Scheduling meetings takes time. Sometimes a LOT of time. In the first years of my career, I unwisely spent dozens of hours playing email or phone tag to schedule IEPs, evaluations, consults, and other team meetings. And I get it. Some special education meetings involve 10+ people and are a bear to arrange.
My initial wish was for a magical scheduling fairy (or personal assistant) to make this aspect of my job disappear. Alas, my request for this service went unheeded by my administrators.
Instead, I found free tools that would *almost* do the job for me. Please note that I use ALL of the tools below at different times during the day/year. They are all free, but also have paid options available for more customization.
Calend.ly allows you to set up appointment slots for single-person meetings. When you send out your custom link, people can quickly sign up for a time slot. My favorite part of this tool is that it will integrate with Google Meets (my video platform of choice) and include all the meeting information right there in the appointment. You get a confirmation that an appointment has been scheduled and it is already in your calendar, ready to go!
The free version allows you to have one type of meeting slot (I use a default of 60 minutes). I keep a link to my calend.ly in my email signature line at work so that anyone can quickly schedule a consultation with me during my work hours.
I’ve been a long time fan of doodle.com to set up larger meetings (think IEPs). Doodle essentially helps you quickly set up a poll in which you list all the times you could meet. You then send the link out to all other participants and they indicate if they are free at those times as well. You get an email notification for each person that completes the doodle and can easily choose the best meeting time based on the results.
The free version does not integrate with your calendar, but that would be a very nice feature if you were willing to pay.
Side note: I recently learned that doodle.com is based out of Zurich,Switzerland. After visiting there this summer, I 100% would move to this city if offered the job opportunity (hint! hint! doodle!).
As a Google calendar user, I will speak from this vantage (although I am sure that other online calendars have this option as well). Google calendar allows you to “share” your calendar with others so they can quickly see if you are free at different times. You can indicate if you want others to see all of your appointments or just “busy/free.” You can also set your work hours so that others know not to schedule with you outside of certain time periods.
Sharing Google calendars is very useful for teams that work together frequently and want to easily and quickly see someone else’s availability.
want to learn more?
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