How-To

Never forget another meeting, with these Calendar tricks and tips


Do you always seem to forget about important events? Maybe you’re starting to get a reputation as the person who’s always late for meetings?

Just because you add all your events to macOS’ Calendar doesn’t automatically mean you’ll remember them! In this article, I show how to ensure you get plenty of warning about upcoming events, using tools such as Siri, Time to Leave, plus a third party app that displays your next appointment in your Mac’s menu bar, where it’s impossible to miss.

By following the tips in this article, you can be confident that you’ll arrive at every appointment with plenty of time to spare!


Ask Siri

Your Mac’s Calendar app may only be a few clicks away, but the easier a task is, the more likely you are to complete it! Instead of going to all the effort of opening your Mac’s ‘Applications’ folder and launching the Calendar app, why not check your schedule using Siri?

Launch Siri, either by clicking the Siri icon in your Mac’s upper-right corner, or using the ‘Command + Space’ keyboard shortcut. Once Siri is listening, you can ask it about your upcoming appointments, for example you could ask “What have I got planned today?” or “When is my next meeting?”

View your calendar appointments from the menu bar

When appointments are tucked away in the Calendar app, they’re easy to forget.

‘Up Next’ is a free application that displays your next appointment in the Mac menu bar. When your next appointment is always visible onscreen, it becomes much more difficult to forget about your commitments.

To add this information to your Mac’s menu bar, download the Up Next application and, when prompted, grant it access to your Calendar. Up Next will now display your next appointment, as text in the menu bar.

Once Up Next is displaying your next appointment in the menu bar, you can access some additional options from its dropdown menu:

  • Show. The information that appears in your Mac’s menu bar, including the location and a countdown to your next event.
  • Calendar. Up Next can display appointments from any Calendar you’ve created within macOS’ Calendar app, but it can also display events from any calendars you’ve added to the macOS app, including Google Calendars. This option lets you toggle between the different calendars, although note that Up Next can only display appointments from one calendar at a time.

Automate Calendar reminders

Every time you create an event, you have the option to set a reminder for that event, but these settings are pretty well hidden in the Calendar app, and are easy to overlook.

To reduce your chances of forgetting yet another doctor’s appointment, you can set some default reminders that’ll be automatically applied to all events of a certain type, such as All-Day Events or Birthdays.

To create these default settings:

  • Launch the Calendar app.
  • Select ‘Calendar > Preferences…’ from the menu bar.
  • Select the ‘Alerts’ tab.
  • This section contains dropdowns for the three event types (Events, All-day Events and Birthdays). Open each of these dropdowns in turn, and select the alert that you want to receive for all events of this type. For example, you might want to be reminded about a friend’s birthday one week in advance, so you still have time to purchase a gift, but only need a heads-up about a meeting 30 minutes before that meeting’s actually due to start.

Now, every time you create an event, you’ll know that you’ll always receive some form of reminder for that event!

It’s time to leave!

Even if you remember an event, you can still miss out if you set off too late! Maybe you misjudged how long it takes to travel to that location, or you set a reminder 5 minutes before the event was due to start, and it takes at least 15 minutes to get there.

Depending on the scenario, turning up a few minutes late can be as disastrous as not turning up at all, for example if you show up late for a GP or dentist appointment, then they may have already moved onto the next person in the queue.

Calendar can give you a heads-up when it’s Time to Leave for an event:

  • Control-click the event in your Calendar, and select ‘Get Info.’
  • Open the ‘Travel time’ dropdown, and let Calendar know how long it’ll take you to travel to this location.
  • Open the ‘Alert’ dropdown, and select ‘Time to Leave.’

Finally, if this is your first time using this feature, then double-check that ‘Time to Leave’ is enabled in your Calendar preferences:

  • Select ‘Calendar > Preferences…’ from the menu bar.
  • Select the ‘Alerts’ tab.
  • Make sure the ‘Time to Leave’ checkbox is enabled.

About the author

Jessica Thornsby

Jessica Thornsby is a technical writer based in Sheffield. She writes about Android, Java, Kotlin and all things Apple. She is the co-author of O'Reilly's "iWork: The Missing Manual," and the author of "Android UI Design," from Packt Publishing.

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