Still looking for an awesome calendar management system

One of the things I do very badly is manage appointments. I can manage tasks.  I can manage time. But every so often, I write down the wrong times for a meeting, get frustrated by scheduling, or double-book myself. This is all the more embarrassing because people are involved. This should be something I can fix.

That’s why I spend a lot of my time thinking about how to manage my calendar and how to do it better. Web-based systems like Tungle, TimeBridge, and AgreeADate make it easy to find available times for meetings, although I still haven’t found the perfect tool.

  • I love AgreeADate‘s interface for handling appointments with multiple attendees and multiple timeslots, but it lacks integration with my Google calendar, and it cannot detect conflicts.
  • I love TimeBridge‘s integration with my calendar and tracking of tentative slots, but it displays too many pop-ups and pushes the social networking feature too strongly.
  • I love Tungle‘s interface for selecting slots and its integration with my Google contacts, but there’s no way to add slots to a meeting after an attendee says that none of the slots are convenient.

Every service is just a little bit off. My ideal calendar management system would make it easy for me to propose meeting times, and reschedule them to a something else comes up. I’d also love to be able to give people a link to my schedule, so that they can sign themselves up. Maybe someday. I can outsource the fiddly things to a virtual assistant, but it makes sense that this stuff should be mostly automated. For the peace of mind of knowing my calendar’s correct, I’d pay maybe $5-10 a month…

UPDATE: TimeBridge handles most of my cases, so I guess I’ll go with that.

7 responses to “Still looking for an awesome calendar management system”

  1. Tilman says:

    VERY curious to read what you think about doodle.com!! Seems to solve the above issues… Tilman

  2. Sacha Chua says:

    Doodle is an interesting polling system, but it doesn’t integrate with my calendar and the interface isn’t as slick as Timebridge. I think I’ll go with Timebridge for now. =)

  3. David Ing says:

    I’m amused observing your machinations with virtual assistants.

    To compare perspectives — many people would prefer to have a travel agent to help make bookings — I much prefer the control of looking up the alternatives online, and then making the booking directly.

    I have to admit some frustration when online booking systems aren’t as well designed as they should be. However, booking travel — like booking appointments — represents a personal commitment by me, and I don’t delegate authority lightly. If there’s an imperfection in the commitment, there really isn’t one else to blame — not a person, nor a machine — but myself.

    In the office, I notice that there’s a few people who automate meeting acceptances, provided their calendar is clear. I’m not one of those people.

  4. Sacha Chua says:

    I manually accept my calendar invites as well, but that’s more because I’m afraid of setting up expectations with an automatic acceptance and then completely forgetting about the event. =)

    More thoughts on delegation soon – there’s another blog post in here somewhere…

  5. JohnB says:

    I’m just curious. Emacs with Org-Mode is not enough to handle your appointments/tasks? I thought you were sold on the combination.

  6. Sacha Chua says:

    For personal use, Emacs and Org are awesome. When it comes to coordinating with other people, I find it’s still necessary to use Google Calendar or something like that so that I can make sure it’s on people’s calendars. =) There is a script that converts the Google calendar into Org format, so that might be worth looking into again.

  7. Juan G. says:

    Yes, for integration between Google Calendar and Org-mode, Google Calendar can import and export in the de facto standard iCalendar format ( RFC 5545).

    Org-mode can export to iCalendar as well. And, as you mention, there is at least two scripts to import from iCalendar to Org-mode, one by Eric S. Fraga (see the Worg tutorials at orgmode.org), and the other by Vagn Johansen, updated by Russell Adams (org-import-calendar.el at ozymandias.dk, also mentioned in Worg).

    There is also an old, interesting article by Bill Zeev Clementson at bc.tech.coop on integration between Emacs and Google Calendars, using T. V. Raman’s Emacs Client for Google Services, an implementation of the Google Data APIs for Emacs.

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