Productivity tips, calendar hacks, & product updates from the Reclaim team.

Top 5 Availability Calendars for Busy Schedules
June 8, 2022

If you’re a busy professional, there’s no doubt you’ve felt strain on your availability, or struggled to find time in someone else’s busy schedule. Between juggling heavier task loads and almost 70% more meetings since 2020 – there just aren’t enough hours in the workweek for all the things on your plate. In fact, 78.7% of people are feeling stressed from this very issue plaguing their availability. So the question becomes, how do we get more productive time out of the week?

It’s no surprise that meetings are the biggest time demand for the modern worker, with the average pro attending a jaw dropping 25.6 meetings/week. And best case scenario, every meeting only takes 5 minutes to schedule (we wish) – that’s still an additional 3.3 hours/week of your valuable time spent just trying to coordinate a time to connect. When you realistically take into account all the meeting conflicts that come up - like 42.4% of one-on-one meetings being rescheduled every week, for example - on top of the 21.5 hours/week you spend attending those meetings, you’re likely pouring another 8.3% of your week into just managing your meeting scheduling. 

While reducing all the time you spend in pointless meetings is a bigger challenge, automating your scheduling can help you start reclaiming precious hours as early as this week. In this blog post, we’re going to review the 5 best availability calendars to help you optimize scheduling your meeting so you can start getting your time back.  

What is an availability calendar?

First things first - what exactly is an availability calendar? An availability calendar is a scheduling app that optimizes booking and coordinating meetings around your availability. These scheduling calendars basically operate as a personal assistant, handling all the administrative efforts of booking a meeting. Nifty features that communicate when you’re actually free, optimize meeting requests with booking links, schedule a time where everyone can make it, and even reschedule or cancel if something comes up, takes all the pain away from finding a time to connect.

Benefits of an availability calendar:

  • Manage & defend your availability 
  • Automate the booking process
  • Customize your meeting hours/days
  • Reduce back-and-forth communications
  • Find meeting times for multiple people
  • See stats on your availability & meetings
  • Cancel & reschedule around conflicts

There are many availability calendar apps on the market today, some better for certain applications than others, but before we dive into those, let’s look at the features a good scheduling calendar should include to help us manage our availability. 

What to look for in a scheduling calendar

Let’s review some of the key features to look out for in an availability calendar.

Key features of an availability calendar

  1. Easy use: Needs to be easy and intuitive for both the inviter and invitees. 
  2. Native integration: It should integrate with your main calendar(s) (and potentially more of your work app-stack).
  3. Collaborative features: Needs to offer basic features to invite attendees, view mutual availability, and share relevant meeting content like links or agendas. 
  4. Support video conferencing: It should allow you to auto-generate video conferencing links from popular platforms, with easy to join options from the meeting event.
  5. Conflict management: It has to facilitate and automate scheduling changes like event editing, canceling, and rescheduling meetings. 

We’ve rounded up the best of the best to help you optimize your meeting workflows. So without further ado, let’s dive into our selection of the top 5 availability calendars of 2022. 

1. Calendly - Best for external meetings

Calendly is one of the most popular availability calendars, automating meeting scheduling for over 10 million users today. From their iconic booking links that allow invitees to schedule from select meeting times, to scalable enterprise-level group meeting automation – Calendly offers powerful features for anyone with many meetings. Selected as best for external meetings, Calendly simplifies the demanding workflows of coordinating meetings across sales, recruitment, customer support, and many other teams that connect with external people every day.  

Calendly’s availability calendar features:

  • Easy use: Share custom Calendly links with preferred meeting times for invitees to book in a clean layout, without having to create a Calendly account to schedule.
  • Native integration: Connect up to six calendars (business and personal) across Google Calendar, Outlook, Microsoft Office, and iCal for a synced schedule, and embed Calendly links directly in your website for easy booking. Calendly also has an entire Integrations Library to optimize meeting productivity across your other favorite apps. 
  • Collaborative features: Build multi-person meetings with automatic availability pooling for collective scheduling, round robin, and group meeting types. Add links to relevant content in the event description. 
  • Video conferencing compatibility: Calendly integrates with Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, GoTo Meeting, and Webex. You can also give attendees the ability to select their preferred video platform when booking, and share details in the confirmation email and calendar event.
  • Conflict management: Automatically reschedule or cancel in a single click from the calendar event, and automate reminder and follow-up emails to reduce the opportunity for meeting conflicts.

Free trial: 14 days
Free, paid plans start at $8/month
Web, iOS & Android

2. - Best for managers is a smart calendar app for Google Calendar that automatically finds the best time for your tasks, routines, 1:1 meetings, and breaks to maximize your availability and productivity throughout the week. The smart time blocking AI is constantly analyzing your current schedule to identify the best time for the things you need to get done, and blocks these events as flexible “free” time until you run out of opportunities to reschedule before your deadline. Selected as the best availability calendar app for managers – Reclaim’s Smart 1:1 feature also reduces one-on-one meeting conflicts by over 83% by automatically finding mutual availability for both attendees to meet every week - whether internal with direct reports, or external with recurring client, partner or consultant meetings. Additionally, Reclaim syncs all of your calendars both ways so you can see and defend your actual availability across multiple schedules. 

