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Business, Product & Tool Tips

Common Causes of Scheduling Conflicts and How to Avoid Them

Daena Skinner
29/05/2024
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Common Causes of Scheduling Conflicts and How to Avoid Them

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Let’s face it, if you hold a managerial role, you’ve surely experienced schedule conflicts firsthand over the past few months (or even weeks). Juggling multiple tasks at the same time, facing conflicting meetings and deadlines with suppliers, and maybe even missing that brainstorming call with the web designers — it can be anything!

So what can you do? Care less about your schedule conflicts? Accept that this is the way things are and learn to live with the stress? Or just cross your fingers and hope for the best each time?

By the end of this post, you’ll know exactly what are the main reasons for these conflicts, the most recurring conflicts, and how to avoid them.

Sounds tough? It can be. But it’s certainly not impossible.

What are scheduling conflicts? 

Scheduling conflicts is a situation that occurs when a team member is supposed to be in two places at once, causing a clash between different commitments or appointments in your calendar.

You’ll definitely need some more help to understand this, so let’s paint a clearer picture here. Imagine assigning an urgent task to your graphic designer while she’s on maternity leave, or delegating some paperwork to a product manager when he’s attending a global conference. 

These conflicts will make your team members feel constantly under the wire, as they juggle multiple tasks simultaneously. The end result of all of this? Reduced team productivity, delays in projects, and potentially going over budget.

Even worse! Recurrent scheduling conflicts can disrupt the entire business workflow and even lead the project to collapse.

Scheduling Conflicts: How did we get here? 

Now that we have established what scheduling conflicts are, and what repercussions they can have on the project development. It’s time to shift our focus to a solution.

But wait, maybe before that, we should start discussing how we did get to these conflicts anyway.

Missing valuable chances 

We hate to break it to you, but it’s needless to say that scheduling conflicts will definitely make you miss out on some invaluable opportunities from unattended events or meetings. Whether it’s networking with key players, identifying unexplored market gaps, or even losing a potential client.

Double-booking

This happens quite often to CEOs and department heads. They often unintentionally double-book themselves for two events at the same time due to their crazy schedule, and as a result, they find themselves caught in scheduling conflicts.

Clashing duties

Another common scheduling conflict happens when team members have overlapping commitments and tasks. It’s more likely to take place when teams set up meetings and appointments without considering everyone’s prior commitments. 

Not only does this overwhelm some team members with overdue tasks backlogged during their absence, but it also disrupts their patterns of work.

Lack of communication

Poor communication is one of the reccurent causes for scheduling conflicts and it’s not hard to see why. When the team fails to communicate the information properly, chances are that employees unknowingly double-book themselves or struggle to coordinate with their colleagues.  

Unexpected  circumstances

Not every scheduling conflict happens because of human errors, in fact, a lot of these clashes are caused by unforeseen events or emergencies, and this happens a lot: health problems, technical issues, transportation – literally anything that demands immediate assessment.  

Ineffective planning

A shot in the dark – that’s exactly what describes a poor planning of tasks and events with tight timelines. The payoff? unrealistic deadlines, unbearable workload, and of course, scheduling conflicts. 

Time zone differences

You could say that your remote team can always figure out the time zone differences and we can agree but then we’d both be lying! Just imagine having team members from Argentina, Australia, and the US. Can you see the time slot clash coming? 

So at some point, there will inevitably be some time management challenges and meetings being scheduled at inconvenient (to not say impossible) time slots for some participants. 

Common causes of scheduling conflicts

Juggling different projects 

It shouldn’t be a shock to hear that juggling multiple projects at once is a real headache for teams, just think about it: different tasks with their own timelines, dependencies, material, and human resources all requested simultaneously for different tasks  — Hello, scheduling conflicts ✋

Overlooking the data 

We hate to sound like a broken record, but we’ll say this one more time: before you assign tasks, make sure to check if your team members are available. But how on earth can I know about the team member’s availability, you ask? Well, through data, of course!

Sorry to tell you that without data you’re likely to assign tasks to someone who’s enjoying the sunny weather of Bali or attending an event in Dubai. Not ideal, right?

The data also brings more visibility of the team member’s capacity, so if you overlook it, you risk overloading someone with endless work just to keep up.

