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Tools You Need: Calendly for Academics

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

You know the drill - colleague wants to meet with you and asks when you are available. Next, the dates you are free don’t work for her. So what do you do? You launch and endless stream of emails or a phone call to nail down a date that works for both of you. But then… the day before the meeting your colleague has to cancel as her boss needs her on the launch of a new project. And so… the cycle begins again. Get your academic semester off to a more efficient start with my tips and tools. We live and breathe our diaries for both work and home but did you know that we spend almost 200minutes a year (probably more than that for most of us) simply trying to book meetings with others. Imagine what you could do if you got those 200 minutes back. Whether its meetings with your academic team, students, collaborators…you name it surely there is a better way….let me introduce you to Calendly.

Ps. this isn't paid for, sponsored or anything of the sort, I'm using it myself and wanted to share my findings for fellow academics!

What is Calendly?

Think of Calendly as your Personal Assistant. It has eyes on your calendar, knows your schedule and understands your meeting preferences. Calendly is your hub for scheduling meetings professionally and efficiently, eliminating the hassle of back-and-forth emails so you can get back to work. Here's a quick tour of Calendly you can also read a quick overview here

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What are the main features of Calendly?

Allow contacts to access your diary availability where they can self-serve and book meetings/appointments with you. They receive an automated confirmation and you can even hook up tools such as Zoom so meeting details are sent to the invitee as well. Contacts can amend or cancel meetings with ease avoiding time wasted negotiating diaries. You also have greater control over your availability as you only make time available when it suits you. The tool is great for students seeking supervision meetings or for team colleagues who wish to meet with you regularly. The paid for upgrade service offers even more features which are great if you are involved in significant team/line management or if you work as a lead collaborator.

Device usability?

Download to your Mac as an app (if you’re one of those Microsoft types, respect - I struggle to find my way around a MS desktop these days), your iPhone, your tablet and if all fails, you can access online via the Calendly website. There is also an app!

Getting started?

Easy, peasy. It’s free on the basic account and you can link one calendar. I have been using the premium option which allows me to operate secret diary events so that I can tailor these to different aspects of my work life. It’s a small fee of $10 a month or less if you do annual subscription but the time it saves me is worth infinitely more.

Simple stuff, but it might just make life a little easier. Aren't the simplest ideas always the best. So that brings me to my last point which is on meeting productivity...ask yourself.... is the meeting actually worth going to? Remember to pause before you say yes!

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