Getting Things Done Using Your Calendar with David Tedaldi from Morgen

30 Apr 2024 3 Back to episodes
Digital Citizen:

Getting Things Done Using Your Calendar with David Tedaldi from Morgen

30 Apr 2024 Season 3

We delve further into the world of productivity with our special guest, David Tedaldi, CEO and Co-Founder of Morgen. Hear about Morgen’s mission and values, what makes its product stand out among other productivity tools, and the customizable workflows that are now available for Fastmail customers through our new integration with Morgen Assist.

Episode Notes

Discover insights into the significance of purposeful productivity, how to best manage your calendar in order to prioritize the most important things, and as always, how to be the best possible digital citizen.

▶️ Guest Interview – David Tedaldi

🗣️ Discussion Points

  • Morgen integrates with your time management tools. It allows you to actively manage all of your calendars for tasks, projects, and scheduling in one place, solving the issue of staying on top of your timeline.
  • One of the benefits of a tool like Morgen, is that it helps you stay on top of your tasks, making your productivity intentional. As a Morgen Power user, David follows the model that if something isn’t on his calendar, it’s probably not going to happen. He believes that “since life is so short, we should only work on important things.”
  • Fastmail has partnered with Morgen, so you can start automating your calendar and adding customizable workflows. Connect Fastmail with Morgen Assist to set up these and other smart automations in your calendar.
  • Fastmail customers who use Morgen vocalized their desire for this feature, which inspired us to collaborate on an integration for our shared customer base.
  • The most important aspect of being a good digital citizen is respect. This includes respecting the people you talk to online and respecting the privacy of users as a developer.

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Ricardo Signes: Welcome back to the Digital Citizen Podcast. I’m Ricardo Signes at Fastmail, the email provider of choice for savvy digital citizens everywhere. Here with me is my colleague, Haley Hnatuk.

Haley Hnatuk: Hi, everyone. I’m Haley Hnatuk, Fastmail’s Senior Podcast Producer, Marketing Specialist, and the Co-host of Digital Citizen. As a member of our marketing team, I’ve had a great time working on the release of our newest integration. On April 16th, we launched a new calendar integration with Morgen that enables Fastmail customers to personalize their calendar workflow in new and exciting ways. If you use Fastmail and Morgen and love using your calendar to power your productivity like I do, run, don’t walk to check it out. Our new integration helps you easily schedule events from one calendar into another and create buffers and travel time into your workday as well as time blocks for focused work on important tasks. I can’t wait to listen to today’s episode where you’ll be chatting with David, the CEO and co-founder of Morgen, a company focused on optimizing time management and workflows for professionals. What will the two of you be chatting about today, Rik?

Ricardo Signes: We’re going to talk about Morgen’s mission and values and what makes its product standout among other productivity tools. We’ll also hear some of David’s expert productivity advice and the workflows that work for him. Finally, we’ll discuss the customizable workflows that are now available to customers through our new integration with Morgen Assist.

Haley Hnatuk: I really can’t wait. I know that everyone has different workflows that help them get things done, and this integration helps serve that. Before you jump into your conversation, I’d love to hear from a developer perspective how you stay productive and on task when you’re building a new feature or integration.

Ricardo Signes: Yeah, I mean, there’s two parts to that, right? One is the real answer is most of the time if you want to stay on task as a programmer, you wait for inspiration to strike you and you enter a state where you can only be focused. But you can’t— I can’t make that happen. I’m sure there’s somebody who can. So the rest of your time, for me, it’s building guardrails that when I start to go down a rabbit hole force me to realize what I’m doing and that I should stop. And a big part of that for me is just talking to people about what I’m doing, like talk to my colleagues and interrupt them and ask them questions. And then they’ll say, “Weren’t you supposed to be doing this other thing?” And I say, “Oh yeah.”

Ricardo Signes: And the other, which we’ll talk about a little in this episode, is I have a bunch of sticky notes on my wall right now that tell me what I’m doing today. And they’re on the window, so when I look out to look at the Philadelphia skyline, I see all these colored sticky notes and the one right in the middle is what I should be doing. And if I see it and it’s not what I’ve been doing for the last three hours, I know that I’ve got to fix my day. What about you? So in the marketing team, I know you have a lot of the same issue of many things going on and many potential distractions, what are you doing to keep on the right path?

