I have gone through every type of calendar possible to schedule my meetings, and I have to tell you that I think I have finally found the needle in the proverbial haystack.
I tried using google docs, sign up sheets, sign-in bar codes, calendar invites, and still spent an excessive amount of time and energy managing my calendar. There has always been so much back-and-forth and so much maintenance to organize my appointments.
Last spring, I realized that I had a problem when I was the only person in the building who was dreading snow days. It wasn’t like I didn’t want the time off, too; it was just that I knew how much effort and time I was going to spend trying to reschedule all of my appointments that made taking time off not feel like a break.
I have three main types of appointments as an elementary counselor: individual student sessions, parent meetings, and classroom lessons. However, if you are a high school counselor, you can use this to allow students to schedule appointments directly with you. Now, my students are too young to schedule an appointment with me, but parents and colleagues can easily select a time that works for both of us by simply clicking a link.
What is this miracle calendar, you ask?
Fine, I’ll tell you. It’s Calendly. This calendar system has saved me so much time over the past few months that I feel comfortable singing its praises. (And no, they are not paying me.) There is a free version with fewer features than the “premium” version but can assure you that I would have spent so much more than the measly $8 a month if this had existed when I was a high school counselor. Even as an elementary counselor with far fewer official appointments, I find it valuable.
Calendly automatically syncs to my work calendar and only offers appointments within the boundaries that I provide and (magically?) avoids my other appointments. It has a lovely little feature that automatically adds the event to both mine and the other persons’ calendar. You can title the appointment, add a description, and even add a section for the participant to complete questions before your meeting. To share your availability without actually sharing your calendar, all you have to do is share the link via email or your website and voilà, you’re in business.
This thing is truly a game-changer. To all my high school folx out there, you’re welcome. I would bet this will save you hours upon hours each month that you would otherwise have managed your calendar. Those senior meetings are going to be a cinch!