How I schedule work and communication with Morgen
Time is my most valuable resource. Unlike most others, it can’t be replenished, and at my age, I’m acutely aware of this fact. The app I’ve been using daily for a while now to manage my time is Morgen. I can’t believe this service is such a hidden gem.
Just recently, Zapier published a blog post titled “The 5 best time blocking apps in 2022”, and it didn’t even mention Morgen, let alone discuss it in depth. I only found Morgen by chance myself, but it took me only a few minutes of using it until I signed up for a yearly Pro subscription.
I’ve learned to accept that “To-Do List Zero” is an unrealistic ideal. There will always be work queuing up, especially since being a good husband, father and friend requires time, too. This makes it imperative for me to make sure I prioritize every task and responsibility properly.
Many of these tasks are what Cal Newport calls “shallow work”, for example, responding to emails and support requests. The real value comes from “deep work” tasks like creating a strategy or coding a new product feature. As the leader of a fully remote company with international customers, arranging video calls at times that don’t completely disrupt my focus on these “deep work” tasks is another one of my time management challenges. Morgen, a Swiss-made web application, solves all of them wonderfully.
On the surface, Morgen is a typical web-based calendaring app. If you’ve used one of them, you know they all look pretty much the same, and that also applies to Morgen. In fairness, I don’t know if there actually is more than one way to display a calendar. The first advantage of Morgen is that it integrates with all major productivity suites, from Google and iCloud to NextCloud and Zoho. Having access to all my personal (iCloud) and work-related (Google) calendars from a single app is essential for me to keep track of my obligations.
Morgen has a few nifty features that stand out for me. “Quick Join” is one of them. If the current calendar event comes with a link to Zoom, Google Meet or a similar video service, Morgen automatically displays a button on its main screen that launches me right into the call.
“Calendar sets” is a feature I know from Fantastical, one of the best calendar apps in the Apple ecosystem. I still use it on my iPhone and iPad. Calendar sets allow you to group calendars and switch between them with a single keystroke. For example, when I’m planning my upcoming weeks, I need to see not only my personal calendars but also my team’s holiday plans and my family’s upcoming events. Being able to easily switch between a lean “work” calendar set with only my most important events and the full “planning” set saves me time and embarrassment.
Of course, I wouldn’t pay for Morgen if all it did for me was display my calendars. It is the app’s time management features that sold it for me.
Morgen comes with its own to-do list feature, but it also integrates with Todoist, my task manager of choice. Again, if all Morgen did was display my tasks next to the calendar view, I wouldn’t rave about it. What I love about Morgen is that it enables me to use the “time-boxing method” to make sure I’ll actually have the time to focus on what’s important. I can simply drag tasks from the to-do list to the time on the calendar when I’m going to work on them. Morgen displays them as special calendar entries with a checkbox, but it also creates regular calendar entries that signal to other people that I’ll be occupied at that time. These time blocks will also be excluded from the scheduling feature that is one of Morgen’s major strengths.
Planning my own work is one thing, but I also have to make time for communicating with other people. (Sometimes, I even want to!) Morgen has a powerful scheduling feature with which I can mark specific times as available for other people to arrange calls with me. Each availability rule has its own URL that I can put on a website or paste into an email. For customers, I have a permanent link that allows them to schedule 30-minute calls during office hours. When I want to schedule a call with friends, I create one-off time slots simply by marking the next few free evenings. Since Morgen also integrates with major conferencing services, it sends out call invitations that already contain the link to the video call.
There are many more features in Morgen that I didn’t mention, so go check them out for yourself! The free tier already has everything you need to get a good grasp on its strengths. And once it’s got you hooked, the Personal or Pro plans won’t break the bank either.
In summary, I can confidently say that Morgen has become one of the pillars of my personal productivity. Or, paraphrasing the German proverb: “Was du heute willst besorgen, das planst du besser in Morgen!”