Dashboard is a feature of Mac OS X that I’ve never felt I really used to it’s fullest capability. That said, every now and again I decide to plunge into the widgets section of the Apple downloads page and surface with a couple of new gems. I recently found two widgets that have been great for time management.

The first widget is called QuickCal. If you use iCal to coordinate your life you need this widget. It’s just a text field, much like a google or wikipedia widget, that sits on your Dashboard. What it lets you do is add events to your iCal by typing them in plain english. For instance: type into QuickCal “Budget Meeting Saturday at 2pm until 3pm.”

Then it will create an event called “Budget Meeting” that will span the next Saturday from 2pm until 3pm. It’s that simple. By clicking on the upper right corner it will change which calendar it will add the event too. The only downside I’ve found so far is that it doesn’t seem to be able to create repeating events, but this is easily changed on iCal itself later on. I highly recommend this widget if you are often adding random events to your calendar.

The other widget is called Minutes. This is nothing more than an extremely simple yet elegant timer. I find using a timer helpful in managing my attention while studying (or writing blog posts) and it’s taken me a while to find a widget I really liked. What I love about this one is it’s super simple interface, it’s just a dial you drag to the number of minutes you need.

It has multiple skins, which is a nice touch, and multiple alert types. You can have it start to play itunes when using it as an alarm clock, or just have it play one of several alert noises (I rather like the bell which sounds like a gong). My favorite though is that it throws an alert on top of whatever you’re working on that looks like this:

Which is nice and hard to ignore. It can also give you just this alert without the sound which is nice if you don’t want to be heard.

Basically both of these widgets are very good at what they do. They are both incredibly simple without a ton of fancy options, but still manage to be as feature rich as you’d like. I use them both frequently and think you should check them out.

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