Time Hack: Look busier than you are

Too much time on your hands?

A completely open calendar can indicate someone whose time is not in high demand. That’s why I set up my x.ai calendar pages to share a limited number of slots per day, usually no more than 5. This makes it seem as though my days are filled with something other than soul-crushing loneliness and scoldings from Dennis. I also enable the option to only offer times for meetings at the top of the hour to spread my availability out.

Cool? Yes, but that’s a rookie time hacker trick!

An advanced time hacker takes advantage of the x.ai meeting confirmation email to disguise their availability.

If I request an ad hoc meeting using natural language over email, I might say something like, “Andrew, find thirty minutes next week at my office. Call it “Seinfeld Screening” and Dennis is optional.

Andrew will then send me a confirmation email with the range of available times set to next week. It will look something like this:

Great, Andrew got the details correct. My guests saw me say, “next week” in the email. As far as they know, I am happy to meet with them any time next week.

However, unbeknownst to them, rather than clicking “Schedule as is” to get the meeting booked, I can click “Update details” and hack some time by giving Andrew extra instructions that my guests won’t know about! Once in the interface, I can update my preferred times by selecting “Time ranges”:

Once there, I simply click and drag to choose the times that I actually want for my meeting:

Ta-da! Now when I tell Andrew to go ahead and schedule the meeting, my guests saw me say “Next week” but I am actually instructing Andrew to only offer times on Wednesday, Thursday afternoon, and a small window on Friday morning! My guests are none the wiser and I protect the rest of my week.

Time status: HACKED!


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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