Planner’s Toolbox – Scheduling Made Easier

Scheduling meetings is never straightforward. There are a few free resources out there that might make it a little easier.

Do you need to check people’s availability? If it’s a meeting with internal people, and if they use their calendar in Outlook, you can see when they are available and schedule your meeting based on that. (Right-Click on ‘My Calendars’ and select ‘Add Calendar’ from your Outlook address book.)

If you need to identify availability for people outside your organization, a great tool is Doodle Poll. All you do is pick a few options for dates and times for your meeting, copy the link that Doodle Poll creates for you, email it to your people and let them select the options that work for their schedules. You don’t need to set up an account, pay for anything or share your distribution list either. Go to to try it out.

Another Outlook solution is to use Voting Buttons. If you have a single question to ask your distribution list, using voting buttons will automatically summarize the feedback from everyone (and prevent rage-inducing ‘reply all’ responses!). To include a poll in your email, go to the Options tab in your email and select ‘Use Voting Buttons.’ What the recipients will see is shown below and the results of your poll are tabulated in the original sent email.

Options for google calendar, downloadable apps and other tools are out there. If you know of a good one, please share it by emailing our Communications Director at