For the last few years, I’ve been using automated scheduling tools, such as Calendly and When.works to schedule catch-ups with friends. These aren’t business-related catch-ups; I just haven’t seen someone in a while and want to catch up with them over a beverage.
However, lately I’ve received some constructive criticism from some of my friends for this method of organising a time to meet. Have I just gone too far with automating various aspects of my life?
The following are a couple of reasons why people have criticised me for using these tools:
- It comes across as impersonal.
- I’m being selfish with my time by only having a few slots free (because I’m busy!)
Despite the constructive criticism I’ve received, I’d still love to use these scheduling tools due to the benefits outlined below. I’m thinking that I could provide the recipient of my one-to-one catch-up invitation with an easy way out. For example:
Would you like to catch up for coffee or lunch sometime soon?
You can see my free times at
<insert_url_here>. You can also use this website to create a calendar appointment that will populate both of our calendars. However, if none of my free times suit, no stress - let me know what times you’re free, and I’ll see if I can move some of my existing appointments around :-).
Look forward to catching up soon!
As you can probably expect - given that we’re all automation nerds to some extent! - the benefits of using an automated scheduling tool are numerous. Here are two that immediately come to mind:
- I don’t waste time going back and forth trying to find a date and time that suits.
- In Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport outlines why we don’t get anywhere near the social satisfaction from written communication such as SMS or email compared with face-to-face communication (the irony of asking this question on here!). Consequently, I see using this communication to organise a time to meet as a waste of time, and I want to minimise the time I spend doing it.
- Easy to organise multiple one-to-one catch-ups simultaneously.
- Since the automated scheduling tool links to my calendar, when one timeslot is taken by one person, it automatically updates on the scheduling tool so that I don’t inadvertently double-book.
- By contrast, if I contact five people separately around the same time with five free timeslots, the chance of two people booking the same time is (given a bunch of statistical assumptions) about 96% (1 - 5!/5^5). This just creates more work.