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Last Updated on July 12, 2021

7 Best Free Scheduling Apps That Make Scheduling Easier

7 Best Free Scheduling Apps That Make Scheduling Easier
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A few years ago, I decided to open up my coaching programmes to the wider world. To achieve this, I would need to shift online and use tools such as Skype and FaceTime. (Zoom was in its infancy back then, and Microsoft Teams was still in development).

One of the first problems I faced was how I was going to schedule my coaching appointments. I live on the east side of the world in North-East Asia, and most of my clients live in North America and Europe. I realized I would be working with up to seventeen hours time difference.

To overcome this difficulty, I began searching for a scheduling service that would automate my calls.

A scheduling service allows you to set the parameters for when a person can schedule an appointment with you. So, all I needed to do was set the times I would be available for a call or meeting, and the person who wanted to schedule a call with me could select a time from the times I made myself available through a link I shared with them. This avoided me having to email back and forth, trying to find a suitable time for both of us.

Scheduling services have come a long way over the last few years, becoming quite a competitive market. One of the advantages of using such a service is that once a person has scheduled a meeting with you, most of these services will add the appointment to your calendar and send out reminders to all parties about the meeting.

With many of us now working from home, the advantage of using a scheduling service is you can set up different time blocks in the day when people can arrange a meeting with you, and you can keep time in the day free of meetings, so you can embark on some quality deep work without worrying about being disturbed.

As long as you share your scheduling link with your colleagues and clients, you can be safe knowing that your carefully planned out day will not be disturbed by people trying to find a mutually convenient time for you to have a meeting.

Below I have listed out my top seven free scheduling services you can use to bring a lot more control to your day.

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1. Calendar

    Calendar is a tool that combines all of your scheduling and appointment needs in one user-friendly interface. Calendar has a unified dashboard that integrates with all popular calendar services including Google, Microsoft, and Apple.

    The Calendar dashboard displays what your day has in store. You can quickly create meetings and edit scheduled events with ease. Its analytic tools offer insight into how you and your team are spending your time, allowing you to adapt and be as time-efficient as possible.

    This app can answer all of your scheduling needs by creating smart links that automatically assess your availability across all of the different calendars you have synced to the dashboard. This feature ensures that you never get double-booked. It allows your meeting participants to select and click a link and book a time that works for both parties.

    Calendar also has scheduling tools for creating the different types of links you might want, including group meetings, one-on-one discussions, or training sessions that require multiple attendees to sign up for the same time.

    2. Square

      Square is one of the most popular free services. Square is not just a scheduling service. You can run a business through this service, too as it allows you to take payments and keep track of your clients.

      If you are a personal trainer, a coach, teacher, hairdresser or any other business that requires your customers and clients to schedule appointments with you, then Square is a great option to go with.

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      Square integrates with Google Calendar and has a mobile app for both iOS and Android to manage your appointments wherever you are.

      3. Calendly

        Possibly, the most popular scheduling service, Calendly integrates with almost all types of calendar; whether you are using Google Calendar, Outlook or Apple, Calendly will integrate with it. You can also embed Calendly right into your website.

        More importantly, today, you can also integrate Zoom and Microsoft Teams with Calendly, so all you need do is click on the start meeting right from Zoom or Teams.

        As with Square, this app is perfect for teachers, beauticians, personal trainers and any solopreneur as it allows you to set up your schedule, and your students and clients can pick a time and date that suits them.

        You can also set scheduling limits so you don’t get any surprises. For instance, you can set it up so that people cannot book an appointment with you less than a few hours before the time.

        4. Bookafy

        Bookafy is another free service that has a lot of power under the hood. You can schedule unlimited appointments and types. Appointment types could be the length of the appointment (30 mins, 60 mins etc.) or, if you are a beautician, the type of service being booked.

        Bookafy’s website is beautiful, which is an important consideration for your own business branding. It is intuitive for your clients and makes the whole scheduling experience a joy.

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        You can make sure your customer or colleagues receive all the meeting login details when they schedule the call, and you can also accept payments from your clients through the Bookafy interface.

