All posts by Max Palmer

How to Plan Your Lawn Care Routine

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Lawn Care

Warmer weather is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you can ditch the winter coat, take a walk, and maybe hit the pool. But, on the other hand, you have sunburns, bugs, and lawn care to worry about now. Here’s how to plan your lawn care routine.

What Kind of Time Constraints Should You Have for Your Lawn Care Routine

With sunburn and bugs, you can apply a spray and go your way. With lawn care, on the other hand, a bit more time investment is required. Grass needs to be mowed, debris needs to be picked up, and weeds will need to be continuously eradicated.

To keep your mowing, fertilizing, and other necessary tasks in order, the best thing you can do is learn to manage your time. Using an online calendar will help you keep your lawn care routine nailed down while optimizing your efforts so you can go back to enjoying the best of what summer has to offer:

Contract Some Assistance

Lawn Care in the summer isn’t always the most fun activity to pursue. Blistering heat and seasonal allergies on top of manual labor are enough to make anyone consider downsizing to a home without a yard. Instead of pushing yourself until the breaking point, consider contracting some assistance to keep your lawn care routine on track.

There is likely a kid or two in your neighborhood willing to mow your lawn once a week or two for $20. That money is well-spent if it means you get to maintain a nice yardwithout needing to leave the air conditioning for too long. Plus, those kids will learn the value of hard work and have to spend money on some fun summer excursions.

Professional contractors will cost more but can be just as helpful. For example, you can enlist a company that does an annual pest control spray on your lawn or takes care of obnoxious weeds. These recurring services are easy to set up and will continue to run until you make a cancellation.

Keep Track of the Weather

The ever-changing weather will really affect how and when you should take care of your lawn. For example, mowing your lawn the day after a rainstorm isn’t always the best idea because wet grass can clog up mower blades. However, the day after a storm might mean that you will have many sticks and leaves strewn about your lawn that need to be picked up and disposed of.

With an online Calendar, you can note essential changes in the weather and how your lawn care routine will be adjusted accordingly. Otherwise, you might be ill-prepared for a sudden change in weather that disrupts your ordinary routine. Being prepared for changes in advance is the best way to maintain normalcy.

The first days of spring are a perfect example of this. Farmers and gardeners need to be aware of those random days that feel like winter in early spring. Keeping track of the weather ahead of time allows them to protect their plants and crops from cold snaps that would otherwise ruin their harvest.

Know Your Plants

Part of lawn care for you might involve caring for various flowers that add some color to your home. Different flowers and plants follow different timelines for their care and growth. For instance, daffodils bloom in March and April, while peonies typically won’t start blooming until May.

If you’re planning on growing daffodils and other early bloomers, your lawn care routine will need to start earlier than usual. You will need to use your calendar to plan accordingly. Tilling the soil, beginning a watering schedule, and clearing out winter debris will need to be done before planting flowers.

If flowers and a garden aren’t in your summer plans, you can let your grass dictate when your lawn care routine needs to begin. Once your lawn looks long enough to clip for the first time, your lawn care routine can officially start.

Record What You Do

A good lawn care routine is developed over time. Each year you can learn a different trick that makes maintaining your property easier and more efficient. If you record what you do with your lawn and garden — and learn new things about its care — your lawn care routine for the following year will be even better.

Online calendars are perfect tools for recording a lawn care routine. You can look at the previous summer to see how often you needed to mow, water, and fertilize your lawn. This will act as a reference for the next year. So lawn care is less of a guessing game and more of a surgical procedure.

You can even keep an eye out for what your neighbors are doing. Your experienced, elderly neighbor may very well have lawn care down to a science. You can learn a lot by asking them about their procedures or trying to emulate their actions and timeline.

Even though it’s hard work, lawn care can be incredibly rewarding. First, you’ll have a home and yard that you can be proud to live in. A good yard can also be the site for memories by hosting events, playing with your children, or even just reading a good book in a lawn chair overlooking your achievements.

Image Credit: Armin Rimoldi; Pexels; Thank you!

How to Plan Your Lawn Care Routine was originally published on Calendar by Max Palmer

How to Boost Your Productivity Game in 2022

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How Boost Productivity Game 2022

If you are one of those people who make New Year’s resolutions, being more productive likely made the list. In fact, it probably makes the list for all people — year after year after year — because productivity can be elusive for all.

Even if you started 2022 with a constructive few months — by April, you may already be waning. The commitment to productivity in your job and personal life may be as unused as your gym membership. “Maybe tomorrow” turns into “maybe next week,” then “maybe next month,” and so on.

Before you allow your good intentions to pave that road to you-know-where, take note. There are ways you can restore that drive for productivity and make it a habit rather than a hope. Don’t just resolve to boost your productivity game in 2022; make it happen.

