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Resolving Meeting Conflicts Like a Pro

Resolving Meeting Conflicts Like a Pro

Judy Tsuei
August 24, 2021
Updated on:
June 6, 2024

Resolving Meeting Conflicts Like a Pro
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You’re staring down tomorrow’s schedule, wondering how the heck you managed to double-book yourself – again – to two equally important meetings. Not to mention that after the chaos and busyness of last week, you promised yourself to find your flow with some much-needed Focus Time.

Instead of beating yourself up for the unfortunate calendar mishap, imagine opening your calendar and seeing your ideal day — with meetings, breaks, and Focus Time all arranged perfectly. No more last-minute reschedules, cancellations, and other scheduling issues. No more apologies or a “good enough” schedule.

It’s possible! And, it all starts here with our mini-guide for conquering scheduling conflicts.

Breaking down the meaning of “schedule conflict”

A schedule conflict, or scheduling conflict, is the problem that arises when you’re dealing with incompatible availabilities or events.

In this blog, we’re using the term ‘events’ to refer to anything that you can schedule, including meetings, appointments, and tasks.

Common scheduling conflicts in the workplace can look like:

  • Double-booking, committing to be two places at once, which (unless you have Hermione Granger’s time-turner from Prisoner of Askaban) is not possible.
  • Being unable to find time to schedule with another person or a group of people due to clashing schedules. Different time zones can also come into play here, making it even harder to find a time that works for everyone.
  • Overcrowding your schedule, not considering the necessity for buffer time. We need buffer time to account for things like travel time, tech issues, and meetings that run over (which we try to avoid, but hey, it happens). Also, when will there be time to replenish our coffee mugs for the second (or third) time?

Schedule conflicts don’t necessarily have to apply to your calendar either. For instance, if you’re someone who manages the employee schedule where you work, you might create a scheduling conflict for someone else by assigning a shift during someone’s vacation.

The old-school way of managing schedules — and the better way

You can keep track of your schedule or your team’s schedule with the help of a ready-made schedule or calendar template (Microsoft has tons that are free to download). The drawback, of course, is that templates require a lot of manual effort.

Once upon a time, templates were great because it meant we didn’t need to create a document from scratch. But now we know that data entry isn’t the best use of our time either. We expect more from our tools.

That brings us to our tried-and-true methods for protecting ourselves from scheduling conflicts.

7 ways to prevent meeting conflicts and schedule with ease

1. Automate, automate, automate.

Adding an AI-powered calendar to your toolbox is hands-down the best thing you can do in 2024. It helps you cut out unnecessary steps, like administrative busywork. It might seem counterintuitive to automate your calendar when your main goal is to take control of your time. But with tools like Clockwise, you’re always in the driver’s seat and you call the shots for how the tool manages your calendar.

2. Sync your calendars.

These days, we all have so many gadgets and ways of logging upcoming events. From physical agendas to phones to Google Calendar. It’s a lot. If it’s not possible to prune your scheduling apps (maybe you prefer iCloud, but your team prefers Google, requiring you to use both), make sure everything’s working in harmony with automatic syncing.

Syncing multiple calendars ensures that when you update one calendar, the other calendars also update in real-time to reflect those changes. This is a fail-safe to prevent pertinent information (like an updated meeting time) from slipping through the cracks. Never accidentally book an unavailable time slot again.

3. Manage time zones with scheduling tools.

With the rise of remote work, it’s not uncommon for attendees to be located all over the country — or world. Instead of trying to work out the time zone differences yourself, use Clockwise to automatically surface the best meeting times for everyone.

4. Plan in advance when you can.

This one might seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Giving yourself and others ample head’s up is the best way to stay ahead of your schedule and communicate that you respect your time and the time of other team members. Of course, life happens and rescheduling meetings is sometimes unavoidable. However, time management can help us minimize any interruptions to our work schedule.

5. Establish team norms for scheduling.

Having clear guidelines for scheduling is essential for any team. For example, which video conferencing platform will you use? How soon are invitees expected to RSVP? Create an SOP that answers these types of questions and lays out the scheduling process. By making sure everyone understands these norms, you can avoid miscommunication and help create a positive work environment.

6. Identify dependencies early on.

Let’s say you’re scheduling two meetings for a new project: a stakeholders meeting and a team meeting. Meeting B can’t happen until Meeting A does. This is called a dependency, and it’s so important to know where those exist in your schedule so that you can avoid messing with the project timeline. Having awareness of these dependencies also gives you a clear idea of how to resolve conflicts in case they arise.

7. Be clear about what’s flexible and what’s non-negotiable.

Determine which events must stay fixed on the schedule and which events offer some wiggle room. This comes down to prioritizing and practicing clear communication. (Pro tip: Clockwise factors this in when optimizing your calendar.) 

By putting these tips to use, you stop scheduling conflicts from becoming literal conflicts. Conflicts with your colleagues, with your family, and yes, with yourself. Make time for what matters. Make your schedule work for you, not the other way around.

What to do when you can’t resolve a time conflict with another meeting

You might be thinking, “This all seems great, but what do I do when two conflicting meetings just won’t budge?” Try as we might, it’s not always possible to accommodate factors out of your control. In that case, be kind to yourself — you’re human after all.

Here’s a quick rundown of what to do (and what not to do) when a schedule clashes with yours.


  • Communicate with the other person that you’re unable to attend the meeting.
  • Offer a sincere apology for any inconvenience.
  • Give a small explanation for why you can’t make it, if appropriate.
  • If the meeting is going to take place without you, ask for a summary of the meeting notes along with important action items.


  • Overexplain (it’s okay to say “no”).
  • Expect others to bend to the will of your schedule.
  • Force-fit all requests into your calendar.

Ready for effortless scheduling? Clockwise can help

Now that you know how to conquer the infamous meeting conflict, it’s time to turn your knowledge into action. Luckily, we have a one-step solution that encompasses everything you just learned: Clockwise, your AI-powered calendar assistant.

Here are just a few of the ways that our scheduling software optimizes your calendar, helping you plan with ease.

  • Clockwise finds time where there is none. Our new AI Scheduler, powered by GPT, fixes scheduling conflicts and opens up time in your day — quickly and reliably.
  • Clockwise optimizes your schedule by automatically resolving these meeting conflicts, protecting Focus Time, and catering to your and your teammates’ preferences.
  • Clockwise seamlessly integrates with your favorite tools. With integrations like Google Calendar, Outlook, Slack, Asana, and Zoom, you don’t have to manually update across different platforms. Simplify your workflow and get on top of your schedule — at the same time.

Clockwise AI Scheduler fixes conflicts for you automatically

Moving forward

Scheduling shouldn’t be headache-inducing. You deserve to wake up, look at your calendar, and feel confident in the day ahead. Automating your calendar goes beyond giving yourself one less thing to do.

When you spend less time micromanaging your schedule, you gain the energy and mental bandwidth to feel more inspired, more focused, and more engaged with life. Here at Clockwise, we want you to finally say goodbye to overwhelm and take control of your life — which starts with taking control of your calendar.

Ready to experience work-life balance? Try Clockwise for free today!

About the author

Judy Tsuei

Judy Tsuei is a Simon & Schuster author, speaker, and podcast host. She has been writing for Clockwise for several years while also being featured in MindBodyGreen, BBC Travel, Fast Company, Hello Giggles, and more. As the founder of Wild Hearted Words, a creative marketing agency for global brands, Judy is also a mentor with the Founder Institute, the world's largest pre-seed accelerator. Judy advocates for mental and emotional health on her popular podcast, F*ck Saving Face. Follow along her journey at

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