Do you ever feel like your work calendar is a runaway train, dragging you from meeting to meeting with no time to focus on your tasks, or even take a break? You're not alone. Managing a busy calendar is an endless battle of juggling work deadlines, meetings, family commitments, social obligations, and personal goals — all while trying to maintain a semblance of sanity.
But what if your calendar could do more than just keep track of your appointments? What if it could proactively manage your time, helping you keep your weekly schedule flexible and focused around your priorities?
Unfortunately, traditional calendars (like Google Calendar, Outlook, and Apple Calendar) just aren’t designed to adapt to the changing nature of work schedules. Not only that, but prioritization can be difficult, as traditional calendars may not effectively align with individuals' true priorities and long-term goals.
At Reclaim.ai, we introduced a new concept of "Smart Events" back in 2019 to help solve these scheduling problems. Reclaim.ai is an AI-powered scheduling app that takes the guesswork out of calendar management. It understands your priorities, preferences, and availability and automatically schedules your tasks, habits, and meetings for your professional and personal life.
What are smart events?
Before we take a look at Smart Events, let's talk about what "dumb events" are – your basic calendar event. These are the standard events you create in your calendar for meetings, appointments, or even focus time blocks. They schedule as either “busy” (unavailable time) or “free” (available time, like all-day reminders), and do not have any smarts besides being able to schedule on repeat at the exact same time at every occurrence.
Smart Events are AI-powered calendar events that automatically find the best time in your schedule by priority, stay flexible for rescheduling, and maximize your availability.
Here’s a high-level overview of the differences between AI-powered Smart Events vs. standard calendar Dumb Events.
So as you can see, Smart Events are powered with far more metadata that allows your schedule to make smarter decisions and tradeoffs around where you spend your time – with the bonus magic of staying flexible and adaptive to priority changes throughout your week. Dumb events don't have any of that context (or if they have some context, they don't use it), so they're just static commitments with no nuance.
Here are the top benefits of Smart Events:
- Boost your productivity: By scheduling your important tasks and meetings for you, smart events free up your time to focus on deep work and get more done.
- Reduce stress: Knowing that your schedule is optimized and your priorities are taken care of can take a massive weight off your shoulders.
- Align with your true priorities: Smart events help you identify and prioritize your most important tasks, habits, and meetings so they always have a dedicated place in your schedule.
- Achieve work-life balance: By automating your scheduling, you can reclaim control of your time and create a healthier balance between work and personal life.
And by adopting an AI calendar at your organization, you’re effectively giving everyone in the company the power of an executive assistant. Instead of employees having to manually manage and defend their time to stay focused, they can leverage Smart Events to build and defend the perfect workweek through automated scheduling, flexibility, prioritization, and maximizing their availability.
How does AI power these Smart Events?
Smart Events aren't just fancy calendar entries; they're powered by AI that considers thousands of different scenarios to determine the best way to incorporate each of your priorities into your schedule… dynamic and impactful.
Here’s how AI scheduling optimizes your calendar:
1. They automatically schedule
Smart Events are automatically scheduled for you based on your preferences, priorities, and existing commitments, finding the best time in the calendar around your existing events. No more manually playing calendar Tetris to try to create an opening to get something done.
Imagine this: you're swamped. Your calendar is packed with a client meeting at 10am, a brainstorming session at 2pm, and a deadline for that new report looming at 5pm. But you desperately need to carve out some time for that workout class you promised yourself you'd attend.
With Smart Events, simply tell Reclaim your preferences: you prefer afternoons for exercise, and weekdays are best. You mention your existing commitments and the report deadline. Boom! Reclaim finds a perfect slot: a 45-minute opening at 12:30pm, perfectly sandwiched between your meetings and leaving enough time for you to shower and tackle the report with renewed energy.
2. They schedule flexibly on the calendar
But these Smart Events aren’t just static, unmoving blocks on the calendar. We know that life throws curveballs, but your schedule doesn't have to crumble. Smart Events are inherently adaptive and flexible, both in terms of the time ranges they can be scheduled and your availability. A surprise meeting pops up? No sweat. Reclaim.ai can easily reschedule Tasks and Habits so your day flows smoothly even when the unexpected arrives.
Imagine this: let's say you're a software engineer working on multiple projects with varying deadlines. You need to allocate time for coding, testing, and collaboration, but your schedule is often unpredictable due to unexpected bugs, urgent requests, or team meetings,
With Smart Events, you can set flexible time blocks for "Coding," "Testing," and "Collaboration" within a designated time frame. So, if an urgent bug fix or unexpected meeting arises, your "Coding" block can automatically shift to a later time so your critical tasks still get their needed focus.
3. You get to control your scheduling preferences
With a range of customizable features and settings, you can craft a schedule that works best for you and your personal priorities. You can set working hours, delineating the days and times available for work-related meetings, habits, and tasks.
It also gives you the ability to assign specific meeting hours separate from your regular work activities. Personal hours can be blocked out to safeguard time for personal commitments and relaxation. Beyond that, however, you can create custom hours (deep work, shallow work, core collaboration hours, etc.,) for unique events outside the default categories.
