Do you seem to spend more time in meetings than out of them? You keep getting interrupted and missing deadlines? Never have enough time for exercise or taking a break?
We’ve all experienced that feeling when you finish for the day with no idea of what you’ve really accomplished. Adopting an effective calendar management strategy will ensure that you allocate time where you most want it to go.
We automate the socks off everything at Saunders & Lee to improve efficiencies for small businesses and ultimately increase business sales. Automated calendar management can shield from diary overload and cut through rapidly escalating to-do lists.
The benefits of automation are easy to see compared to the manual back and forth of emails, or messages, to arrange meetings. There will always be occasions when manual arrangements or amendments are required. This way of working as the norm is prone to mistakes, time consuming and incredibly inefficient. Why?
Scheduling a meeting manually increases the risk of mistakes with the date, time, or far worse, forgetting to put the meeting in your calendar altogether. If you are managing multiple clients and projects the risk of mistakes rises exponentially.
Save Time And Get More Done
It might seem easier and quicker to do things yourself but in reality it’s inefficient and wasteful. Adding an entry into your calendar is not time consuming. Now factor in the possible additional tasks involved in this entry. Responding to emails, making phone calls, amending details due to attendees availability, sending confirmation details and issuing meeting reminders and you’ve added numerous tasks to your list.
Repetitive administrative tasks such as meeting scheduling should take up minimal time. Automated calendar-based scheduling is accurate, fast, and eliminates the use of human resources.
The Power Of Automation
Streamlining the scheduling process of your calendar frees up more time for important tasks. Many of the new scheduling tools provide the benefits of personal and customised communication with the efficiency of automation. The ability to gather contact information and arrange a meeting automatically allows you to engage with your customers without actually having to do anything.
Forward thinking business are already using automated communication tools to provide advanced functionality. From receiving an email or call a business can benefit from automated lead generation and appointment scheduling. Further automation can set up list building, follow up emails and and integration with your project management or office software.
Whether you are meeting through Zoom, over the phone or in person, the ability to link people with specific dates and times automatically should not be underestimated. The power of automation can result in significant time and monetary savings.
Effective Calendar Management
To make best use of time you need to take ownership of your calendar. Planning every aspect of your day will make you more productive and you’ll get more done.
- Keep one day free from meetings to be assigned to deep thinking work. A focus day could be as frequent as every week, bi-weekly or even once a month.
- Consider planning your days by theme. For instance you could set aside Mondays for creative work like blog posts, Tuesdays for meetings, Wednesday for proposals etc.
- Stack your meetings for morning or afternoons to free up time for other tasks. This limits the down time between calls being wasted with distractions. You will naturally feel more energised by certain activities at different points of the working day. Too many meetings in a day can switch a mindset to being task-oriented versus thinking critically and creatively.
- Changing hats is a routine necessity for small business. Doing so frequently is exhausting and unproductive. Chunking your day into blocks allocated to different hats – invoicing, marketing, business development will allow you to achieve more. It will mitigate the risk of being dragged into minutiae and allow time for deep, meaningful work.
- Colour coding and categorising quickly displays an overview of your commitments. It provides a simple way to filter your diary over a day, a week or a month.
- Schedule appointments with yourself, like you would with clients, to ensure that time is allocated to important tasks. These could be work related but also might be going for a run or walking the dog.
- Utilise software that can manage your diary without the need for human involvement. Whether you opt for a more simple free system, or pay for one with additional add-ons, the time you save will be priceless.
- Ensure meetings are offered for definitive time slots and adopt effective meeting management. Adding monetary value with Calendly ensures that your advice is working for you.
Choosing Your Software
In today’s digital age, it is common for project teams to work across different locations, offices and countries. There is a myriad of options available to help you manage calendars and schedule meetings. It depends on the level of interaction that you want from it. Most meeting scheduler apps will connect to your online calendar. If you are yet to use an electronic calendar, Google Calendar is as good as it gets and interacts well with other systems if you want the option to expand automations.
Doodle is a good choice if you are looking for software to arrange internal meetings. It is particularly useful if you are accessing it from a mobile phone. For meetings with clients and sales leads, systems such as Hubspot and Calendly offer the ability to gather contact information and arrange appointments automatically. They facilitate engagement with your customers without disrupting other activities.
The free Hubspot gives you a link that you can send people so that they can access your diary. The link only shows available slots, you control what times are available, thereby easily managing your diary and the natural flow of work.
If you just want a calendar link, without the Hubspot CRM, the free version of Calendly handles this too. You can create multiple links to your calendar to allow access from more than one website. The automated responses can be customised to accommodate this. Calendly also accepts payments from invitees when they schedule meetings.
Effective calendar management will allow you to tame your schedule and get more done. Adopting automation will improve productivity and ensure you never miss a client again. Finding the right software will save you time on the back-and-forth messaging required to plan meetings. Whether you’re trying to arrange a time to catch up with your busy team, or searching for the best way to communicate with your clients, meeting scheduler tools have all bases covered.
Choosing the software to support your business requirements isn’t always easy and the numerous options can be overwhelming. To fully utilise the power of automation it is important to know what you want the software to achieve and what you want it to connect with.
If you are unsure of which one to select, or would like further advice, The System and Software Surgery has been set up to help. During the meeting Louise will find out more about your business and will suggest appropriate software that will help you manage your time, become more efficient and ultimately more profitable.
Saunders&lee.com – the business outsource consultants
P.S. Here are more business tips to master the art of managing a meeting to maximise productivity.