Almost time to celebrate as the week is virtually over! Last weekend, I was celebrating a close friend’s life event and was reminded how few of my friends I have seen since December! This is unacceptable and I immediately began making plans to make plans. I don’t know about you, but I only have calendar control over breakfast, lunch, coffee, and an occasional early evening drink; otherwise my wife has complete calendar domain. Nonetheless, I need an efficient way to follow up on all these conversations so I don’t seem like that flake saying “Let’s do lunch…”
Move over Siri (Apple), Google (Google), Alexa (Amazon), Cortana (Microsoft), and M (Facebook), this week’s Find offers two great solutions for scheduling meetings without having to rely on your assistant, or lack thereof!
The first step towards improving your productivity is cleaning up and maintaining an immaculate calendar. You basically need to go Marie Kondo (yes, this is now a verb!) on your calendar and clean up the discontinued repeating events like playgroup (ceased 5 years ago!), piano lessons (one and done!), or even that yoga session (I really meant to do that!)! I would start by downloading a more powerful calendar program called Sunrise, which is owned by Microsoft. It easily and seamlessly syncs with your existing calendar and email accounts, looks very clean and modern, and makes setting meetings virtually seamless.
In the web version there exists a very powerful Meet button in the lower right corner that allows you to set Title, duration, location, and then easily pick multiple availabilities by clicking on the calendar. It then provides a link that you share with the person you want to meet so that they can feel empowered and choose the time. Once they do, you are notified with a calendar invite.
The app works a bit differently, but is very easy to use. All you need to do is show up on time! That breakfast or lunch you were planning will actually happen without the excessive back and forth emails!
There are other scenarios where you want someone (something) to put an event in your calendar or manage the back and forth with someone’s assistant. In those cases, I enlist the services of my virtual assistant Amy Ingram. She is part assistant, part confidant, part girlfriend, and completely virtual! The service costs nothing and is very effective for calendaring events and scheduling meetings.
The company has been around since 2014 and has some very serious investors behind it including Softbank. It is in beta testing (but available to you!) and I find the service very useful and effective. You set the guidelines for meeting up front, including type, length, and location preferences and she does the rest! It uses artificial intelligence to analyze emails sent to her to accomplish your goals.
I forward events to her to put on my calendar to avoid having to enter the information myself. I also use her so I can avoid the back and forth with someone else who wants to dictate the terms of the meeting. I find her perfect for day meeting, but less useful for open ended evening plans with a couple or group.