Haley Hnatuk: Yeah, no, we definitely balance a lot of things between the podcast and new feature releases, integrations and just like general, the work that we have to do to keep the lights on. So in terms of staying on task, I think prioritizing is the most important thing. So really looking at the top of my week at the tasks that need to be completed that week, and we use Linear as our task management system, and going into Linear and saying, “This is an urgent task, this is a high-priority task, this is a medium task, this is a low-priority task, like if this moves into next cycle, that’s going to be fine.”

Haley Hnatuk: And then staying in contact with my manager about those things and checking in and making sure that nothing has shifted, nothing has changed, there’s nothing new that needs to be added. When things get added, moving out those low-priority tasks and pushing them out into another cycle just to make sure that whatever is the highest priority is the thing that’s getting done. Because with marketing work, there’s always another thing that you can be doing. There’s always another piece of copy that you can be writing or blog posts that you can be working on, and it’s just making sure the high-priority things are getting your focus.

Ricardo Signes: Yeah, I mean, in both cases it’s remembering what the top priority is, what the current activity is so you can say no to everything else. And you’ll hear a little bit of discussion of that when I talk to David. So get ready. You’re going to hear it now. And at the end of the episode and every other episode this season, there’ll be some takeaways, some things you can actually do to be a better digital citizen. And you can also find those on the website at

Ricardo Signes: I’m here with David from Morgen, is CEO and co-founder, how, Let’s talk about Morgen. How do you describe what Morgen is when someone says, “Hey, David, what do you do?”

David Tedaldi: It’s basically an app that takes all the tools you use for time management and brings them all together under the same hood. So basically is we allow you to actively manage all the calendars you use, tasks, project management tools, scheduling, everything in the same place. Real enabling this quite novel user experience, especially when it comes to time management.

Ricardo Signes: Okay. So Morgen works a lot of different tools from Linear to To-Do List. Why is it so important to use Morgen to bring all these together?

David Tedaldi: We are not actually going and substitute any of your tools really, right? So when you are in need of managing your time and resources, you might need to have a very good project management tool. Then as a team, you’re going to need to have shared calendars and you’re going to need to have a personal calendar very likely, right? So what we do is really we defragment the user experience you have across these different tools that are great to really go and solve your very personal issue. That is, how do I stay on top of this multifaceted diamond that is your timeline, right? And this is really the one thing we do. We bring everything together and we ease anything, any single operation that you might need to be able to perform on any of the other tools we are combining. So it’s really all about integrating things together.

Ricardo Signes: As a Morgen power user, how do you use Morgen on a day-to-day basis?

David Tedaldi: I really go by the motto, if it isn’t in my calendar, it’s not going to happen. I’m one of these people. So I end up time blocking a lot. It’s a very simple process of prioritization that I do very regularly. So at the beginning of every day, at the beginning of every week, I just take a look at everything I have in the calendar. Everything that is not in the calendar, it should get squeezed in and reprioritize a few things. And this is really how I use Morgen as a power user. There’s other aspects of it like scheduling for booking meetings and other features, but I think that the high-level answer is that.

Ricardo Signes: Sometimes I talk to people and I say, “So you have a productivity tool?” And they say, “Oh, it’s not productivity. We don’t like to talk about productivity. We think it’s a bad word.” I love the word productivity. I think about productivity a lot. I know that you use the word productivity as well. What’s your number one piece of advice for people who want to think about their productivity?

David Tedaldi: Yeah. ****So I don’t want to sound too radical about it and/or overly opinionated, but I think it’s very important to keep in mind life’s short and one should only work on the important things. There is so much distractions coming our way, so much — so many disruptions that we can’t foresee and we can’t really avoid sometimes. I think that anytime we are given the opportunity to work on what really matters, we should really try and focus only on the important things. And this is really, you know, where a tool like Morgen comes in and help me personally and many others actually stay on top of that. Like, kind of you know, we want to make sure productivity is purposeful. People can pursue what they really want through effective planning and stay on track with what they’re really aiming at.

Ricardo Signes: I like that. I think that saying no to the extra stuff is often what makes the core activities of my day go better. And making it visible is also a big part of doing that for me. So having that in my calendar is important to me. And like you said, if it’s not in my calendar, it’s not really happening. To switch gears a little bit, at Fastmail, all the work we do is driven by our customer-centered values. Can you tell me more about what the motivations that drive the Morgen team are?

David Tedaldi: The single one mission we are on with Morgen is letting people spend their time with purpose as I mentioned before. This really means we don’t want to get in the way of helping you defining your goals or what are the steps that are going to get you there, but we want to make sure that once you plan out things then you’re going to be able to stick to it, right? Realistically and as thoroughly as possible. So this is really what we are on the mission of building and this is what really drive us a lot.

