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need help for "synching" group members calendar

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  • need help for "synching" group members calendar

    Both at home and at office, I am part of a group of 4 to 6 where we all need to know one another's schedules. Not usually hour by hour unless certain events or activities deviate from usual daily/weekly pattern, but rather major events, deadlines, visitors, out of town trips, activities that will tie up parts of the work space, sub-group meetings, etc. Also, usually an aspect of the weekly pattern changes every 6 to 8 weeks, that is something that has been Mon at 4pm, may change to Thursday at 3:15.

    At the beginning of month, we have been having a meeting in which each person in turn reads out loud his or her schedule and everyone writes down onto his own what is relevant. One person writes down everything and then puts this up on bulletin board. Then once a week we meet to share any updates and these get added in. also in same fashion.

    Sometimes in such a meeting decisions are also made regarding dates and times for certain activities, supplies needed or responsibilities for them.

    These calendar meetings takesforever and are really boring, and the exchange of dates is not fool proof either. We tried circulating a 6 person appointment calendar once a week but it was too hard to photocopy and you can't see wthe whole month at once. This did have an accountability advantage but it had to keep circuling through the group and then we would lose track of who had it.

    Any suggestions?
    Last edited by Jamie Elis; 10-02-2006, 10:27 PM. Reason: spelling and typos

  • #2
    Low tech and High tech

    Low Tech - Can everyone be responsible for keeping their own schedule on the bulletin board current out 6 weeks? Then you could just remind people instead of having to sit through the recital of schedules. If the bulletin board approach involves having to re-enter the information, find a monthly calendar with large daily blocks (Mom's More Time, or a blotter sized calendar) and have everyone fill in their own information. If you want to get complex, you could color code with markers the entries for either each person in the office or for the type of appoinment - dealines, out of town, visitors, etc.

    High Tech - Does everyone use computers regularly? If so you could set up calendar software either online or on your network (if you have one) and share your calendars.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by WebR0ver
      High Tech - Does everyone use computers regularly? If so you could set up calendar software either online or on your network (if you have one) and share your calendars.
      Google Calendar can work for this, as long as you don't need reminders . . . that's the biggest weakness of gCal from what I can see. Your daily update can contain you main calendar, but not any shared calendars. But if you're willing to check it yourself, you can see a nice, colour-coded, online representation of the information required.

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      • #4
        The best solution for group calendars is to have 1 individual in charge of tracking changes and issuing a consolidated calendar on an agreed upon schedule. This method does not remove the others from the process, they are still responsible for providing data/updates etc.

        If that is not possible a centralized calendar would be the way forward. It could be either low tech (paper/white board) or high tech (PC). For a low tech system it should be in a convent location ... mounted on the wall with pens/tags etc ... right outside the "water cooler" is a good spot!

        Solid White Tileboard (sometimes called Melamine tile wall panel) is a great low tech option, just read the following to get the idea...

        http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/000679.php

        On the high tech angle, I'm an Apple user (ie iCal). Hence I can create (color coded) calendars to my hearts content plus subscribe to others. Brings it altogether in one place.

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        • #5
          don't reinvent the wheel - use Google Calendar

          Originally posted by Jamie Elis
          Both at home and at office, I am part of a group of 4 to 6 where we all need to know one another's schedules. Not usually hour by hour unless certain events or activities deviate from usual daily/weekly pattern, but rather major events, deadlines, visitors, out of town trips, activities that will tie up parts of the work space, sub-group meetings, etc. . . .
          At the beginning of month, we have been having a meeting in which each person in turn reads out loud his or her schedule and everyone writes down onto his own what is relevant. One person writes down everything and then puts this up on bulletin board. Then once a week we meet to share any updates and these get added in. also in same fashion.

          Any suggestions?
          This is an old problem addressed by Corporate Time, Outlook, etc. But Google Calendar is free and simple to set up and maintain. (I notice my organization using it more and more even though we spend who knows how much money licensing and maintaining Corporate Time.) Add some interest to your next scheduling meeting by deciding how to set up the calendars and what level of sharing to use. For example, each person would set up probably one calendar for herself, sharing free/busy time but not event details. In addition, it would make sense to set up calendar(s) for parts of the work space as well. Each person authorized to schedule use of a space could make changes to its calendar.

          Using a shared collaborative calendar like this, you should all but eliminate these tedious meetings.

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