Over the last five decades, the average frequency of business meetings has skyrocketed. Executives and managers (middle to upper management employees) now find themselves in meetings for about 35%-50% of their time, be it team meetings or client appointments.
With all those meetings, one can only imagine the time spent setting them up. Coordinating meetings with multiple team members can take precious hours of back-and-forth team communication. After all that, you might find yourself dealing with unexpected rescheduling or cancellations and having to shift your schedule around. At this point, overbooking yourself is just a part of the job.
If you struggle with managing your time, a tool for scheduling meetings can keep you organized without overbooking yourself. When meetings are an inescapable part of the corporate world, you need a way to simplify it for yourself and others.
In this article, you’ll learn about the usefulness of tools for scheduling meetings, key features to look for, and some of the top tool recommendations from which you can choose.
What is a scheduling tool?
Be it with teams, employees, or clients, scheduling things like meetings can be its own project. Often, organizing a meeting with multiple people can lead to a slew of issues, be it confusion or scheduling conflicts. When meetings tend to take up 15% of an organization’s time, it’s a shame when more time is wasted trying to arrange them.
A scheduling tool is software that facilitates the process of setting up meetings, appointments, or obligations — efficiently. It replaces disorganized modes of communicating with attendees and fitting meetings somewhere in your time.
Why do you need a scheduling tool?
Many professionals spend an average of three hours a week in meetings (others even spend up to five hours). That’s a lot of meetings, which means there's a lot of time spent scheduling and organizing those meetings.
Unfortunately, scheduling meetings — and other business activities — the old-fashioned way isn’t efficient. Going back and forth with other team members poses a constant distraction. Waiting for others to reply and then combining that information to set up a meeting reminder can be confusing. By automating those tedious tasks, a tool for scheduling meetings can save a lot of time and avoid unintended mistakes.
While it varies from software to software, most scheduling tools automatically add meetings to your calendar. As soon as you set up a meeting, the tool will create a reminder instantly. If the meeting attendees are in different time zones, the tool will work out the dates and timings for you.
Most importantly, there’s no longer a need to calculate when you are available for a meeting. You can set your preferred hours for meetings, which solidifies boundaries and takes out decision paralysis every time you have to schedule something.
A scheduling tool can aid you in organizing your workday and avoid time-consuming planning issues.
Benefits of scheduling tools
Organizing your time with the help of a scheduling tool can have a profoundly positive effect on your business. With a scheduling tool, you can:
- Save time: The most obvious plus is that you save time by simply cutting out pesky manual tasks. It also reduces the need to continually think about what time you’re free or when you are available to attend a meeting.
- Improve team communication: A benefit that isn’t immediately obvious is that tools for scheduling meetings improve communication by keeping it contained in one space.
- Nurture work-life balance: Make sure you have spread out your work obligations evenly across the week without cutting into your free time or life.
- Enhance collaboration: Create group activities and meetings with multiple team members or external users easily.
- Manage availability: You can manage your availability while giving others the freedom to set their desired time and date on their own. This reduces the risk of scheduling conflicts or the need to reschedule due to errors and miscommunications.
What makes a good scheduling tool?
Scheduling tools are essentially designed to take the burden of arranging meetings off your shoulders — whether that means automating emails, generating booking page templates, or programming reminders. When looking for a quality tool that simplifies meeting bookings, the following features are important to consider.
- Two-way calendar integrations: A scheduling tool should feature two-way synchronization that inputs your arranged meetings on your go-to calendar. If the tool is integrated into a comprehensive system that consists of a calendar and a task manager, it'll be an added benefit.
- Auto-reminders: Usually, scheduling tools send out reminders to alert you about the meeting at least 24 hours prior and a few hours before it begins. Many also have the option to send out email or app notifications to reduce no-shows.
- Set preferred hours: Most tools will allow you to set your availability in your settings. Picking preferred hours replaces the need to figure out what time you're free at any given time by perusing your calendar and then communicating that. Instead, you set your daily preferred hours so that only they appear on the booking page.
- Rescheduling options: The tool may enable attendees or invitees to ask to reschedule without having to communicate that externally. Usually, this will allow an attendee to do so by clicking the email confirmation or, if it's an internal employee on the tool, straight from the software. Some scheduling software is collaborative and allows all teammates to amend meeting availability as needed).
- Team scheduling: Tools with the ability to schedule team meetings and keep team members connected let you send a booking page or email where others can choose their preferred meeting times. Alternatively, a tool might show you the availability of all employees so that you can create team meetings without any friction. Meeting notifications will go out to all team members and attendees.
- Email integration: If not collaborative, some tools may integrate or sync with communication tools, like Email, Slack, or other notable collaborative workspaces.
Top 7 best scheduling tools
With the recommended features in mind, let’s look at some of the top scheduling tools that include them.
Motion is your personal AI executive assistant that saves you time and money by taking all your tedious work for you. With its machine-learning interface, it is an advanced project and task manager, calendar, and scheduler — an all-in-one platform that all your teams can use to manage their time and meetings.
Motion’s highlight feature is its auto-prioritization. It allows you to never waste another second evaluating which tasks to start on first or where to place meetings in your schedule. You can better keep track of deadlines, as it reminds you when tasks are due and warns you if a deadline is coming up.
With its personalization features, Motion allows you to create a custom meeting booking page and link. With drag-and-drop, you can build one-off booking pages in seconds by dragging and dropping to select your availability. Set preferred meeting times, and Motion will display them to invitees. A valuable aspect of Motion is that you can set daily meeting limits so others won’t be able to schedule meetings on your calendar. Motion also generates a custom email copy to share your availability.
