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6 min read

Common Causes of Scheduling Conflicts and How to Avoid Them

As dreaded and undesirable they may be, scheduling conflicts and issues are routine impasses that naturally come with the territory in the meeting and engagement space. They are usually entirely accidental in nature and generally, you'd rather not have them occur in the first place. 

In today’s globalized and always-on professional society, time is of the essence and also always seems to be the thing we have the least of. Scheduling conflicts and unavailability are entirely natural and unavoidable, but there is a better way to handle them when they do appear. Let’s take a look. 

Scheduling conflicts occur when there is a clash or overlap between two or more events, appointments, meetings, or commitments that are scheduled for the same date and time. These conflicts can happen in various contexts, including personal, professional, academic, or social settings. When scheduling conflicts arise, individuals or groups are faced with the challenge of deciding which event to prioritize or may be forced to reschedule one or more of the conflicting commitments.

For example, imagine a person who has two important meetings scheduled at the same time, or a student who has two exams scheduled on the same day. In both cases, a scheduling conflict exists, and the individuals involved must find a solution to resolve it.

What kind of scheduling conflicts frequently occur

Scheduling conflicts can lead to various unfortunate consequences, such as:

Meeting scheduling conflicts due to double-booking

When someone accidentally schedules two events for the same time, they may be physically unable to attend both.

Missed opportunities due to meeting scheduling conflict 

Conflicts may lead to missed opportunities to participate in or benefit from important events or activities.

Stress and inconvenience due to meeting conflicts

Trying to manage conflicting commitments can cause stress and inconvenience for the individuals involved.

Rescheduling efforts for meeting conflicts

Resolving scheduling conflicts often requires the effort of rearranging commitments, which can be time-consuming and may inconvenience others.

To minimize scheduling conflicts, effective communication, careful planning, and the use of scheduling tools can be helpful. Being proactive in managing one's schedule and considering the availability of others can also prevent or reduce conflicts.

Scheduling conflicts caused by overlapping commitments

One of the most common causes is when individuals have multiple commitments or responsibilities that clash in terms of time and date. This can occur in both personal and professional settings when events, meetings, or appointments are scheduled without considering existing commitments.

Scheduling conflicts caused by poor communication

Miscommunication or lack of clear communication can lead to misunderstandings about schedules. When information is not effectively shared, people may inadvertently double-book themselves or fail to coordinate with others, resulting in scheduling conflicts.

Scheduling conflicts caused by unforeseen events or emergencies: Sometimes, unexpected events, emergencies, or urgent tasks can disrupt pre-planned schedules. This might include sudden health issues, transportation problems, or other unforeseen circumstances that demand immediate attention.

Scheduling conflicts caused by inadequate planning

Poor planning can lead to scheduling conflicts, particularly when tasks or events are not adequately organized or when timelines are unrealistic. In such cases, deadlines may overlap, causing conflicts for those involved.

Scheduling conflicts caused by time zone differences

In today's globalized world, virtual meetings and collaboration across different time zones or time slots are common. However, this can lead to scheduling conflicts if participants from different regions are not mindful of time zone differences, leading to meetings being scheduled at inconvenient or impossible times for some participants.

How to solve scheduling conflicts

Solving scheduling conflicts usually takes a bit of time and effort and they can be a burden to deal with if you’re already pressed for time. Luckily, as they are a rather persistent and universal problem, there are loads of solutions readily available to help you navigate the next time you’re faced with one. 

Identify the causes of your meeting scheduling conflicts

First, you’re going to need to take a look at what exactly caused the missed appointment. Look out for things like overlapping time slots or persistent issues that could prevent future meetings from happening as well. Then, decide on a time where double bookings and unavailability are least likely to occur again and go from there. 

Prioritize certain tasks when rescheduling meetings

Try to determine the priority or urgency of certain tasks or events that could be causing a delay in setting up a meeting, or alternatively, place emphasis on certain items in your meeting agenda and try to pull focus on those as your reason for needing to meet sooner rather than later. If there are certain elements that can wait for later discussion, allow that to happen so that you can focus and make progress on what needs doing now. 

Review all parties’ availability

Sometimes we fire off meeting notifications and requests without adequately checking if the other side is actually able to do so. Make checking availability the first step of your meeting set up or scheduling infrastructure so that you can start off on the right foot and be mindful of others’ schedules. 

Negotiate and compromise

There is a certain dance that occurs when trying to set up meetings that is just a part of the process. Although largely mitigated by scheduling apps and digital calendars, sometimes the back and forth still rears its head and we have to configure the specifics that can allow for a successful engagement. Be mindful and willing to negotiate and compromise a bit and you should be good to go. Remember, it is better to meet when convenient and have someone’s full attention than rush it along only to have it fall on deaf ears. 

Consider meeting options to resolve conflicts

Perhaps the information you need to communicate can be found elsewhere or could be provided by other people, web pages or automations. Consider also the way you intend to meet with someone. Would a live chat or instant call be sufficient or would you need to provide information in writing? Perhaps it is not the meeting itself but the way it is configured that is holding back the engagement, so look at the options available to you and make a decision that allows for progress. 

Remember that scheduling conflict resolution is largely a game of give and take, and you have to constantly deliberate and negotiate ways to avoid them. Luckily, a few conflicts here and there don’t harm your reputation much so as long as you don’t make a habit of it you are unlikely to incur negative perceptions around your meeting etiquette. 

How OnceHub can help to avoid scheduling conflicts 

OnceHub can provide invaluable assistance to your scheduling needs as our software largely removes your manual input from the booking experience, freeing up time and resources so you can focus on what really matters. 

We have a wealth of features that provide you with a high degree of control over your calendar and allows you to have the flexibility necessary to stay competent and responsive. Some of these features include: 

  • Real-time availability via live chat
  • Automated scheduling 
  • Confirmation, notifications and reminders
  • Rescheduling options 
  • Time zone management 
  • Customizable scheduling links 
  • And more!

To benefit from a scheduling infrastructure that allows for mindfulness of other people’s calendar obligations, sign up today by clicking here