Time Hack: Customize your overlap

In my role at x.ai, I speak to a lot of users to understand how they use the system and what they want to see from it in the future. In fact, one of these conversations sparked the idea for this post (thanks, Tim!).

We have users all over the world, so scheduling across oceans can be a bit tricky. I am in the New York time zone and so my default scheduling hours are in my own time zone. When I send a meeting request to someone in Berlin, they can see my availability in their time zone, but they may not want to meet me at 9pm.

Even worse is setting up a meeting in Australia. My default New York scheduling hours have exactly zero overlap with Melbourne’s working hours. I could look for the slim bit of overlap and craft an ad hoc request to Amy each time I need to have a call with my friends down under.

But that’s a rookie time hacker trick!

Instead I have a couple of different meeting templates that I use for these purposes. One meeting template is called simply /au and I set the available hours for it to 6pm through 9pm EST. This lets me take calls at 8pm in New York and 11am in Melbourne:

But I do not want just anyone booking meetings at these odd hours, I’d rather limit my late-night meetings, so I avail myself of two additional settings:

By hiding this meeting template’s calendar page from my calendar homepage, I can ensure that I am not exposing my evening hours to the entire world. However, suppose someone gets a hold of the URL, perhaps because I naively published it in a blog post. In that case, anyone who schedules a meeting through the page is still going to have to go through me first. Amy or Andrew will email me and double-check that I want them to set up the meeting before they add it to my calendar.

This way, I do not have to take meetings immediately after happy hour or past bedtime more than once or twice a week!


Articles in the Time Hacker Series

  1. NEW: Prioritize your people: Get the availability for the most important guests first
  2. NEW: iPhone text replacement: Quick access to your Calendar Pages (on Android, too!)
  3. NEW: Get some FaceTime: Hack your Meeting Template to offer FaceTime URLs
  4. NEW: Cloak your availability: Block out time but still allow certain meetings
  5. NEW: Share a colleague’s availability: Schedule on behalf of your colleagues
  6. NEW: Make guests feel important: Add hidden restrictions to meetings
  7. NEW: Crowd control for calendars: Limit attendees for your group meetings
  8. Look busier than you are: Mask your true availability
  9. Stash a Slash: Surreptitiously include instructions to our AI to save you a step
  10. Automate your responses: Create email workflows to manage meetings for you
  11. Customize your overlap: Use Meeting Templates to optimize time zone overlaps
  12. Separate work and play: Route events to different calendars, personal or professional
  13. Make time for yourself: Instantly block out focus time with an email
  14. Add Amy to your emails with zero clicks: Loop in our AI with a simple email hack
  15. Leave yourself a graceful exit plan: Allow meetings to run long… or cut them short
  16. Gotta keep ’em separated: Double-book your time with multiple guests

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