        5. SimplyBook Me

          SimplyBook Me is a free service where you can customise the add-ons you require. Most of the add-ons are paid services, but if you are searching for a simple, free appointment scheduling service, then SimplyBook me is certainly worth looking at.

          There is a mobile app for managing your appointments. You can also integrate SimplyBook Me with your Facebook page or Instagram account so your customers and clients can schedule appointments through it.

          Reminders are customisable, so you can set a reminder of an appointment for the time you want your clients to be reminded. Most services only offer a 24-hour reminder; with SimplyBook Me, you can set your reminder schedule.

          6. 10 TO 8

          10 To 8 is a great scheduling service that guarantees that their free service will be free forever. You are limited to 100 appointments per month, but for a small business looking for a better way to manage meetings and appointments, then 10 TO 8 will do the job for you.

          Like, Picktime, you can use 10 TO 8 to schedule classes, and you can set up recurring appointments if, for example, you run the same class each day or week at the same time.

          Another benefit of using 10 TO 8 is you can set up your Stripe or PayPal accounts, so you can take payments when a customer schedules an appointment with you saving you the hassle of chasing payments.

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          7. Google Calendar

            Finally, a little known feature in Google Calendar is the ability to set up a calendar where your clients can schedule appointments. It is rather less automated than the services above, but it does work.

            I used this service many years ago when I taught English. All I needed to do was set up the time blocks I was available and send the calendar link to my students. They then could pick and choose the times that would work for them.

            There are no automated reminders; it would depend on whether your client or colleague has reminders set up on their calendars, but it works, and if you are looking for a service that will always be free and keeps you in control of your times, then Google Calendar will do the trick for you.

            Bottom Line

            You have a lot of choice with scheduling services today. Many are free and can be integrated into your website to retain control over your branding.

            Scheduling services can take the pain out of scheduling appointments, and it also allows you to stay in control of your calendar. This is one of the best features of this service for me. I can get on with my work, safe knowing I will not be getting unexpected meeting invites or phone calls. I can refer people to my scheduling service and let that do all the hard work for me.

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            Featured photo credit: Thom Bradley via unsplash.com

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            Carl Pullein

            Dedicated to helping people to achieve their maximum potential through better time management and productivity.

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            Last Updated on July 21, 2021

            Master These 25 Mac Shortcuts to Work Faster and Smarter

            Master These 25 Mac Shortcuts to Work Faster and Smarter
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            In a busy day, you know it well what it means to save a second of time. It seems a waste of time to leave your keypad and fiddle on your mouse or keypad.

            Another approach to save those seconds is to remember Mac shortcuts to work faster and smarter. This will truly make your work quicker than trifling on mouse or touchpad. In fact, not using keyboard shortcuts actually makes you lose 64 hours every year.

            I think all of you know command- C means copy and Command- V means paste, but there are a lot more shortcuts other than these. The following commands have been compiled to sky rocket your productivity.

            Before we start, here’re things to take note of:

            • The shortcuts that I will be discussing here corresponds to the keyboard of US layout .
            • Sometimes you may find a couple of difficulties using console substitute routes in Mac as the OS and a couple of uses may struggle with each other. If you come across such problems, then please refer to Mac help for your version of the operating system or you may also refer to a utility application.

            Okay, let’s get to it!

            1. Command+Shift + Three(3)

            For full screen capture, press Command+ shift + 3.

            2. Command +Shift + Four(4)

            You may similarly need to take a screen catch of a selected window from the entire screen.

            Hit the Command +shift + four and as the desired window gets emphasized tap the mouse or trackpad.

            3. Command + Option + D

            This shortcut helps you to hide or show the dock. It is particularly important in Macbooks where the screens are smaller and you need more real estate.

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            4. Command + Q

            If you want to stop an application at a point, you just need to click Command + Q and you are done.

            5. Command + T

            With the dispatch of Mac OS Sierra, windows now can carry a tab. However, all the applications in Mac Sierra may not bolster multi-tab control. For the ones which do, you can press Command + T, to open another tab.

            6. Command + R

            I write a lot of mails and a lot of people write to me as well. Hence when I want to reply to someone instead of hunting for the reply button, I simply click Command + R and a new reply box opens up.

