Are you an instructional coach that needs to set up a coaching cycle in advance or an administrator who needs a quick way to schedule meetings with several people at once? Finding the right time slot can be like looking for a needle in a haystack and it can be a hassle trying to match people’s calendars. In this blog entry, we’ll revisit the importance of scheduling and tools to make it easier.
Setting Up Your Own Schedule
Time is the one resource you can’t replenish. Use it or lose it forever. One way to safeguard your time is to use a calendar program such as Google Calendars or Microsoft Outlook. These powerful tools make setup and maintenance of a calendar a breeze. One of my favorite views for calendars is the schedule view. It converts your list of events into a To Do list, a task list to work through. Here are some ways you can make scheduling easier:
Suggestion #1: Convert your calendar list to a task list.
Each week, I take a quick look at my calendar and make a list of the events in a note-taking tool. Google Tasks and Keep provide some nice features, as does Microsoft To-Do. This makes it easy to keep track of calendar-based tasks. Add sub-tasks to your main event task and then check it off. The inclusion of checkboxes in all three web and smartphone app versions makes this a cinch.
Suggestion #2: Organize tasks in sequential order of priority.
While you are converting your events into tasks, why not organize them in order of priority? Your calendar program will remind you of the appropriate sequence of events. If you need to get ready for a meeting, it’s better to start with the most important item. Sequencing them early in the day can remind you of what’s coming up later.
Suggestion #3: Collaborate on a meeting scheduling.
Meeting events involve others. How do you wrangle schedules to get to the one time slot that works for all? You collaborate on the task of scheduling.
Collaborate on Scheduling Tasks
Wondering how you can shuffle off the work of scheduling a high priority meeting to others? Use technology tools that make this job easier.
Here are a few oldies but goodies to get you started, listed in alphabetic order:
- Calendar: Sign up with your Google login or email. Like the other apps in this list, Calendar makes it easy to schedule meetings with others. Basic use is free. It offers extra features like analytics and meeting transcription for $10 a month.
- Calendly: Schedule meetings without the back-and-forth of email. You tell calendly your desired times, then share the Calendly link via email. People pick a time and it gets added to your calendar. This costs money, depending on your needs.
- Doodle: This premier meeting scheduler is web-based and creates a poll for recipients. Invitees receive the poll, then select their best meeting time. This one costs money also, depending on your needs. Pricing is free to $69 annual cost.
- HubSpot: A free tool, you can use this to schedule appointments. It integrates with Google Calendar and Office 365.
- Pick: While it lacks a free option, the cost is only $3 per month. It’s incredibly easy to use and works on the web and your smartphone.
- You Can Book Me: A tool I’ve recommended to instructional coaches for empowering teachers to book them, this includes a free option. You can also pay $10 a month for this web-based scheduling tool.
There are many more meeting schedulers. Here’s a new one you may not have heard of yet.
Meeting Scheduler Spotlight: Xoyondo
A newcomer to scheduling tasks is Xoyondo. It’s free, does not need registration, and is drop-dead easy. Some of its free features include:
- Easy scheduling of meetings, polls, and message boards
- Dashboard view of all polls
- Unlimited polls and participants
- A public personal page with a web address (URL) of your choice
You can see a complete list of attributes online, along with pricing for even more features.
Ready to get started on that next important meeting? Don’t be the face that launched a thousand emails! Instead, use one of the meeting schedulers mentioned in this blog to save time and effort.