I live in Microsoft Outlook, not something that I originally had as a boyhood dream between being All-Star Cleveland Indians Catcher and Doctor, but hey such is life and I roll through a ton of email on a daily basis so it works.  With work and kids et al, I use my calendar for everything (primarily because it makes sure that I am where I need to be, when I need to be).  Over the years, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend where appointments become stacked on appointments which are already stacked on appointments.  There must be something that can be done…

It’s called an Assistant

I find that people get really excited when setting up a meeting – “YES I WILL UNLEASH MY AMAZING IDEAS ON THE MASSES… at 2:00pm on Tuesday in the big boardroom” – and sometimes they don’t check if people are actually available.  How do you solve the problem?  With the incredible Scheduling Assistant.  Why is this feature incredible?  Because you can tell, at a glance, what the success rate of someone accepting your invitation is (read low).

They chose Purple and Blue for a reason.

The beauty of the scheduling assistant, is that you don’t even need to read a line of text to know someone is available.  It shows you in blue or purple whether A) they are busy or B) whether they are physically in the office.  Another great feature, that if you ask me is up there with Bejewled Blitz, is that I don’t even need to think about what I’m doing, all I need to do is move the slider to a slot that does not have these colours in it to know that people and rooms are available.  I’m not even reading at this point.

Point made?  Perhaps, but here’s the deal – we’re all busy, we all have places to be and we’re all trying to push our cart of wares to the store every day.  Whenever I receive an invite for a time that I’m already booked for, the following goes through my head;

  1. Did you not see the colour coated view of my calendar?
  2. Are you saying your meeting is more important than this here other person who actually looked for a spot where everyone could meet?

Seriously, that’s it.  If someone attaches a quick note – “hey I see you’re busy, if possible to move some things around that would be great” – I will give you some etiquette points and read further, otherwise, I’m going to politely decline… all the time.  Sometimes it might take me 5 minutes to schedule a meeting because I’m trying to find a time where everyone can attend… but I think it’s worth it if everyone can make it and not worry about it where they were previously scheduled to be.

I’ve always thought of writing an app that automatically declines over-stacked appointments and always hoped that I won’t need to…

Want more? Check out my book Code Your Way Up – available as an eBook or Paperback on Amazon (CAN and US).  I’m also the co-host of the Remotely Prepared podcast.


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