Reclaim’s availability calendar features:

  • Easy use: Create new Smart 1:1 meetings with preferred frequencies and ideal days, and Reclaim will auto-schedule the event for both parties around their availability. Reclaim also automatically detects your existing one-on-ones and allows you to convert them to Smart 1:1s automatically in a few clicks.
  • Native integration: Reclaim integrates natively with Google Calendar, taking into account your changing schedule, preferred working hours, and timezone to find available meeting times. This availability calendar also offers a growing list of integrations with project management apps, including Asana, Jira, ClickUp, Todoist, Linear and Google Tasks to sync your task lists to your calendar so your meetings don’t overrun the time you need to get your primary work done. 
  • Collaborative features: Both attendees get to set their own availability and meeting hours so Reclaim can always find the best time to connect, and either person can add and update the event details to include relevant agendas and links for the discussion. Another bonus collaborative feature is that you can sync your Slack status to your schedule so your team knows when you’re NOT available to collaborate, so you’re interrupted less during important meetings and time blocks.
  • Video conferencing compatibility: Automatically add a Zoom or Google Meet link to a Smart 1:1s invite, and access the link from the event details.
  • Conflict management: Either attendee can automatically lock-in, reschedule, skip, or cancel a Smart 1:1 meeting event in a single click.

Free trial: 14 days
Free, paid plans start at $8/month

3. Doodle - Best for large groups

Doodle is an availability calendar for creating schedules, arranging meetings, and organizing events across big groups of people. Selected as the best app for coordinating larger meetings – Doodle offers advanced group calendar features to optimize the process of finding a time that works best for multiple attendees’ through Doodle Polls. Doodle is a great option for both personal events and work meetings across recruitment, sales, education, nonprofit and more.

Doodle’s availability calendar features:

  • Easy use: Easily create a group calendar for a meeting (or event) with potential date options and automated polls so invitees can vote on times that work best for the majority. You can also create basic polls without an account. 
  • Native integration: Doodle integrates with Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, and other calendars via ICS feed. 
  • Collaborative features: Share polls with colleagues, clients, or your team to find the best time to meet across any size group. You can also use Doodle for surveys and questionnaires, and have the option of making responses anonymous. 
  • Video conferencing compatibility: Doodle integrates natively with Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Webex for flexible video conferencing options. 
  • Conflict management: Event creators can edit an open poll, or reopen a closed poll to resend an updated version. 

Free trial: 14 days
Free, paid plans start at $6.95/month
Web, iOS & Android

4. CalendarHero - Best for different meeting types

CalendarHero is a scheduling availability calendar that streamlines booking, organizing, and keeping track of meetings. While the tool covers many of the advanced features as some of the other availability calendars on this list – CalendarHero is uniquely known for its scope of preset and customizable meeting types. This makes it our top choice for users who regularly manage many different kinds of meetings from complex group events, to hiring interviews, coffee meetings, on-site meetings, webinars, and anything in-between that could benefit from automation. 

CalendarHero’s availability calendar features:

  • Easy use: Create different meeting ‘types’ to easily schedule across your unique scenarios. You can invite attendees to book via the app’s scheduling calendar, scheduling links, or embed a self-booking link on your website. They even allow you to enable an AI meeting assistant to create meetings right in chat platforms like Slack or Teams, from email, or via mobile SMS. 
  • Native integration: Sync unlimited calendars from Google, Outlook, Office 365, Exchange, with other native app integrations including chat, email, file, HRIS, CRM, support, and no-code/low-code apps to maximize your productivity. 
  • Collaborative features: Users on the same team enjoy calendar sharing and scheduling options, and external invitees can schedule via a booking link or be made Collaborators for more scheduling options without an account. 
  • Video conferencing compatibility: CalendarHero is compatible with all major video conferencing applications, including Zoom, Webex, Google Meet, Microsoft Team, and more, through native integrations. 
  • Conflict management: Cancel or reschedule an upcoming meeting easily from within the meeting card, and notify attendees of new time suggestions or changes. 

Free trial: 14 days
Free, paid plans start at $8/month
Web, iOS & Android

5. Google Calendar - Best for light meeting schedules

Google Calendar is one of the most popular digital calendars in the world, completely free for personal use with a Google account, but also widely adopted across companies and teams to organize their weekly schedules. Users can schedule time for meetings, appointments, focus time, tasks and reminders. For people managing occasional meetings without a heavy task load – Google Calendar can function as a basic availability calendar for you. The big limitation Google Calendar has against the other availability calendars here is that it does not dynamically find the best time for your events, or automatically reschedule conflicts for you when things change.

Google Calendar’s availability calendar features:

  • Easy use: Share your calendar with others, and use the ‘Find a Time’ feature to quickly pull up suggested availability options across multiple attendees schedules.
  • Native integration: The availability view is a default Google Calendar feature, with additional meeting add-ons available in the Workspace Marketplace.
  • Collaborative features: Invite up to 100 guests in a Google Calendar meeting, easily add attachments to events, and share content to collaborate on via Workspace. 
  • Video conferencing compatibility: Google Calendar meetings default with Google Meet video links, but are compatible with all other major video conferencing applications through free add-ons in the Marketplace. 
  • Conflict management: Event organizers can change event details and send an updated invitation to attendees. Guests can accept, decline, ‘maybe’ an invitation, or propose a new time to the organizer. 

Free trial: 14 days
Free, paid plans start at $6/month
Web, iOS & Android

Automate your scheduling & make more time 

Ready to stop wasting time manually managing your meetings and availability? By automating day-to-day processes that are low-value and time consuming (like organizing and booking meetings!), you can create more availability for high-value work during your limited workweek.

With availability calendars designed for every type of meeting schedule – you can start to optimize your own time and productivity, and create a better scheduling experience for your attendees.

Hopefully this list was helpful in choosing the best scheduling app for you. Did we miss your favorite tool? Tweet us @reclaimai to share how you manage your meetings! 

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