Not your Grandma’s Calendar: Lizibot

Email is a burden we all share. Profhacker publishes frequently on quick productivity hacks to enhance management of the daily e-mail deluge, from productivity hacks to text expansionIn the Library with a Lead Pipe has also penned an excellent email management post.

Like many front line Research & Instruction librarians, I’m busy. I am always looking for ways to save time on all tasks from the mundane to the complicated. Scheduling meetings is an example of a mundane time suck. Last year I realized that I could cut down on my number of e-mail exchanges by implementing some way for students to schedule meetings with me without having to EMAIL me. 

One evening, while doing some research on digital curation, I came across a link to tungle.me, a neat calendaring tool that allows people to make appointments over the internet. AWESOME. At first, I was worried this was a pipe dream in the land of unicorns, but tungle.me was the real deal. I signed up, added that neat site to a QR code on my door and began saving loads of time by sending links to tungle.me rather than enduring long electronic negations about Wednesday versus Friday meetings versus Monday meetings.

I was rolling along until I received a sad email from tungle.me announcing that they were sunsetting this service to turn their attention to other matters at Research in Motion. Dejected, I began investigating other options. I put out a few cries for help on Twitter, and vendors responded with helpful links to a variety of services. Today, I found my new calendar solution: Lizi.

Lizi is my new personal assistant. And below I will break down why I hired Lizi to manage my calendar.

1. I was able to import my tungle.me account right into Lizi and keep my user name, caropinto.

2. It jives with Google calendar, Twitter, G+, & Facebook to get to know my contacts.

3. It saves locations for possible meetings, including my office at Hampshire College and my favorite off-campus coffee shop.

4. It’s easy to set preferred times that fall outside of the normative 9-5 Monday through Friday window. I love being able to instruct Lizi to not schedule meetings on days when I need additional prep time to teach or do committee work off campus.

5. Lizi also provides users with the option to schedule a call as opposed to setting up a meeting. Often, with off campus collaborators, I won’t necessarily want to schedule an in person conversation, but instead a phone call or virtual meeting. I appreciate that those folks can just go ahead and schedule a call with me.

Using a service like Lizi is more than a timesaver; it’s also a wonderful outreach tool. I love being able to meet my users’ needs by providing them with a direct link to my calendar. It reinforces the message I send when I teach research education sessions that I am available to meet. Lizi provides my students and faculty with an easy and direct connection to my calendar, saving time for everyone involved. It’s a win-win!