Establish Some Boundaries

If you don’t set limits on what you do and don’t want to do, you’ll keep landing out of bounds. Deciding what you’re not going to do in 2022 will keep you focused on what you do. Those limits will help you say “no” to wasting time and “yes” to getting things done.

Boundaries are rules used to guide interactions with others. Those interactions could be with family, friends, co-workers, or even the barista at your favorite coffee joint. That means they are personal, professional, and transactional.

You may decide this is the year to not indulge in office gossip. Or perhaps you’ll choose to not run to the bathroom and hide every time that annoying co-worker approaches you. Imagine what you could accomplish just by placing those two activities out of bounds.

Your productivity will rise if you are centered rather than lurking on the periphery. Obviously, you need to set some boundaries to know where they are. But once you do, you can focus on what matters and leave what doesn’t outside the lines.

Breathe Life Into That To-Do List

Now that you’ve set some rules for what you aren’t going to do, make a list of what you are. To-do lists come in all forms and lengths, so begin by deciding what format will work best for you. If you aren’t sure, don’t be afraid to try a few on for size.

Make sure your list doesn’t linger on your desk like the company’s last strategic plan that’s sitting on the shelf. A good list should be consulted and revised every single day, marking items off, and adding new ones. If that isn’t happening, adjust the way you’re doing the list or don’t bother having one.

You can add structure to your list by using your calendar instead of a series of sticky notes. It will force you to think realistically about the time it will take to accomplish a task. Moreover, you’re less likely to overschedule the volume of tasks on a day filled with meetings.

To-do lists may do more harm than good if they overwhelm rather than encourage. If your current method isn’t working, give it some oxygen. Done correctly, your list, (and that strategic plan), should be a living, breathing thing.

Free Up Your Prime Time

Everyone is more productive at some times than others. The time of day, day of the week, or month of the year are all variables. The trick is determining where your productivity sweet spot is and using it to your advantage.

If Monday morning at 11 with two cups of coffee down is your prime time, block it off your calendar. Schedule a task for that time instead, especially one that’s important, on a tight deadline, or difficult. It’s a great opportunity to check off a loitering assignment.

Freeing up those chunks of time when you are most productive also means eliminating corresponding distractions. Close your office door (if you have one) and hang up a “do not disturb” sign. Stick your phone in a drawer and silence those pesky notifications so you aren’t tempted to look.

If you can develop a habit of preserving your most productive times for actual production, even your coworkers will notice. That may help them avoid distracting you despite working in a cubicle or an open office space. You’ll be more than ready for prime time.

Employ Some Tools of the Productivity Trade

Productivity apps have become ubiquitous. They’re all designed to boost productivity at work, at home, among individuals, or teams. In fact, you can skewer your productivity by spending too much time figuring out which ones you want to use.

Nonetheless, if you find an app that makes you more focused, more organized, and more productive, use it. You may find some are handy for everything from working out to whittling down the honey-do list at home. Using productivity apps for more than your job will make you more adept at using them.

Employing apps and productivity hacks for more than one purpose at a time may make you more productive on multiple fronts. For example, kill two birds with one pomodoro technique that you’re using to maintain focus on tasks. During those five-minute breaks, do some squats or sit-ups and get your workout done too.

The fact is that productivity devices don’t work for everyone. But if you haven’t tried any because you don’t think they’re your thing, you should. Any job is always easier if you’re using the right tool to get it done.

Give Your Productivity a Leg Up

Everyone needs a little help sometimes to keep their resolutions going — or to start over. It’s okay to ask for help, stumble a bit, and restart when necessary. Abandoning the attempt to become more productive is the only real failure.

As you focus on your resolve to improve, celebrate your wins, and don’t beat yourself up over the losses. Productivity is, after all, work. Boost yours even a little this year, and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

How to Boost Your Productivity Game in 2022 was originally published on Calendar by Max Palmer.

Image Credit: Olia Danilevich; Pexels; Thank you!

Did We Forget to Give Teams a Remote Working Playbook?

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Did We Forget Give Teams Remote Working Playbook

Imagine you’re a new employee at a time when many people are starting their careers remotely. Where is the remote work playbook? Are employees ready for remote work routines? How do they feel about their remote working routines?

Maybe you felt a little uneasy and didn’t know how to blend in when you started your first job. Perhaps you didn’t know who to ask questions from or seek support — or even how or what to ask, in the first place? After a while, you gained a feel for how things operated in the business you were in and whom you could turn to ask questions within the organization.

Where is the Teams Remote Working Playbook?

Imagine you’re a new employee at a time when many people are starting their careers remotely. Your first coding, writing, or new internship is your job. How do you handle your schedule with college, study, and work? Who’s going to help you navigate this new form of time management? Hopefully, if you are an employer, parent, or mentor you will know how-to guide this new person.

