Productivity hack: save time with MS FindTime

a clock and a calendar

Finding the right time for that meeting is one of the scourges of the modern workplace.

You might be using Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or even – shock, horror – meeting up face-to-face. But whatever the venue, finding that one time that everyone’s free can be a real chore.

Especially if some participants are going to be at home. Some in the office. And some maybe not even internal to your company.

That’s where Microsoft FindTime comes in. As you might expect, it does exactly what it says on the tin.

What is Microsoft FindTime?

Microsoft FindTime is a meeting scheduler. You can find it as a free add-in for Outlook.

Essentially, FindTime collates all of the times that people have said are best for your meeting and makes it easy to reach a consensus.

No more long email streams of suggestions. No more time wasted negotiating.

All you do is enter the details of the times and dates that are good for you. You can see what the good times for everyone else are too. Everyone votes. Once the decision is made, FindTime sends a round of Teams meeting invites out. Your work here is done.

Why is FindTime so good?

1) It’s free and easy

FindTime is integrated with Outlook. It’s free. It’s also very simple to use.

2) Everyone can use it

You don’t need to be internal to a certain organisation or even have an Office 365 subscription in order to use FindTime. You can use your own preferred email program too.

In fact, you don’t even need to install the FindTime add-in if someone else has.

3) It automates the process

The entire process of sending out a bunch of emails or messages, waiting for responses, negotiating, handling suggestions, and sending out invites for the finally agreed-upon meeting is automated for you.

If you’re the organiser, you can use the Outlook calendar data of the people you’ve invited to suggest good times. Everyone votes on when the best option is for them.

Recipients can suggest other times, but that doesn’t add any further complexity. FindTime just handles it for you. Then the invites are sent automatically.

4) FindTime is secure

FindTime encrypts your private information using Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing service. This means every recipient’s identity and individual email responses can be protected.

5) It saves time and boosts productivity

You’ll soon come to love FindTime for the amount of wasted time and unproductive hours it saves you.

It lets you and the rest of your team get on with things they actually should be doing. Instead of spending more time arranging a meeting than holding the meeting itself will actually require.

How to install Microsoft FindTime

You can install FindTime through:

  1. Outlook for Windows or Mac
  2. Outlook on the web
  3. Microsoft 365 Apps for Business
  4. Exchange Online if you’re a Microsoft Enterprise user

1) Installing FindTime on Outlook for Windows

  1. Open Outlook
  2. Choose Home>Add-ins
  3. Search for “FindTime”
  4. Click “Add”
  5. The option “Reply with Meeting Poll” should appear in your home tab. That’s FindTime.

2) Installing FindTime for Outlook on the web

  1. Open your browser, open Outlook
  2. Choose “New Message” and click the ellipses (…) that appear
  3. Choose “Get Add-ins”
  4. Search for “FindTime”
  5. When writing a message in Outlook, click the ellipses and choose “FindTime”

How to use FindTime

Using FindTime couldn’t be easier. Open a new email, add the people you want to invite to the meeting, and select “New Meeting Poll”.

FindTime will then open a poll and show you a  traffic light of colour-coded date options based on the availability of your prospective attendees.

You choose a time that looks good. They then reply with votes and suggested times. Once everyone agrees, your meet is on!

Is FindTime right for you?

If you’ve ever experienced the slowly soul-crushing, cat-herding irritation of trying to get several people to meet in the same room at the same time, FindTime is worth your time.

Being free and simple to learn, it costs you nothing and potentially saves you a whole lot of effort and stress, while boosting potentially your whole team’s productivity.

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