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February 26, 2016

Scheduling Tools – Helpful or No?

One question that Together Leaders frequently ask is how to reduce the extraordinary amount of time they spend on scheduling.

I feel this deeply. In my past life, I was fortunate enough to have an amazing assistant who understood my priorities and ran my calendar accordingly.

I entered a new world when I started this grand experiment…All of the sudden, I’m offering people three slots to chat, blocking them off in my Outlook calendar, waiting on replies, sending out invites, deleting the holds, and more. What a pain.

Last month, I emailed fellow author Elena Aguilar to set up a time to chat, and I received the following reply:

Elena ResponseElena uses the Schedule Once app to arrange her calendar. Here’s what she likes about it:

  1. The efficiency (rather than 8 emails back and forth about “Does this time work?” “No, how about this?” “What about earlier?” “That might be okay but let me get back to you…” etc.).
  2. The link to her Google calendar.
  3. The way she can just say, “Go find a time that works!”
  4. The relief from guilt: “I don’t have to tell people, ‘No, I can’t do that time because I’m busy.’”

Here’s what I saw when I went in to find time with Elena:

Schedule Once Part 1Duration is interesting. . .  What if someone wants to sign up for longer than you want to offer? I guess you would have to set expectations on the front end.

Next I got this:

Schedule Once Part 2Elena has already blocked off her availability. Love this.

And then finally:

Schedule Once Part 3After you complete this form, a digital invite gets kicked back to you.

On the one hand, I could see this type of app being really helpful for a school leader whose teachers needed to sign up for debrief spots, or a district recruiter whose candidates needed to schedule interviews.

Personally, I’m not sure it could work for me. I’m very particular about who gets which time slots…I have so many rules:

  • Coaching calls are usually in the afternoons and evenings, but not on travel days.
  • Career or advice calls are always when I’m en route to the airport.
  • Workshop preparation calls are typically in the early afternoons.

When I’m not traveling, most mornings are reserved for research and writing. I don’t want to open up all sections of my calendar, and I tend to group like-type meetings with like-type meetings. For example, today I have all Workshop Preparation calls, but tomorrow I have all Coaching Calls. If I had opened this up for “sign up,” I could be left with a real hodgepodge that requires all sorts of gear-switching I’m not very good at handling. Hmmm…

I’ve also heard good things about TimeTrade and Calendly. You can find a decent review of other online scheduling apps here.

Anyone else use any other helpful scheduling tools?

 

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