I know sometimes I look like a really busy man, at least on paper.
My friends and family often ask me how I keep all my classes, shows, tasks and events organized. Many years ago, I relied on old-school paper organizers, a couple of highlighters and a lot of sticky notes.
I had a pretty amazing scheduling system that no one else on this planet would be able to understand. My appointment acronyms and color coding of meetings might’ve looked like the handywork of a messy third-grader, but it made perfect sense to me and that’s all that mattered.
Today, life is even more complicated and I’ve ditched my paper system for a combination of nine Google calendars, a smartphone and a lot of automated reminders. I still make mistakes from time to time, but these tools provide me with enough power to know where I need to be at all times.
While I may know where I’m supposed to be on most days of the week, other people I may need to collaborate with are a different story.
Recently, one of my employees introduced me to an amazing tool called Schedule Once. It’s already saved me a couple of times when trying to plan events based around other people’s schedules.
My old-school method would’ve involved me setting an event date and time, contacting the invitees by phone or email, hoping enough people can attend the event as planned and then, upon finding out the date only works for half the invitees, finding a new date and starting over. Hours would be wasted going back and forth through this process.
With Schedule Once, the nightmare of scheduling with other people has gotten a lot simpler. First, I can set the preferred date and duration that I want the event to be held. Next, I invite the attendees and have them go online to my Schedule Once calendar to see what I’ve posted.
Each invitee can then mark which dates will work best for them. Then, Schedule Once sends me an email to alert me that someone has responded on the calendar. I can check in once all the invitees have gotten back to me.
Finally, Schedule Once provides a simple, user-friendly interface to show me the best date and time for the entire group based on their responses. It even suggests the perfect time based on the number of matching responses, the duration of the event and other pertinent details.
To top it all off, Schedule Once is free and integrates with my existing Google calendars. When I’ve locked in the event time, I simply confirm it in Schedule Once and it adds an appointment in my Google calendar automatically.
My highlighters and organizers might hate it, but Schedule Once has become of my new favorite online tools.
[Originally published in The Coloradoan on 10/26/12]