David Tedaldi: The other aspect that is very important to us is universality. We really want to make sure we don’t cut anybody out from the possibility of using the best possible techniques to stay on top of their time. So this is really why everything we do is built across the board to work on any device and integrating with any service people are already using.

David Tedaldi: It’s really a matter of not excluding people because they’re using specific tools more than necessarily having to serve every single knowledge worker out there, right? And the people we are building for really are, of course, people that spend a lot of time on their computer and they deliver value thinking hard, so to say, right? We’re building for those people that feel a bit stretched across a little too many things. If you really start working on your thing only at 4:00 p.m. and you have to put in those extra hours here and there and it’s really feeling like you’re running one task after the other and you don’t have that fundamental choice of what you’re working on next, I think these are the people we’re talking to. These are what’s really our users enjoy the tool for. And this is the kind of people we are really building for ultimately.

Ricardo Signes: Talking about these integrations, of course a recent integration is the Morgen and Fastmail integration that we’ve done some work on. Could you tell us about that work?

David Tedaldi: So it’s actually been a while we’re working together. I think we started last year with simplifying the onboarding of Fastmail users into Morgen, implementing OAuth. And now we have been working more closely with your team to bring to life the integration of Fastmail into the Morgen Assist. This platform that allows automating some bits and parts of your time management. Now, what’s exciting about this is that any Fastmail user would be able to, you know, automatically time block travel time for slots that are in their Fastmail calendar and have an address. So like, making sure there is travel time blocked out. And other similar features like adding buffer time automatically. But one thing that I think is most interesting, imagining people being forced by whichever workplace they are in to take some other calendar, maybe an Outlook or a Google Calendar there. One particularly interesting feature is the calendar propagation, which basically allows me in a very privacy-preserving and secure way to block times into my work calendar anytime I’m busy in my private calendar, right, without propagating any [clear] information, without showing any detail, but just to make sure basically I’m not going to get scheduled a meeting with my boss at the same time I’m supposed to be going to the dentist or anything like this. So this is really the work we’ve been doing together and this is really what we have just recently shipped.

Ricardo Signes: I like the example of blocking stuff in your work calendar. We just yesterday in the office were talking about… Someone said, “You know what?” Their previous workplace, they’d have their personal calendars on the work server, and it was so your availability was preserved, but people started looking at what you were doing and it was a little creepy. And don’t do things that are creepy is pretty built into the Fastmail way of building products. So anything that we do to help people lead a life that is not creepy online is enjoyable and on brand.

David Tedaldi: Yes, definitely.

Ricardo Signes: I’ve really enjoyed trying it out and I think our shared customers will really benefit from the integration, too. And when we first started this project, what made you interested and excited to work with us on this integration?

David Tedaldi: So it was really listening to Fastmail users. So we have quite a few Fastmail users on our platform and they were really telling us they feel a big need to have all of these additional features and they don’t want to give up the fantastic experience they have on Fastmail, just to enjoy this modern, advanced calendaring functionalities.

Ricardo Signes: Yeah, it’s been enjoyable. I think being able to make those kind of integrations possible has been really rewarding from our side. Making it simple for people to bring in outside tools and use OAuth and use standard protocols to make stuff work is very much in line with what we want to do being a good internet citizen, right? Make the things able to work together.

David Tedaldi: Yes, yes, 100%. And this is really what drives us a lot as well. Back to the universality point, this is really— you know, it goes into the direction of being a good digital citizen, indeed. Like, we are not here to bully people into using any tool, any specific tool. We want to try to make sure we service as many interested people as we can because it’s without forcing them into different rules.

Ricardo Signes: So, David, the first time we spoke, it was I think about a year ago, something like that, maybe longer, talking about OAuth. And the beginning of that, it was similar. We were looking at who uses Fastmail and who uses clients that could be using OAuth just because OAuth is simpler for people to integrate with, it’s more secure, it’s easier to set up. And we got in touch with people who we thought had clients that could work together.

Ricardo Signes: And in that conversation, I recall someone from Morgen said that it was important that things you did worked with CalDAV and not just the proprietary Microsoft calendaring or Google calendaring. And for Fastmail, and especially for me personally, this is huge. Every time people move their technology onto a proprietary protocol, even if it’s been published, right, you can look up how to use Google’s protocol, but you can only use it with Google. And if someone re-implements it, first off, they have to worry about legal trouble. And even if there’s no legal trouble, you have to worry about Google changing the protocol and now you’re not supporting Google’s protocol and you’re not supporting the standard protocol. You’re supporting Google’s protocol from 2020.

