Tired of the five emails it takes to schedule a simple appointment online?

by Sep 1, 2014Productivity

The longest thread I've had to schedule appointments online was eight. A 30-minute appointment with a back and forth eight times. Ridonculous. There's a better way that doesn't require an assistant, loads of cash or your brainspace.

How often do you send emails back and forth trying to schedule something as simple as a phone call? A phone call that you could have scheduled or even completed by simply taking 30 seconds to pick up the phone in the first place?

 Get an online scheduling system. Sign up meow.

I don't do that anymore. I use a scheduling system called Schedule Once but there are many on the market – TimeTrade, Appointy and Bookfresh. I pay $19 a month and have six different services to choose from. None of that back and forth business. You can pay $5 and have one service. Enough for many people to get by with.

How does it work? Like buttah.

In my email signature I have this To schedule a free 30-min Strategy Session or other call please click here. If I'm conversing with someone for the first time via an email introduction, I'll simply state “To cut down on the email thread, feel free to send me your scheduling link or use mine below.” This way, if someone needs to feel important by making me schedule with them, they can reply back with their link. For efficiency, they use my link I have given them and find a slot in their schedule. To this day, I've only ever had one person, a CEO of a major company, follow up with their own scheduler and not just use mine. No biggie. I don't care, as long as there aren't four emails going back and forth with dates and times listed.

What happens when they click on the link? Magic.

ScheduleOnce syncs with my calendar. If I have something blocked it doesn't show up as available. I created windows of 15 minutes before and after any appointment on my calendar to give me some leeway and I have times that are always blocked out, like certain mornings and one GSD Day a week that no appointments can be made. They have the option to select three different times. Then I get an email to confirm that appointment and they receive an email confirmation. It automagically blocks out my calendar when I approve it. I also provide instructions i.e. completion of a Scorecard, my phone number, my Google Hangout info, etc.

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Do I have to be a Fancy Pants to have a scheduling calendar? Will my friends think I'm pretentious?

ScheduleOnce costs me $19 a month (although I used the $5 option for my first year in biz), therefore, no bags of money required. Your friends won't think you're pretentious. They'll be jealous that they hadn't thought of it before. What's more important, asking a friend to push something in to your calendar or not seeing your friend at all? I don't routinely ask my friends to schedule this way but that's mostly because I hang with them on the weekends or off hours. However, if you are working with someone on an HOA committee, social event or school function, by all means…send them your calendar! There's no reason to waste scheduling time for your outside-work life too.

Do you currently use an online scheduler? If so, which one? 

Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.
jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects