For a long time, I have been looking for the digital equivalent of a year calendar where I can see the my year at a glance. Then I found Yearful, a calendar app that displays my year on a single page with added functionality of a day counter. Here’s how Yearful is working for me.
The Shape of a Year
When I used an analogue diary, my favourite annual ritual was populating the blank year calendar page by transferring key recurrent dates (birthdays, anniversaries etc) and overlaying upcoming events and deadlines. This high-level overview conveyed the shape of the coming year. I could see when events and activities converged and when there were periods of quietitude. I found it was a useful tool in managing my time and energies.
When I embraced the electronic diary, I continued the annual overview in the form of a colour-coded wall calendar. I love a good wall calendar! I even made a textile year calendar Remember the Date for the 2010 Australasian Quilt Convention challenge (see below). However, I found that when I was travelling extensively for teaching and as curator of touring exhibitions, I missed my wall calendar back in my studio. So began my quest for a year calendar app that I could access from anywhere.
Digital calendar and to-do apps typically provide a month view, week view and day view but the year view is either non-existent or woefully deficient of detail. According to the Yearful About Page, Toby was similarly frustrated at this gap and developed some spreadsheet tools that evolved into a fully fledged app:
“The visual aspect of seeing the whole year on one page was very powerful. Instead of slipping through my diary, I suddenly could see exactly where I’d been, and where I was going, with just one look…I thought, this is not just a data nerd solution; this could be useful in all sorts of ways for all sorts of people. If there were enough other people with this “problem”, it might be worth trying to turn this into a proper app. And here we are; welcome to Yearful.”
Once you have a Yearful account (it’s free!), you log into the website, click on the calendar grid to select a date range, then assign a category (think event or activity) and colour code. It’s much quicker to define events by clicking and dragging on the desktop version. I also added Yearful to the home screen on my phone and tablet and use the mobile version when I am out and about to view my plans and to make minor edits.
The first calendar I created is a high level view of my major personal, family and volunteer commitments. I prefer to keep my calendar private but this gives you an idea how a calendar might look. On a desktop, the months are shown on the left-hand side – ie 12 rows (see desktop screenshots ) while on mobile devices, the months are shown in columns (see mobile screenshots).
Where Yearful really shines is as a logging tool and so I have set up two further calendars specifically for tracking exhibitions and exercise.
One of the things that I like to measure is when and how long my artwork is on exhibition. Sure, writing it down gives me a rough idea:
- 10 January – 24 March 2019: Season After Season, SAQA global exhibition, premiere at Texas Quilt Museum, La Grange, Texas, USA. Seachange: Whale Tracks
- 21 January – 28 February 2019: State of the Art Quilt 2018 Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery
- 11 February – 9 March 2019: Australia Wide Six at at The Q Exhibition Space, Queanbeyan, NSW
- 23 February-31 March 2019: Golden Textures at Central Goldfields Art Gallery, Maryborough, Victoria
- 19-23 June 2019: QuiltNSW Guest Artist at the Sydney Quilt Show
However, Yearful goes one step further and gives me a breakdown of exhibition days by month and by year. No more [mis] counting boxes or lines in a calendar, the calculations are automatic. For example, those bands of black denote that Australia Wide Six is on exhibition for 164 days in 2019 and the blue shows that, so far, Season After Season is booked for 78 days.
By the way, if your artwork is selected for Art Quilt Australia 2019, it will be on exhibition in a gallery setting for more than six months! Entry is open to residents of Australia and New Zealand and OZQN members worldwide with discounted fees for OZQN members.
Similarly, I like to see my exercise patterns. My Fitbit and Map My Run apps capture lots of micro-data but ocean swims was something I used to note on my wall calendar. Now I record it in Yearful. This kind of calendar could be easily expanded by adding another category for yoga or gym workouts if that’s your thing.
Yearful has several other features including:
- shareable calendars via a link or, more securely, via specific e-mail addresses – useful for teams, friends or family sharing;
- public holidays for UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada are pre-loaded;
- an option to select date grid in half days or full days – this could be useful for logging teaching assignments;
- a note function that appears on hover; and
- a print out function.
- Apple calendars that I share with the Laundry King;
- the multi-platform Wunderlist app;
- Toggl time-recording; and
- experimenting with my version of a bullet journal which is pleasing if for no other reason that it is green.
It’s early days but so far I find Yearful is a valuable complement to these tools as it enables me to see that shape of my year at a glance and it counts the days automatically. The user-interface is clean and simple and Toby, the developer, seems very responsive to queries and feedback. Maybe you will find Yearful useful too.
Timelines: Remember the Date!
Completed 2010 for the AQC Challenge Remember
122x142cm (HxW )
Artist Statement: A functioning diary or calendar is a powerful tool. It can save you from social embarrassment; family angst; employment reprimands and even pesky late payment fees. These days I primarily use an electronic diary but I love a wall calendar with big boxes where I add my personal colour coding. Ironically, I inadvertently left off 29 and 30 April, the opening days of the Australasian Quilt Convention 2010. Rest assured, I haven’t forgotten the date!