The back-and-forth of scheduling meetings can be a tedious time suck like no other. I have internal and external meetings almost daily with coworkers, clients, and other businesses, and I found myself spending a lot of time writing a lot of emails listing my availability for the week, juggling responses, and updating my calendar—talk about inefficient and tiresome.

Enter Time Trade, a web-based appointment scheduler that links all my calendars and lets me show others when I'm available. I email out a single link that displays the blocks of time I have free, and my meeting partners can select a slot that automatically appears on my master calendar.

There are myriad ways to customize the program to your liking. You can define blocks of time for each type of appointment, like "Tuesday and Thursday, 10am–4pm, available for 30-minute phone calls," or "Tuesday–Friday, 12–1:30pm, available for lunch." Each kind of appointment gets its own link, so if you want to grab lunch with someone, you can just forward them the lunch link. You can also set the schedule to display only a certain number of appointment blocks, so you don't overload your meeting partner with choices. This also lets you avoid looking like you're "too free" and have little going on; time outside your available appointments appear simply as "busy" to others. Additionally, Time Trade syncs with Google Calendar and Outlook, and automatically avoids times you have blocked out in those apps.

This software has significantly improved my quality of life over the last month. A single user edition costs $30/year, with a one month free trial.

How hundreds of nails and a whole lot of string represent the way we work