The AI Series: How EAs Can Use AI to Automate Scheduling

Automate Scheduling

As an EA, you likely deal with scheduling challenges on a daily basis. Scheduling may sound simple in theory, but we all know how complicated executive calendars can get. From coordinating meetings across different time zones to finding that magic spot in the calendar that accommodates ten busy board members, scheduling can quickly turn into a tricky game of tetris. 

If your executive lives by her/his calendar, it may seem like a no brainer to use AI to automate scheduling. After all, calendar data lives directly in your email system. Unfortunately, scheduling is a little more complicated than meets the eye. Your executive likely has calendar preferences, personal priorities, and daily habits that aren’t necessarily tracked inside her/his calendar. Luckily, there are several tools that can help you navigate calendar management and transition scheduling tasks over to AI. A few popular options include X.ai, Kono, Evie, Zapier, Doodle, and Alexa for Business

Base has outlined a few areas of scheduling that you may want to consider simplifying through AI.

Meeting Coordination

Finding an opening in your executive’s calendar is challenging. Matching your executive’s availability to whoever she/he is meeting with is even harder. Oftentimes, the simple act of coordinating a meeting time can turn into an endless email chain with no resolution.

Make your life easier by giving AI permission to view your executive’s calendar. Rather than flipping back and forth between an email chain and your executive’s calendar, hoping the times you’ve offered don’t get taken before the email is answered, automate the interaction. Use AI to automatically insert an up-to-date view of your executive’s availability into an email. Once sent, the recipient of the email can simply click on the time that works for her/him to schedule the meeting.

If you find yourself struggling to coordinate a meeting time for numerous attendees, Doodle might be the tool you’ve been searching for. Simple in concept, Doodle allows you to create a poll and have meeting participants vote for the dates and times that they are available.

Meeting Requests

There are several software companies in existence that now offer “meeting bots” to automate the scheduling process. How does it work? Once the bot receives a meeting request, artificial intelligence will schedule the meeting for your executive based on her/his availability. All you have to do is allow the bot to view and edit your executive’s calendar, set the appropriate calendar preferences, and let the bot do the rest. 

Calendar Insights

Many executives struggle with time management. As leaders, they are constantly pulled in different directions and it’s up to you, the assistant, to prioritize and set boundaries. One way to do just that is by creating calendar goals. 

Tools like Base’s Analyze examine the calendar patterns of the executive you support to uncover insights into how her/his time is spent. In seconds, you can get a visual representation of how your executive’s day, week, or year is divided between meetings, travel, value-add activities and more. With this information at your fingertips, you can more easily correct inefficiencies, set goals, and take advantage of strategic opportunities. 

Need an example? Perhaps your executive wants to have at least 2 meetings a week with your company’s biggest customers and less than 20 meetings in total. Using AI, you can take those goals and compare them to reality. Each week and/or month, create a calendar report and share the results with your executive. Together, you can make positive changes that will help you both be more successful. 

Calendar management is a big part of your role as a support professional. Use these suggestions to streamline the scheduling process so that you can take time back in your day to focus on more strategic work.

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About the Author

Chelsey Lewis

Chelsey Lewis

An executive assistant and writer, Chelsey Lewis has extensive experience in business operations, customer success, leadership, and training, primarily in the SaaS industry. She has her BA in Strategic Communications from the University of Minnesota and now resides in Northern Montana. If she isn't coordinating chaos, she can be found on her family farm or hiking in Glacier National Park.