love, please let us know in the comments.
This little app was a big star in 2013, and for good reason. While some calendar apps tend to have a heavy look-and-feel, Sunrise goes the opposite direction. Its lightweight design makes it one of the best-looking downloads on this list.
However, it's not just about its pretty interface. It is a fast, effective tool for managing schedules. If you're a Google Calendar user, for example, the app syncs between the two services in real-time. If you're on the road a lot, the timezone support is handy automatically adjusts your appointment times to the correct hours. The weather feature, based on your location, is also a helpful addition to plan your busy days. Most importantly, adding and editing events is a cinch.
Tempo does a great job to ensure you're as prepared as possible for upcoming meetings. For example, when you add a meeting the app neatly lists the invited contacts. When you click on a person's name, you can easily get additional information about that person (and their company) from social networks such as LinkedIn.
Tempo also makes it a breeze to find documents associated with your specific event, so you can get up-to-speed on the agenda fast. If you travel for business, your flight and airport information is always accessible.
Cal (iOS/Android—FREE)—For the task master
This app is one of the newer calendar tools to help you stay on track throughout your day. Like most of the apps on this list, Cal syncs to your existing calendar. It also connects to Any.do, which helps you manage daily tasks, so you can link your events to deliverables.
The contacts, maps, and social integration is also world-class, so you have you network and location information at your fingertips. Finally, in some locations, there is the one-click option to call an Uber car.
Business Calendar (Android—$4.99 Pro Version)—For the Google guru
If you use an Android smartphone, you might want to give this professional calendar app a whirl. The configurable widgets are nice addition to see your overall schedule at a glance. Like Cal, there is also a task organizer.
While it might lack the beauty of some of the above apps, it holds its own with smart technology and functionality. The color coding makes it easy to put your overall time in perspective and there is an import/export option that works with iCalendar.
Move over Siri, Donna is the new personal assistant in your pocket (which syncs with Exchange, Google, iCal, and Yahoo). She notifies you about daily appointments, dials you into conference calls (GoToMeeting, Skype, WebEx), informs you about your city's weather, and gets you accurate meeting directions with traffic info and travel time.
In the latest update (Donna 2.0), if you're running late for a meeting you can easily share your updated arrival time with all the attendees. Like the Cal app, Donna can also hook you up with an Uber ride in some cities.
[Image: Flickr user Keith Williamson]