Comparing 6 Auto-Schedulers – a First!

Recently, I published a couple of new podcast episodes to compare the 6 most popular auto-schedulers.

The series actually consist of long conversations with Dr. Melanie Wilson, who introduced me to the first auto-scheduler back in January 2015. This introduction had a profound impact on my professional life, leading me to give birth to ScheduleU.

In this discussion, we come up with the best criteria to judge the quality of an auto-scheduler, then we applied them to each of the 6 apps which currently dominate the market: TimeHero, SkedPal, Sorted3, Focuster, Futurenda and Flux-Speed Schedules. This is the first comparison I have ever seen so we were a bit nervous treading into uncharted waters. Although both of us are longtime SkedPal users, we tried to be as unbiased as possible, hoping to apply criteria that would be enduring.

At the end, I summarized our findings in the form of an interactive Decision Tree Tool along with a Comparison Table.

Here is the first episode of two.

Why Auto-Schedulers Are Like Magic 8 Balls

You may recall the Magic 8 Ball.

This gimmicky toy was popular after the 1950’s, when it was invented. The player would ask a question, and the game would “reply” with one of 20 pre-set answers such as “It is certain” or “Very doubtful.” The answer would pop up through a transparent window after a  quick pause.

Why are auto-schedulers like SkedPal, Focuster or Futurenda like the familiar Magic 8 Ball?

At the end of most tasks and sometimes right in the middle of one) we ask ourselves, “What’s Next?”

It’s shorthand for “Of all the time demands I have created, which one should I start to work on next?”

A good auto-scheduler responds within a few seconds. Unlike its real-life counterpart, the answer it gives is just not a random choice.

Instead, the auto-scheduler goes to work in the background using the attributes you have provided to come up with an optimal response. In the beginning, the task is suggested probably won’t make sense.

Perseverance is a must: over time, this digital companion to your calendar must be trained to give improved responses; to meet your specific needs. Then, it behaves exactly as you would expect and you won’t have to rely on your memory.

As you may already know, this frees you from the Zeigarnik Effect .

But this only happens if your auto-scheduler can be trusted. This emotional bond won’t be built the first time you use it – it takes time, training and continuous use to get the app to provide the support you need.

New SkedPal Video

The power available in today’s auto-schedulers remains a huge secret.

As a result, few people can describe what these powerful apps actually do and why they are so very different from Outlook or Google Calendar.

This video offers the first clear explanation. (I was part of the team that conceived it so I am quite biased!) It describes the app as a “GPS for All your Tasks.”