Saving time with a shared online calendar

How many emails does it take to book you for an appointment? I am sure this has happened to you, where a simple request for a meeting turns into a hailstorm of email traffic back and forth as you and your meeting-mates try to find some common time that you are all free to take a meeting. There has got to be a better way, and luckily there are a lot of different software tools that are available, depending on the situation. Here are a few of my favorites and most of them are free, too.

  • Situation #1: You want to try to arrange a common meeting time for people that are coming from different companies. The free service is appropriate for this task and there are others such as and too. You set up a Web page and people can indicate their free and busy times, and then it sends a confirming email to all parties.
  • Situation #2: You want to remind your work team of a recurring meeting with reminder emails automatically sent. Google Calendar, Yahoo Calendar, and others work nicely for this purpose.
  • Situation #3: You want to maintain a common calendar between you and your spouse or work partners. Or synchronize your calendar between PDA, Web and desktop. There are a lot of products for this, but some that you might not have heard of include, BusyMac's BusyCal for Macs, and
  • Situation #4: You want to allow your clients to book your time via a self-service Web portal to avoid having a secretary or receptionist. There are a bunch of products here too: , ServeMeHere and are three such services, that charge various fees and plans.
  • Situation #5: Your business makes use of a large number of shift workers whose schedules change each week, or you want to coordinate a large collection of volunteers or outside workers. is one such fee-based service.
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