In my job I meet with a lot of partners and interview candidates, scheduling many meetings a day. Trying to coordinate schedules over email is painful. Typing out what times are open in an email, then getting a response back after other meetings are scheduled over that time, revising and sending, back and forth… inefficient!
So the solution? http://tungle.me is a very useful (and free!) site that addresses just this issue. With my tungle.me link http://tungle.me/noahcoad, people can see my work availably in real-time. They have a little app that keeps the online calendar synced with my Outlook Calendar. I just ask people in email now “http://tungle.me/noahcoad shows my availably, please propose a few times that work for you using that link”. They click the link, select a few times that work for them, tungle.me send me their proposed times, I pick one, meeting scheduled.
A few other notes:
- Back at Microsoft my meetings were mostly internal and we all used Outlook so it was easy to see and schedule meetings within Outlook. This solution is geared to working with people outside your organization.
- I have noticed a few glitches in the Outlook sync tool, particularly with reoccurring meetings that come from others, so you occasionally need to make sure it’s in sync.
- Not everyone is going to be familiar or comfortable with the tool at first so it does take a little educating sometimes, but it is still far easier for both parties.
- Office Live used to have a way to publish an Outlook Calendar, but the feature was abandoned. That was a read-only solution anyway and tungle.me looks nicer.
- I also use an AutoHotKey AutoReplace string so that it’s quick and easy to insert the link into an email. I just type ]tme and it’s replaced with the link.
Update (1/30/2013): Shortly after this post, tungle.me was bought out by RIM (makers of the BlackBerry). It was okay for about a year, then taken down. Too bad. I haven’t found a reasonable replacement. I hope the owners made a lot of money. I’m sad to see their great idea and excellent work be removed from public access.