            It is important to note that this function is useful only when you are in your mailbox.

            7. Command + Spacebar

            This is an amazing feature Apple has added to the Mac. If you are searching for something on your operating system or on the web then you can call for a spotlight, you can do this merely by holding Command + Spacebar.

            8. Command + shift + ?

            If you want to learn how a custom application works or are stuck up with troubleshooting of Mac, a quick shortcut from the keyboard for “Help”, then just hit Command + Shift + ?.

            9. Command + OPTION + ESC.

            Sometimes when working with an app, it might so happen that the system hangs and stops working. The mouse or touchpad is of no use and at that point just by pressing Command + option + esc together you can quit the application.

            10. Command + X / C / V / Z

            Although most readers would know this, these are important functions and worth mentioning. These four shortcuts – Cut, Copy, Paste and Undo can be summoned using Command + X/C/V/Z respectively.

            11. Command + F

            If you are perusing a long article and looking for a specific word or expression, you can take the assistance of Find Order by holding Command + F.

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            A finder pops up and you can easily enter your search term and it will navigate to all the places in the document where the word/term is mentioned.

            12. Control + Media Eject.

            A single command to help with restart, shutdown and sleep for your Mac – Control + Eject.

            When you press the command, a dialogue box will be opened, asking you what would you like your system to do further – sleep, shutdown or restart.

            13. Command + A

            If you’d like to select all the content of the document at one go, then this command comes in handy. Just press Command + A and the entire document will be selected.

            14. Command + Navigation keys

            If you are going through a long record and need to go to a dedicated page without troubling your mouse, you can do so by holding the Command + up or down key.

            15. Command + Option + H

            If you are not using a window and want to keep your desktop free of clutter, then the shortcut key you can use is Command + Option + H.

            It hides all windows barring the front app giving you a clean looking screen.

            16. Command + M

            The window you are working on is not of use now and you’d like to minimize it? Just press Command + M and your current active window will be minimized.

            17. Command + W

            In the event that you need to close a functioning window the order that you can utilize is Command + W.

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            18. Control + P

            If you have to print a record, the key combinations that you can use is Control + P. If you have a printer connected, a pop up box will open and will ask for further necessary actions to print the document.

            19. Command + Move + F5.

            In the event that you need to alter an archive, just hold Command + Move + F5.

            20. Command + N

            If you are working with a document or a browser tab, hitting Command + N will open up a new window. Remember a new window for the current active application opens up.

            For example, if you are surfing on your browser, activating the command will open up a new browser window. If you’re on a document, a new document window will pop up.

            21. Command + Control + N

            This is one of my favorite shortcuts that not too many people know about or use. However it is super useful.

            If you have too many files on your desktop and would like to move them to a new folder, this command is what helps you out.

            Simply select all the files that you would like to be moved and press Command + Control + N. In a second, all the selected files will move to a new folder.

            22. Command + Shift + V

            You’ve found something on the internet and you would like to paste it on your document. Most of the times, it ends up in a weird format. To solve this issue just use Command + Shift + V and the text will be pasted without any formatting, making it easy to format the way you want it.

            23. Command + B/I/U

            The old classic. If you want to make your selection, Bold, Italics or Underline them, simply use the command button and press B/I/U respectively.

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            24. Command + Tab

            Working with too many windows? It gets difficult to navigate seamlessly between applications when a lot of them are open. Use this command to easily navigate between windows.

            25. Option + Shift + Volume(+/-)

            When I work on my Mac system, I usually use the volume keys frequently. However, I noticed that just pressing the volume key would increase/decrease the volume speedily. So I hunted down this shortcut.

            Using this you can adjust the volume by +/- 1 point for the perfect decibel sound you require.

            Summing It Up

            Depending on the usage of your Mac and the kind of work you do with it, you will find a selection of these shortcuts, extremely helpful.

            You might already be using some if these shortcuts but adding a few of them to your arsenal will save you on those precious seconds that don’t hamper your flow.

            If you are a new Apple user, it might be a bit challenging to get accustomed to these quickly. However, once you’ve got used to it, you’ll be a lot more productive.

            Featured photo credit: Alex Bachor via unsplash.com

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