Ricardo Signes: So when things work on published standards, it’s a way of creating a marketplace that lets more people either compete or just share interesting technology. And that’s a big part of what Fastmail stands for, creating this open ecosystem of tools. And in email, there’s lots and lots of these tools that are around, and in calendaring I think the market’s much smaller. And the amount of innovation that happens in the features in the open space is small. People add their own proprietary features that they fit in, but they don’t interoperate. And making things that interoperate with multiple servers or multiple calendars is the way to keep the space interesting for new people to do work.

Ricardo Signes: And so it’s probably worth us mentioning that the things that were done on the technical side to make Morgen and Fastmail work together are built on top of open standards. There’s still a tiny, tiny bit proprietary, but that’s a stepping stone. Like, people who like reading standards documents can go read RFC 8621 and 8620 and see how we made this thing work and in the not too distant future implement their own integrations with it. And the fact that Morgen had come saying, “We want to build things that are interoperable, that can work with CalDAV,” to me that hit right in the middle of what we want to accomplish. And that was great.

Ricardo Signes: You’ve done some other cool integrations this year. Earlier in this conversation you mentioned Linear, and I’m always excited when I hear someone mention Linear because we use Linear at Fastmail, I use Linear a little bit personally. It’s a tool I really like. So when you say you’ve integrated with Linear, I want to know more. Can you tell me about that?

David Tedaldi: We built an integration with Linear very selfishly. Like, we are big Linear users for a while now, and we figured we were really building this awesome tool serving so many people, simplifying life for so many people, really bringing their issues and tasks next to their calendar. And we were going back and forth between the two tools and having to create manually issues or slots into the calendar that were pointing back to the Linear issues and stuff. So we really decided, well, we really ought to build this integration and we build it in a very personal way in a sense because we really built it for ourselves first. And now it works like magic. Just your Linear issues are there. You can easily drag and drop into the calendar as many blockers as you want to get back to it. It’s very nice. It’s very easy to jump back into Linear. It’s just the experience we were dreaming of.

Ricardo Signes: What else have you been working on? What other integrations or other interesting features you’ve been building?

David Tedaldi: So we are doubling down a little bit on integrations. There are a few more project management tools that we are bringing into the Morgen ecosystem. Something I’m very excited about, I cannot disclose too much because we are really in an advanced design phase at the moment and prototyping phase, but in a nutshell, the idea would be that we’re working on something very neat that helps you planning time way easier than ever before. Morgen can take that information and help you finding the best possible way to plan things, or at the very least, make sure you don’t miss deadlines. You don’t figure out you’re going to have to pull a one-nighter to get to deadline or things like this, right?

David Tedaldi: So this is really where these kind of recommendations will come in. And the big catch there compared to others that try to build automators in the space of planning and project management, the big difference there is that we are really building things having a profound respect for you as a user, you as a person really and your time. So we will never take over. We will never take away the control from you. We really want you to be always in the loop, right? So that we basically there to assist you, not to steal away from you the control you have over what’s possibly the most precious resource you have. That’s your time, right? So that’s what some big things we are building, working on lately.

Ricardo Signes: So if people want to know more about Morgen, what do you tell them they should go look?

David Tedaldi: Well, for sure on our website, But also it’s great, we have an ever-growing Discord community, which we’re really trying to stay as close as possible to. So joining our Discord community, which is accessible through our website, that’s the best way to actually get in touch, learn more about what we’re doing, and explore and even just chat with other people active in the community.

Ricardo Signes: The last thing that we usually talk about is the broad overarching question of the podcast, which is about digital citizenship, which we often talk about as what are the things that people should be doing to take care of themselves and take care of others online to make a culture that we can be in that is healthy and good for us. And I like to ask people, what do you think people should be doing toward that end?

David Tedaldi: It really grounds into respect, but really 360 degrees respect, right? In any interaction, whether it is we are interacting, talking to each other, I think respecting each other opinion and really not forget that there is a person behind the line of text. I think that’s a very important piece of being a good digital citizen. But even in more sophisticated interactions, I think it really goes into the direction of respecting the privacy of the people if you’re building services. Or data ownership, right, respecting people freedom of choice, like choosing their tools freely and not being forced into mainstream monopolistic systems, right? I think all these things go back to respect. And I think that really what could make a good digital citizen is really just remember that we are all people. It’s a different square. We’re not seeing each other faces all the time, but it is that we are still people. So respect should be there.

