A calendar solution to avoid simultaneous meetings w/spouse in COVID times

I’ve looked across prior questions and I don’t think this has been asked exactly, so here goes:

My wife and I live in a very small home and we share a kitchen table to work. We both have very active calendars and simultaneous Zoom calls happen frequently. This was fine in the summer as one of us could go outside to work, but now that it’s cold and rainy out, we need a better solution.

I’m not really experienced with shared calendars and the two of us have very different systems:

  • She uses Outlook and people often book things on her calendar when she has an open spot. She also has about a gazillion little notes in her calendar to remind her of to-do items and/or what’s she’s worked on. This works well for her and is unlikely to change.
  • I currently use Apple Calendar (but pretty much have all the apps if that makes a difference) and I approve everything that goes on my calendar. I use two Google calendars (two different GSuite domains) for all my events.

Is there any solution/process/strategy available that would help us avoid booking the same time slots?


Could you subscribe to her calendar in an app you use and add your events to it? I use google calendars for myself but also have an office 365 calendar for school and subscribe to it in busycal.

That way others would see those times as booked for her. Could be some duplication of effort if you need to have events in your google calendar as well.

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Am I the only one who read the title and that thought you were trying to avoid your wife? :grinning:


LOL that’s hilarious.


I would echo either subscribing to each other’s calendar or having a separate kitchen table calendar that both of you can add events on. I’m more familiar with using the google calendar as the back end and can give permissions easily. She could subscribe to your calendar and you can giver her read/write permissions on it.


+1 for sharing calendars. Of course the people scheduling on her calendar will not see meeting conflicts, so the reconciliation will have to happen after the fact.

If feasible, another approach might be for each of you to set aside “office hours” blocks of time that are available for meetings. Or, conversely, blocks that are not available for meetings. Might make life easier if you know “can’t do zoom meetings from 1 to 4 MWF; so that’s good time for writing”.


I believe that Outlook has an overlay view for multiple calendars which would be easier from a scheduling standpoint.

This is pretty common in calendar software.

Please remember that if either of you work for a company, sharing of your calendar with someone outside of the organisation may be in breach of their Information Security policy. But a shared calendar where you book out the Table may work.


I too thought that this question was totally about something else slight_smile: And no, I did not click on this link to find out how to avoid my wife !!!


When you create a calendar event could you add her as an invitee? This would generate an invite to her and when she accepts, it would place it on her calendar too. Should be fairly low friction on her side.
She would need to remember that she doesn’t have to attend.

Edit: if she already has a meeting that overlaps, she could decline, which would let you know there’s a conflict.


The only thing I can think of is created a new shared calendar (in whatever calendar app you can both access easily) called “Kitchen Table” and make sure that events requiring the use of the Kitchen Table are copied to that calendar.

If you use Fantastical, it can collapse “identical” events into one, so you wouldn’t see it twice on your calendar.

The only problem, of course, is that if you reschedule an event on one calendar you have to make sure you do it on the other.


Yes, that is an interesting feature and saves space.

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Just wanted to update folks on where we are with this, remains to be seen if it’ll work because the true test won’t come in earnest until after the holidays.

  1. I have subscribed to a free/busy version of her calendar in Apple Calendar/Fantastical (free/busy is important in this case because she uses her calendar to make lots of notes and they are marked “free,” so while it’s awfully cluttered, I can still see where I can book over something she’s made a note for and where I can’t book because she actually has a meeting).
  2. She has subscribed to my calendars (I have two: one work, one personal GSuite accounts) in Outlook.
  3. We will view each other’s calendars before agreeing to meetings. (This is less than ideal because folks may think she’s free when she isn’t because I have a meeting, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it if it becomes too burdensome/awkward.)

Here’s what I see when I view all the calendars (yellow is mine, brown is her’s) for the following week:

We just set this up, so this week has issues (mutual calls at 2pm on Tuesday, 1pm on Wednesday, and 12:30 on Thursday), but with this view it’s easier to see that the 10am meeting on Wednesday should be rescheduled, if possible.

We tried the suggestion to block shifts but it was a challenge to be as flexible as we need to be for our colleagues/students. I’m not sure this will work, and the solution’s not terribly elegant, but I’ll let you know.

And if bright ideas occur to anyone, please keep sharing them as I’m always happy to tweak a system.


Do either/both of you have over-the-ear noise cancelling headphones? I found myself wondering if that would be a solution… although if there’s someone else at your table talking at the same time you are, it may confuse people on the other end of the call, I suppose.

Thanks for the tip.

I do have noise canceling headphones and do use them when I’m not in a meeting and she is, but yeah, that “needing to talk at the same time” issue is the one I’m trying to tackle.

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Yeah, this is a tough nut to crack. Our first apartment would have been a nightmare for this scenario so I’m trying to think of what I would do in this scenario.

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I wanted to follow up here and report that this solution is working pretty well.

I’ve assigned shortcut keys to toggle my wife’s calendar on and off and I do that as I schedule meetings. She keeps my calendar viewable all the time, but I have fewer meetings so it works for her.

There are a few shortcomings, such as ghost events (things I’m invited to that I don’t accept or even decline) showing up, and Fantastical’s travel time not showing up), and we do end up with some overlapping meetings, but in general can avoid them.


Have you looked at CompanionLink? It offers solutions for lots of calendar sync scenarios, calendar apps, and platforms.

That website wins the award for ugliest website featuring a mac product that I have ever seen. :trophy:

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