An Inside Look at Scheduling Nirvana | Artificial intelligence

You may have heard us use the term “ ” before. Perhaps you’ve dismissed it as nothing more than a sexy marketing term.

It’s a lot more than that.

We define scheduling nirvana as the hyper efficiency a company experiences when they make a wall-to-wall investment in our scheduling software. Exactly how profound the effect of that investment is depends on your company’s unique dynamic (how many employees you have, how many meetings you schedule, etc.), but we can offer a glimpse into the wonders of scheduling nirvana by showing you what it’s like across at our own company.

We’ll start with a chart that shows meeting distribution by company role from August, our last full month of data. This includes 31 of the 52 employees at our NYC office, showcasing a broad variety of different jobs.

The first thing you’ll notice is we have tons of meetings, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, given how easy it is for us to schedule them. Obviously, the more meetings we have, the more we’re spared the constant barrage of back-and-forth emails, and the more time we save.

What the chart doesn’t show is how thoroughly the back-and-forth is eliminated when Amy + Andrew have access to a whole company’s availability. Our AI scheduling assistants select the perfect time instantly, without having to propose a time to any meeting participant.

Why would we pay anyone to burn hours on email ping pong when Amy + Andrew can schedule role-specific and cross-workstream meetings for them?

Why would we want anyone to look at 4 shared internal calendars, when he or she can just Slack Amy and get the necessary people together for 10 min tomorrow?

Of equal importance to having access to company-wide availability, Amy + Andrew know everyone’s scheduling preferences. You’ll notice that the chart also shows how some roles initiate a lot of meetings, and others are guests most of the time.

Paul Graham notes the difference in how scheduling needs differ based on roles in his article, “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule.” Graham groups employees into two factions, makers (programmers, writers), and managers (execs, product managers) who need different types of schedules to be effective.

“When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That’s no problem for someone on the manager’s schedule. There’s always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the maker’s schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it.

-Paul Graham, “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule”

Through the lens of a wall-to-wall investment in our scheduling software, it can’t be overstated how important personalized scheduling preferences are to the “makers” of our company. Our developers (not to mention writers like me, who need uninterrupted time to pen such well-written blog posts), can block out times for uninhibited focus. Want some evidence? Peep my scheduling hours.

I always give myself an hour and a half weekday mornings to edit and revise any articles or creative projects that are in development. I reserve Thursdays exclusively for starting new projects. I also block out a few hours on Friday afternoons for some creative wiggle room.

It’s a huge relief knowing I can always count on Amy + Andrew to safeguard my schedule when I’m a meeting guest, and that they’ll know to override my preferences if I specifically request it as a host.

We exemplify the incredible payoff of “scheduling nirvana,” but such an effect isn’t exclusive to a company like ours. When you consider how team-oriented meetings are, and how they impact every single worker at any given company (not to mention external collaborators), it’s easy to envision AI scheduling as a cost-effective solution that saves hours for every employee.

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