Disregarding task prioritization 

You’ve heard it before but we’ll say it again, expecting your team to work on concurrent tasks, meet all deadlines, and maintain top-notch quality is just unrealistic. 

Without a well-thought-out task prioritization and performance tracking system in place, even the most skilled and efficient team members will find themselves caught up in conflicting activities and schedules on the project. 

Limitation of resources 

Well, whatever your project may be, it’s best to go back to basics. If teams haven’t planned for the human resources that the upcoming project requires, then their planning capacity is seriously questionable. This could lead to a manpower shortage, and guess what? You won’t have anyone to handle the tasks.

Let’s assume for instance that your team is working on an app development project, and suddenly there’s an urgent need to fix a bug reported by the client, and there’s only one IT technician assigned to the project, and he’s already swamped with other technical tasks.

Absence of cushion time

Forgive us for the jargon, but in simple terms, cushion time is the extra time that must be added and budgeted to your project timeline or deadlines to account for any unforeseen events. Delays, last-minute revisions, external factors – It can be anything. 

In projects, you can’t just cross your fingers and hope for the best to happen. So without this cushion time, you’re basically setting yourself up for either a project that’s constantly running behind schedule or a team that’s overwhelmed with tasks.

4 Ways to Avoid Scheduling Conflicts 

Here comes the fun part! 

The following tips we’re about to share aren’t just guidelines. They’re the game plan for avoiding (or at least reducing) the most common scheduling conflicts. 

Let’s jump right in!

Communicate the conflict with your team 

With better communication, comes better outputs. And with better outputs, well-thought-through decisions for scheduling conflicts.  

When every team member involved in the project is aware of the approaching conflict, the team can discuss and address the issue head-on even before it takes place. 

But streamlining the communication process will take a little more work than that: so your best bet as a team leader is to resort to a digital solution like using a project management software with in-built communication features and a scheduling system, to make it easy-peasy for your team to bring all that matters to a single platform. Pretty useful, right? 

Make plans in advance

Let’s get real, most employees don’t have control over their working time, and it happens more often than you’d think. Research from Statista shows that 47% of workplaces offer very limited flexibility when most employees would prefer to work under a more predictable schedulea more predictable schedule if given the choice.

On the other hand, some workers don’t get enough working hours and have to work part-time (less than 35 hours a week) even though they would like to work more.

This problem typically happens when business owners aren’t able to determine workload and track their employee’s time. The solution for this? Plan ahead! Because by making a schedule in advance, you can give your team steady hours, and ideally, you can even offer them full-time work.

Because, what’s the planning really about? Getting your team more productive, right?

Once you have the bigger picture, you can focus on who does what. Which brings us to our next solution. 

Set up a dedicated schedule for your team

Now, what team members really want from you is a plan that aligns with their work schedule, so your one-stop solution is to set up a daily routine planner where they can visualize the whole project timeline, and their own dedicated schedule so that they can plan the deadlines in accordance with their availability. See? Super easy.

Set realistic expectations 

Time is money, and so are resources like employees, material, and training, we totally get it. But you should always be realistic about when the project should be completed. All of this eliminates headaches related to task assignments, vacations, leaves, delegation, schedule flexibility, and everything in between. 

When your entire team has a predefined working schedule and is aware of each other’s workload. no chance that a task will be missed.

Final words from SimplyBook.Me 

And thus, we reach the end of it – the blog post, we mean, not scheduling conflicts!

Now, we can safely say that we have told you as much about the causes of scheduling conflicts as you should know before you start handling them.

Depending on your niche, you can seamlessly schedule the online appointments of your team and clients. And it’s not as tough as you think. SimplyBook.Me is the tool that will help you do that in seconds. So why not give it a shot? It’s just a click away!

Thank you for sticking around till the end! We wish you good luck, better task scheduling, and streamlined projects 😉

Author Bio: 

Amine Boussassi is an SEO content writer who has been featured on big names like ActiveCampaign and ClickUp, and Flippa. He is enthusiastic about the SaaS world, no-code solutions, project management tools, and everything in between. His overarching mission revolves around empowering companies to achieve high rankings on Google.

Find me on LinkedIn.

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