4. Intelligent prioritization
Your schedule shouldn't live under the tyranny of the urgent. Smart events can understand and prioritize your goals. Reclaim.ai has a sense of urgency and importance when scheduling your Smart Events. When creating your Smart Events, you set a priority (from P1 - P4), and provide a flexible time range and duration, which will help Reclaim.ai intelligently schedule your events so your most important work will always have its time on the calendar.
Imagine this: you’re a marketing manager at a large company. You have a lot of competing priorities, such as developing marketing campaigns, attending meetings, and working on projects with your team. But with only so many hours in the day, you don’t have time to prioritize everything all at once.
With Smart Events, you can create events on your calendar that are automatically prioritized based on your goals. For example, you could create a Habit called "Go-to-Market Strategizing" and set it to P1. This event would be automatically scheduled for the most important times in your week, based on your availability and other commitments.
You could also create events for less important tasks, such as "Clean up email inbox" and set them to priority 3. These events would still be scheduled on your calendar, but they would be less likely to bump critical events like your GTM strategizing.
5. Focus optimization
We all have those pockets of peak mental energy, and Smart Events can be tuned to this rhythm. By using Reclaim's custom time policies, you can match tasks with your optimal focus levels. Need a block of uninterrupted deep work? Smart Events can carve out a protected space in your schedule, without the threat of distractions or notifications taking your focus away.
Now, let's dive into the specific Smart Events you can use with Reclaim:
- Tasks: Smart Tasks will automatically block time on your calendar. Tasks can also be assigned a priority, broken up, rescheduled if something comes up, and automatically get marked as busy as the due date approaches.
- Habits: From daily gym sessions to meditation breaks, using smart events to schedule your vital routines makes sure they're non-negotiable parts of your daily rhythm.
- Buffer Times: Craving some breathing room between meetings? Smart events can add buffer times and breaks, creating precious pockets of decompression time to prevent back-to-back meetings from dominating your schedule.
- Smart 1:1s: Schedule regular one-on-ones with your team with your manager, direct reports, or partners with Smart 1:1s to find the perfect time that works for everyone.
- Scheduling Links: Share high-priority links and set flexible durations to book your most important meetings sooner.
- Calendar Sync events: Smart Events have the ability to actually block availability, control visibility for how events show up to others, and other settings like when to sync your calendar events.
- No-Meeting Days: Smart Events allow you to defend time from meetings, as well, with no meeting days, while still being able to auto-plan your day around productive work.
- Normal calendar events: Reclaim even allows you to change priority levels for normal Google Calendar events to offer more availability for urgent meetings via Scheduling Links.
How to become a Smart Events expert
Ready to have the power of AI powering your schedule? Here's your guide to becoming a savvy smart event user with Reclaim.ai:
1. Give your Smart Events some breathing room
Reclaim lets you customize its AI to fit your unique needs. First and foremost, you'll want to dive into the settings and personalize your scheduling hours. But it goes deeper than that — you can define both time ranges and durations of your Smart Events to give Reclaim more opportunities to get it done. The more you define your preferences, the smarter your smart events become.
2. Prioritize ruthlessly
Remember, Smart Events can only be as smart as your priorities. Priorities are the ultimate heuristic for scheduling, and they cut across meetings, focus time, and the rest of life. At the end of the day, your priorities should always be the things that dictate what's on your schedule. But this isn’t the case with normal calendar events – this is where Smart Events are different and better.
Along with all the scheduling preferences we mentioned previously, you can also assign Priorities (from P1 to P4) to all your Smart Events in Reclaim. That way, Reclaim can automatically ensure your most important priorities will make it on the calendar without getting squeezed out by less important commitments.
3. Embrace flexibility
Life is messy, and we all face different constraints, both in our professional and personal lives, such as inbound meetings, quick syncs with the boss, and commitments to our family. At the same time, we all have aspirations — there are things we want to be better at and things we want to spend more time on. But, Smart Events can give you the ability to thread the needle thanks to their flexibility. If unexpected changes come up, then Smart Events will gracefully adjust your day, protecting your critical activities and minimizing disruption.
4. Track and refine
Don't set it and forget it! Regularly review your schedule and track your progress. See how well your Smart Events are working for you, and identify areas for improvement. Reclaim.ai includes time-tracking features that automatically analyze where you spend time so you can maximize your productivity – and focus on what matters most. Fine-tune your settings based on your time tracking stats, constantly learning and tweaking to make your smart events even more effective.
5. Involve your team
Reclaim shines even brighter when used by teams. If everyone's schedule is packed with Smart Events, finding time to collaborate and meet with your team suddenly becomes 10x easier. Your AI calendar now knows which events are negotiable and which aren’t — we all know what's high-priority and what isn't. Thanks to Smart Events, even if we end up getting overbooked, no sweat; Smart Events will automatically move and shift to make room for our priorities.
Time is precious, and juggling priorities can feel like a constant game of Tetris. But with AI-powered scheduling on your side, you can kiss calendar conflicts and wasted minutes goodbye.
Remember, Smart Events are more than just fancy calendar entries — they're your intelligent AI companions that help handle logistics, prioritize important tasks, embrace flexibility, and achieve balance for a harmonious work-life.
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