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Beginning using Apple Calendar on your iPhone, iPad, and desktop

If you have an iPhone, you have a great app called Apple Calendar.  It's also on your desktop computer, and on your iPad, and they're all connected through iCloud. No, you don't have to download anything, it's already there, and everything is already connected. If you've been using anything else for your appointments, etc., then you're just making things way too hard on yourself. But like anything that's new to someone, it can be a challenge getting started. This is how;

• Start by looking at Apple Calendar on your desktop. It's in the Applications folder. Yes, you'll be using it on your phone, and tablet, but start with the full-sized version of it. Click around on stuff - no, you won't hurt it. This is how I used to encourage my students to begin to learn any software. Open it up, look at it. Don't read about it, or talk about it, or study trivia about it, play with it.

• Put some goofy stuff on your calendar. I'm a big believer in learning by doing, so start with something that really doesn't matter, like making an appointment to tell your dog how good she is tomorrow. From there you'll see learn the various functions of an electronic calendar. No, you don't have to learn everything, that's just the point. Learn what you will need to make, and keep those appointments.

• Practice with friends. I've always done this. Make an appointment with a friend, for lunch or something, and pretend that it's all being arranged through the calendar. Yes, you can still call them, or message them. But use the calendar as if it's all you're relying on. When appointments get real, you'll already be comfortable.

• Don't set it and forget it. This is the number one mistake people make with electronic calendars. Even the best systems are only as good as the people who use them. Yesterday I realized that I had set a noon appointment for 12 am. A computer doesn't know how stupid that is, but I realized it by going back and looking at it. And that's what you should do - look at your calendar. I have my iPad in the kitchen and I glance at it every morning at breakfast. And I keep Apple Calendar open here on my desktop.

So there you go - this is a good first step towards getting your life more organized. Once you get used to it, it's very convenient! And if someone starts telling you about thousands of obscure functions that electronic calendars have, just put your hands over your ears and hum, and hope that they go away. Now go have some fun with Apple Calendar!