The best part is, in the case of sudden changes, Motion auto-rebuilds your schedule.
Motion plans for individuals start at $19 per month, billed annually, with the team plan at $12 per user per month annually. It offers a 7-day free trial.
Doodle aims to support users with scheduling anything from sales calls to team meetings quickly. For teams, you can keep your calendar connected in Doodle to avoid overbooking. It integrates with Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Zoom, Outlook, and Zapier. If using this for client meetings, you have the ability to brand your booking pages for a more professional look.
Set up one-on-one meetings, or create booking pages and group polls. With a group poll, your team can collaboratively choose the right day for a meeting or event.
A free version is available for individuals, with unlimited group polls and a single booking page. The Pro plan is $6.95 per user per month, paid annually.
Clara is a machine learning-based, conversational intelligent tool that aims to reduce repetitive, tedious work. In essence, it’s a virtual personal assistant that schedules meetings at the perfect time for everyone.
Clara uses natural language. Clara offers the ability to CC Clara on any email so you can schedule emails back and forth. Basically, keep doing your thing communicating with people on emails, then Clara responds with a date/time option and follows up. Clara is for business owners that don't have the luxury of getting everyone, especially external users, to use the same tool. It covers automatic follow-ups so you can save yourself manual work sending emails and follow-ups, and Clara adds meetings to your calendar. Clara also has a 24/7 response, so all you have to do is start a conversation, and Clara keeps it up.
Clara offers plans starting at $99 per month per user. A 14-day free trial is available.
Bookafy helps you book real-time appointments with automated calendar-syncing, text reminders, payments, and videoconferencing. With Bookafy, you can reduce response times and increase quality time at work.
Bookafy is a robust booking solution for businesses so you can book video calls (integrates with Zoom, Cisco Webex, Teams, Skype, and GoToMeeting); unique, unique meeting links, confirmations, reminders, and calendar attachments. It’s feature-rich: It integrates with your branding — custom colors in the admin panel, add a logo, etc. which is an optimal choice for sales and marketing teams. It’s good for acquiring and retaining customers with an easy booking experience.
Moreover, it can sync to your calendar, whether you have Outlook, Exchange, iCloud, Google Calendar, or ProtonMail.
Bookafy’s pricing is based on per-user licensing, and a free trial is available.
Rallly is a super quick-to-use app that's more of a one-off tool than an all-in-one tool. It works by allowing you to create meeting polls, which allow participants to “vote” for their preferred dates. Rallly is a great democratic form of scheduling group meetings.
Rallly provides booking pages with time slots, so you can set individual start/end times for each option — times adjusted for time zones. You get notifications to keep track of who’s responded, and (with the paid plan) you can choose the final date based on the responses and send a calendar invite. There’s also a unique feature that allows participants to comment on the poll and discuss optimal meeting times or other relevant topics.
There is a free plan with unlimited polls and unlimited participants. The Pro plan is $2.50 per month, billed annually, and offers extended poll life, priority support, and the choice to finalize polls.
CalendarHero is an online meeting scheduler for video calls to group meetings, for booking and keeping track of meetings. It automates and speeds up remote meeting scheduling. It's a tool for teams.
As a scheduling tool, CalendarHero can integrate with Zoom, Google Meet, Webex, Microsoft Teams video, and GoTo Meeting. That said, it’s preferable for remote meetings than in-person meetings, but those work too. The point is that it gets you from setting up meetings directly to being in the meeting.
CalendarHero allows you to create custom meeting types: make meeting setups with reusable templates with settings for video, duration, availability, etc. To keep meetings paramount in attendees' minds, it creates automated reminders. It detects time zones and adds a minimum notice before meetings can be booked. It also has email integrations and syncs with native calendars, like Google Calendar, Outlook, and iCloud, and works for recruiters, sales teams, and most other use cases.
Other integrations include Microsoft Teams, Slack, Google Drive, HubSpot, and 60 more integrations.
The Professional plan is $8 a month.
SavvyCal is a scheduling software for setting up meetings. It offers an interactive interface that allows the scheduler to overlay their calendar, which allows you to avoid switching back and forth between screens. It gives your schedulers a calendar, not a list of time slots, instead allowing recipients to overlay their calendars on top of yours.
SavvyCal has key features like being able to sync with all your calendars and allowing you to delegate your account access to an assistant to further free up your time. When creating booking requests, you can prefill recipient information to save quality time, especially if you tend to have regular meetings with the same people. With SavvyCal, you can automate collective team scheduling and add teammates on the fly. Another key feature is the ability to cap meetings per day, week, or month to avoid meeting overload.
If you have multiple calendars, you can route links to different calendars, and the link automatically archives upon usage. Otherwise, you can connect all your calendars to make sure there are no scheduling conflicts.
With its ranked availability feature, you can show preferred availability instead of all your availability.
When setting up, SavvyCal updates the time zone automatically.
A free plan is available, and paid plans start at $12 per user per month.
Make scheduling meetings easy
Effectively managing your schedule helps you get more work done. Tools for scheduling meetings can save you time and energy before the meetings begin.
By choosing the right tool, you can make things easier for you and your team. Some software might offer a simple booking page and calendar experience. Others, like Motion, might be a multifunctional time management platform that invites team collaboration. Check out Motion to better schedule your meetings and improve your productivity all around.