I just introduced several stage manager friends to my current favorite website to use when you're trying to find the best time for something. Yes, you could create a Doodle poll, but you have to input every version of what could be possible. If you only list one hour time slots, what does someone put if they can only attend 45 minutes of it?
It's free to use, and no, I'm not sponsored to tell you this.
When you first set up the schedule options, you can select specific dates (or there's a dropdown choice for generic days of the week if you're setting up a recurring weekly meeting), and then a range of times. You can also name the event at the top. You can choose the time zone for yourself, and then the poll will translate to the time zone of the person opening it on their own device. (Doodle does this too, though many don't realize it.)
Once the poll is created, on the left side will be fields for your name and an optional password. If you do create a password, you can go back and change your answers, as well as use the same password over and over for future polls. Your participants can also choose whether to put a password or not, but they will list their names.
Once you have signed in, you can fill out your own schedule by dragging your cursor over the 15 minute increments that fit your availability, which will show for you in pink and green (image below). Because you created a password, you can also go back and easily change your answer if a new meeting is suddenly scheduled.
The top of the page provides you multiple ways to send the link to others. As more people input their availability, the right hand side begins to change shades.
No wonder we were having a hard time trying to schedule something! In an eight day period, there was exactly a half hour period when six of us could meet at the same time - February 2nd at Noon my time zone. However, if I hovered over the cell right above it, that was ever so slightly lighter in color; I could see that Bill (last name removed) was the only one not available for that period. Similarly, I'm the first one who has to leave, followed by one other person 15 minutes later.
For another poll I did back in August, for just three people, it quickly became obvious that Monday was our day to hold our planning session.
Using When2Meet also provides your other attendees with a quick sense of what time the meeting is shaping up to be as well, even before you decide a time. I'm using it with my musicians to schedule our tech check-ins this week for the free WSHU Little Pub Unplugged concert coming up on Thursday. Yay for virtual stage management gigs if we can't meet in person!
Anyway, it's truly one of my favorites, and since my fellow stage managers didn't know about this one until today, I figured I'd share.
Note: I just watched the tutorial on how to create an event, and if you're picking the weekly options, you have the ability to CHANGE what day of the week is listed first. So, that pesky "Does the calendar week start on Sunday or Monday?" question is adjustable to your little stage manager heart's content.
UPDATE: Additional ideas from others who have read this blog
ScheduleOnce is a new one to me, and looks interesting for letting people sign up to available time slots. One stage manager wonders how this might be used costume fittings in the future, and says it works great for scheduling interviews. The link I used goes to their pricing page, which says there is a free version for "solo" use; there is also a free trial option.
When Is Good is another one I hadn't heard of, that's a bit similar to When2Meet. Their own explanation: "No sign-up form. No password to choose. No fuss at all."
LettuceMeet - the ideas keep coming from viewers! This one has the similar overlap visual like When2Meet, with the option to connect your Google/Outlook Calendar to view your events underneath if you sign up, as well as the ability to edit and receive notifications. (You can create a "lettuce" without signing up, too, but cannot edit.)