16 December 2009

Scheduling made easy

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, right?  I've been struggling for years to find a way to ditch the paper planner and rely solely on my phone and computer - but somehow, someway, I always keep defaulting back to that 200 lb., 3-inch wide monkey hanging from my back (or arm).

And as you know from yesterday's post - if there's one thing that irks me, it's doing something one way even though you know there has to be an easier way to do it.

On my end, I use Oracle Calendar at work (tied into my MS Outlook), Google Calendar for my iPhone and iCal on my home computer.  As previously chronicled, that process alone can make you want to throw your computer out your third-story office window.  But then you add friends and colleagues into the mix and it's enough to make you sit in the corner flipping your FranklinCovey pages mumbling incoherent phrases and cursing.

Enter Tungle.

It's a web-based service designed to seamlessly sync between multiple clients.  It doesn't matter that I use Outlook at work, iCal at home and Google Calendar on the go - if I make a change in any location, it pushes that to the cloud, and 'rains down' to all my devices.

There are two great features I like:

  1. The ability of others to schedule meetings with me even though we might not use the same calendaring client.
  2. The ease of scheduling.
Working across multiple calendar clients is a killer feature, and I'm so happy they've found a way to address this.  Even though many companies (like Google) have figured out a way to manage event invitations cross-platform, it's still not completely fool-proof.  Tungle's power in this aspect is that it replies via Tungle, syncs to your devices and allows all users to see attendees.

The ease of scheduling is, in a word awesome.  You to to someone's page (if the user allows it to be public) - for example, mine is  If you'd like to schedule a meeting with me, it shows all my available time slots.  You pick a few that work for you.  I get a notice you'd like to schedule a meeting; I look at your proposed times and pick the one that tickles my fancy, and *boom*, the meeting is set and everyone is notified.  This is what the interface looks like (online and in Outlook):

Frankly, I'm surprised they haven't branched out to doctor's offices.  Image if you could look at your doctor's schedule, pick a time that works for you and just show up.  The doctor wouldn't even necessarily need more than one staff person to help with appointments - most could be managed online.

But I digress.

So far, I've really enjoyed the service and have started sending it in my email footers.  It just makes sense, and I'm glad a company has finally figured out a good solution to the calendaring solution.  While I still haven't become totally paper-free, I'm making good progress.

And hey - anything that means you won't see me huddled in a corner with crazy eyes muttering curses at my agenda is a good thing.

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