Ricardo Signes: Yeah, I think that’s great. Totally agree with that. I think that it’s very astute of you to draw the connection between people are real people and that’s why we give them their privacy. That’s why we give them this choice. It is a matter of respect.

Ricardo Signes: Well, that was it. I hope everybody else is excited about this integration as we are.

Haley Hnatuk: Yeah, I had a great time listening to your conversation with David, and I think, you know, one thing that really resonated with me was when you were talking about CalDAV. And I’d love, you know, to hear you just talk a little bit more about Fastmail’s open standards work.

Ricardo Signes: Yeah, I think that our work in open standards is central to what Fastmail is and what we do. Email is tough and calendars are tough and in part it’s because they are solving actually complicated problems, especially calendars. And in part it’s because they have been built up over decades to be compatible with lots of other systems and to make it possible for anyone who wants to build a piece of software to integrate with the ecosystem of email and calendars and the exchange of that information and collaborative scheduling.

Ricardo Signes: And any idiot can build a calendar system that you can only use from the inside. That’s not really true. Calendaring is still really hard. But choosing to do that is saying our product is so good that you’re going to abandon interoperating with everybody else because they’re going to end up coming to you. And even if it’s true, which it won’t be, you end up creating a monoculture where, well, now everybody’s inside of our product. That doesn’t have to be good anymore.

Ricardo Signes: And I am far from being a big free market, we’ll solve everything kind of person, but there’s a level at which things like marketplaces help ideas to improve and get better. And that is in part what open standards are doing because you establish a way for people to have ideas for software that interoperate and can work together and evolve and success can be something that goes to all new software and products that fail don’t take down all their users, they just let them move on to something else.

Ricardo Signes: And Fastmail has always said, “We want to be part of the ecosystem. We want to create a better market,” right? We make better email for our users, but we make better markets for the whole set of open standards. And everything we do moving that work forward is exciting to me. That, that to me is what Fastmail does that is most exciting beyond a really good email product that I like more than anything else I’ve used is making it possible for somebody else to top us someday by building better technology for them to build on.

Haley Hnatuk: Yeah, it’s so important. And I know, you know, when I was looking at different places that I could work, what really drove me to apply to work at Fastmail was our values-driven culture. Outside of my work at Fastmail, I’m a documentary filmmaker and storyteller and, you know, doing values-driven work is something that’s really important to me. At Fastmail, we have four key values. You’re the customer, not the product. Your data belongs to you. We are good stewards of that data. And we are good digital citizens. So on that note, Rik, can you tell us what you think the key takeaways of this discussion were for our Digital Citizen listeners?

Ricardo Signes: Yeah, I think the first one, which we talked about at the top of the show too, is to be intentional about how you’re spending your time. And sometimes that means saying no to the distraction, the attractive distraction that’s not what you actually really want to get done. And sometimes it’s taking a step back to decide if you’re picking the right thing to work on. But really make choices that you follow through with. Don’t just be a leaf in the wind when it comes to how you spend all the time in your life. We talked in previous episodes about the fact that everybody has their own time management strategy that maybe works for them. For David, it’s time blocking in his calendar and using it as his to-do list. And for me right now, it’s putting stickies on a window. Recognize what your own is, right? Be thoughtful about it and figure out what can you do, what works for you so that you can be intentional about your time. And finally, I’m really happy every time this one comes up. David brought it up, we’ve heard it in the past. Treat the people that you interact with online with respect. They’re human beings, they have feelings and it’s not cool to hurt people’s feelings on purpose or to treat them with total disregard. And every time I see online interactions that are respectful, I think that people are pretty okay and I would like to see everybody lean into making that happen.

Haley Hnatuk: Well, we hope that you can take these actionable steps towards being a better digital citizen.

Ricardo Signes: Yeah. And we’ll see you again in two weeks for a new conversation about how to stay happy and healthy online. Thanks for listening to Digital Citizen. Digital Citizen is produced by Fastmail, the email provider of choice for savvy digital citizens everywhere. Our show is produced by Haley Hnatuk. Special thanks to the incredible team of people behind Fastmail. Digital Citizen is hosted by me, Ricardo Signes. You can subscribe to our show on your favorite podcast player and for a free one-month trial of Fastmail, you can go to And for more episodes, transcripts, and my takeaways, you can go to

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