In previous years, this annual series covered individual apps. This year, we are looking at all-in-one solutions in addition to strategies to help in 2021. Welcome to day 13 of 21 Days of Productivity in 2021.
Setting appointments with other people is difficult. Most of the time, we guess at a date and time and then start the "is this time bad for you? No, that time is bad for me, how about..." dance. It is easier with co-workers since you can see each others' calendars. You just have to find that magic spot that is good for almost everyone who needs to be on the call. However, for freelancers managing personal calendars, the dance is a routine part of setting up calls and meetings.
This scheduling is a particular challenge for someone like me. Since I interview people for my weekly productivity podcast, finding a time that works for both of us can be extra challenging.
Finally, one of my guests said, "Hey, to get on my calendar, go to this URL, and pick a time that works for both of us."
This concept was, to be honest, a revelation. There is software (and services) out there that allows a person requesting the meeting to pick a time that is good for both parties! No more back and forth trying to figure it out! It also means that I could give the person being interviewed control over their own availability.
There are several commercial and cloud-hosted solutions that provide this service. The best open source alternative I've used is Easy!Appointments. It is exceptionally easy to set up and has a handy WordPress plug-in that allows users to put the request form on a page or post.
Easy!Appointments is geared more towards a service organization, like a helpdesk or a handyman service, with the ability to add multiple people (aka Service Providers) and give them individual schedules. It also allows for various service types. While I only have it set up for one person (me) and one service (an interview), for a helpdesk, it might have four or five people and services like "Set up new laptop," "New hire setup," and "Set up new printer."
Easy!Appointments can also synchronize with Google Calendar on a per-person basis to automatically add or update any new appointments on their calendar. There are discussions in their issue tracker about support for syncing to additional backends. Easy!Appointments also supports multiple languages, time zones, and a whole host of other useful features.
It has been freeing to be able to say, "You can book your interview on this web page," and spending less time negotiating when we are both available to talk. That gives both myself and the other person more time to do more productive things. Whether you are an individual, like me, or a service organization, Easy!Appointments is a big help when scheduling time with other people.