It’s no surprise that at Clockwise we’re all about adding precious hours back into your week — it’s why we’re here! And it’s also why we searched high and low for the best availability calendar tools that’ll help you schedule meetings without the dreaded back-and-forth. Time is precious and these three user-friendly scheduling tools will help you leverage it.
Whether you’re a solopreneur or a member of a large enterprise, this post will take the guesswork out of deciding if a scheduling tool is the best pick for your (and, if applicable, your team’s) needs.
What is an availability calendar?
When you think of “availability calendar,” your brain probably conjures up an image of a color-coded monthly calendar — free days in green and booked days in red. These days, however, availability calendars take on a whole new meaning.
Today, an availability calendar can mean any scheduling app that accommodates people’s schedules and books meetings/events in a few simple clicks.
Like most apps, the best choice for you depends on your unique situation. Once you know what you’re looking for, compare the options below to see which one best suits your needs.
Calendly: Best availability calendar for 1:1 meetings
Simplify the way you book 1:1 meetings with Calendly. Calendly creates a booking page for you to link via email, your website, social media profile, or anywhere else you can share a link. All it takes is a free Calendly account plus the following information:
- Your availability
- Your custom “event types.” For example, if you work in customer onboarding for a software company, you might list “30-minute demo” as an event type.
Presto! You’re all set to share your link with anyone who wants to book time with you.
Calendly connects with your calendars in Google, Office 365, Outlook, and iCloud. Other handy integrations include Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Slack. If you upgrade to their premium plans, you can access features that cater more to teams such as group scheduling and a booking page that host’s team events.
- $8-$10/mo for Premium
- $12-$15/mo for Pro
- Contact for Enterprise plan
Doodle: Best group availability calendar
If your greatest pain point is coordinating with multiple people, then we’d like to introduce you to Doodle. With this app, you can find times that work for everyone. All you need to do is create a free Doodle poll by following these steps:
- Give the event a name (i.e. Project Kickoff Meeting).
- Select dates and times to present to your invitees as options.
- Choose your settings (i.e. limit how many options an invitee can vote for, make the poll “hidden” so that only you can see the names and results — and more!).
- Provide your name and email address (so that invitees know who you are).
- Send out your poll either through email or a shareable link.
Take a look at the results, and voilà, you now know the best time for your group meeting! Note that the shareable link does prompt the recipient to book time with you (like Calendly), but rather, invites them to respond with their best availability.
As mentioned, Doodle polls are completely free. There are no limits to the number of polls you can create or how many recipients you can invite to vote. But, if you upgrade to one of Doodle’s paid plans, you can access features like integrations with Google Calendar, Office 365, and iCloud Calendar; the option to set voting deadlines; and a scheduling feature called Booking Page, which works similarly to Calendly’s booking link. Check out Doodle’s website for a more comprehensive look at its premium features.
- Free to create Doodle polls
- $6.95/mo (paid annually) for Pro
- $8.95/user/month (paid annually) for Team
- Contact for Enterprise plan
Google Calendar: Best availability calendar for convenience
When you don’t want another app on your proverbial toolbelt, why not maximize what you already have? If you’re a Gmail user, you likely use Google Calendar to some degree — especially considering the way that Google Calendar syncs with iCloud Calendar and even the events in your inbox. (Got an email for a flight confirmation? Expect that to show up in Google Calendar!) Not to mention that this app offers amazing calendar view options that go beyond the standard daily, weekly, and monthly formats.
When it comes to coordinating availability, Google Calendar’s shareable calendar feature makes it a breeze. Let’s say you and a team member, Nat, need to jump on a call next week. The following steps are all it takes to arrange the perfect time:
- Share your calendar with her, either by adding her or sending a shareable link. Or she can share hers.
- Find an available time, create an event, and invite!
Don’t fret — with shareable calendars, you can choose how much is visible to other people. Let them see the details of your schedule or simply whether you’re “free” or “busy.” Either way, you can say goodbye to back-and-forth emails!
- Google Calendar is free for personal use
- For business use, subscribe to Google Workspace, which starts at $6/user/month
So, which one of these calendar apps will you choose? Don’t forget to add your smart calendar assistant, Clockwise, to your arsenal of time-saving tools. Clockwise automatically reschedules conflicting meetings, frees up blocks of uninterrupted time for you to focus, and factors in your preferences — so that you’re always in charge of your time!