So today I’m going to rave about some scheduling tools I use and how much easier they make life. Now this isn’t meant to be some sort of humble-brag about how spectacularly busy and popular I am…as a matter of fact, I think busyness in business (huzzah for the word nerds!) is overrated, and I use these tools to streamline my schedule and reduce my busy, so I have time for all the things that matter to me.
Running a business requires potentially overwhelming levels of organization and time management, whether you were born with an agenda book in hand or you need appointment reminders to make appointments. A good scheduling system minimizes time wasted on missed meetings or crossed communications and maximizes both your billable hours and time off the clock. (You do take time off, right?) Plus it shows that you respect your clients’ and colleagues’ time and helps you maintain the optimal work-life balance for you.
And when I say for you, I mean for exactly who you are. I’ve spent a fair amount of time introspecting in the past few years (which has actually been incredibly helpful for building a business I love), and what I’ve learned informs what work-life balance means to me. So, for example, I’ve learned how freaking important it is, like deep deep down on a soul level, for me to be available to exercise my natural empathetic tendencies, and to help others whenever possible. So when my best friend texted me in the middle of a Thursday afternoon and said she needed a ride to the Emergency Room, I was able to easily and efficiently reschedule an appointment I had with the click of a button. I hit re-schedule, typed a short message to my client, and sent it off, knowing that they would receive an email, and their calendar event would update automatically. Everything became so simple because I was using the right tools.
Here’s what I use to make and keep my schedule:
If you’ve ever tried to schedule something with me, I will usually send you a link to choose a date and time on my calendar. I can do this because of Calendly’s awesome features:
- It syncs to my calendar by pulling existing appointments and adding new ones automatically.
- It lets me choose acceptable days and times to further restrict my phone call or in-person meeting availability.
- It can set different types of meetings and collect additional information such as attendees, agenda, or [something else that preferably starts with A].
- It allows buffer time between meetings, which can be specified by meeting type.
- It can even live as a nifty floating button my website. (This took some of my technical expertise, but they do provide the button code for you.)
This is a relatively new addition to my tools, but I love it already!
- It also syncs with my calendar where Calendly is making appointments with current and potential clients. But wait, there’s more!
- It lets me put in billable time and visually see what my week or month looks like from a cash flow standpoint.
- It can accommodate projects, specific rates, and additional users when my team expands.
- It generates reports of how I’ve spent and billed my time.
What I love is that this can also serve as a central calendar for determining availability as I grow my team which is important because I plan to give everyone a remote work option.
So I use Google Apps for Work, and wouldn’t use anything else. Maybe I’ll write about that later, but for now: Boomerang! You may not think of Boomerang as a “scheduling” or “time management” tool, but it really kind of is. Here’s what it does:
- It schedules emails to send later (batching emails saves me time on a day to day basis, and I can get all of my communications for a project planned right away, plus makes sure people get my messages at a reasonable business hour instead of in the middle of the night, as I sometimes keep strange hours)
- It allows you to choose a date to bring a message you’ve received back to your attention. So, for example, when a client sends me information for a feature I plan to work on in 3 days, I can boomerang it for 3 days later when it’s relevant. This keeps me from searching through email, or having to put information in a document that I’ll reference one time.
The most awesome part is that all of these applications have free levels, so it’s easy to build a system that works for you and grows with you.
I just wanted to share this because I love you, you’re awesome, and I love helping to simplify your life and move you and your business forward. 🙂
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