But as a young new employee — how will you understand office culture if you’d never worked?

Interpersonal issues

It’s difficult for first-time remote workers to stay motivated, especially if their boss only occasionally calls but rarely meets them. Their superiors and coworkers aren’t as accessible as they would be if you were in the office each day — or if you had had a relationship in the past (before COVID) as a full-time employee.

Finding the knowledge these new workers need will take more effort and time than has previously been addressed.

Many firm policies, procedures, and onboarding programs provide guidance but lack cultural awareness. New remote employees may be overwhelmed and have questions, but are hesitant to ask. New employees and their employers often believe an individual should resolve matters independently and avoid drawing attention to themselves. Some businesses don’t realize that everything has changed over the last couple of years and new protocols need to be in place.

Changing channels to remote work

Managers should explore daily check-ins with remote new employees.

An onslaught of messages and responsibilities throughout the day may not offer a new hire a sense of belonging. Consider combining emails, phone conversations, video meetings, and online collaboration portals.

Encourage questions and use blunders as learning opportunities. Consider providing a “virtual buddy” who will furnish informal support to your new team member along with virtual coaching. Always think about the career growth of your new employee — and specify possible career routes and milestones. Teaching a career path and the acquired learning helps the new team member feel a ray of hope.

Prescribe working part-time at the office or on the job site if your less experienced employees can accommodate the schedule. One-third of workers aged 18-24 preferred working offsite only one day a week, according to PwC, and only a fifth of those polled agreed.

Onboarding and rapport development are great — but organizational knowledge is likely best shared by more senior teams.

Working it with remote work

As an example, consider the case of Emily who started as an IT apprentice for an international horticultural company during the pandemic. She initially shadowed her mentor online and his calls and team meetings helped her master IT troubleshooting. She spent a few days in the office before Covid-19 forced its closure.

Emily admits she was initially intimidated. “I was afraid I’d make a mistake or remove a file from the company but my team is fantastic. If I have questions, I can easily reach someone remotely.”

Within four months, she was working solo, more confident, and well-versed in the process of helping staff with IT challenges. Emily excels in her work due to her management and team’s support, continual IT studies, and her personal drive to grow.

But this type of achievement may not be shared by others who work remotely for the first time.

Perceptions and Health with remote work

During Covid-19, researchers studied teleworking to see how it influenced employees’ job performance, job happiness, and physical and mental health. The researchers found exciting data. You can find their comments in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

The research plan Implementation was thorough. The main thing that the subjects said helped them to adjust to their new work schedule was how widely people embraced them. Remote work isolation and conflicts with family and work commitments were the main issues that stopped the new team members’ growth and adaptation.

Those new employees who were the best at adjusting were the ones who had prior remote working experience and thus expertise. Those who were starting their first full-time job and had never worked remotely were not as successful.

Recommendations for making remote work less stressful for new hires: Improve teamwork by teaching everyone at the same level and the same time — and supply a mentor.

Helps for the new employee for remote work — especially if they are young

Discuss communication with all coworkers and superiors together. Teach employees how to use databases to manage tasks and address fundamental IT issues.

Include remote workers in the creation of remote work schedules and the schedules of the in-office staff — review remote work initiatives and have your onboarding team help.

Look for “charge agents’” who will mentor and coach new remote workers. Collaborate with other organizations in your network or sector to share best practices.

In terms of mentorship, the trend toward virtual will likely continue even after all employees return to the office. Virtual mentoring can help employees feel valued, acknowledged, and empowered to perform at their best. Some of the practices of the past for office protocol will never be the same again — so get used to and encourage innovation in your teams.

Making your work programs accessible requires learning communities, communities of practice, and staff resource groups. To provide these services remotely was practically unheard of in the past and has been a challenge. But these practices are becoming normalized in many businesses and institutions since the pandemic.

Rewards and recognition in remote work

Consider rewarding and recognizing remote workers who show initiative and inventiveness. Also, explicitly nurture soft skills in new hires by understanding the need for human interaction to develop these talents.

Giving a new employee some early wins can help develop confidence. Let them co-chair a meeting or deliver a topic of interest to the company. Any leadership opportunities you provide will begin to build trust and credibility among the new employees’ peers.

As you work with your new employee or team member — especially if they are at university, or part-time — your scheduling conflicts will become much less common.

Your current new employees will help you rewrite the playbook for your future remote employees.

Take the awkwardness out of the scenario by using Covid-19’s two years of experience to greet new employees from anywhere — and help them become creative and productive.

Did We Forget to Give Teams a Remote Working Playbook? was originally published on Calendar by Max Palmer.

Image Credit: Olia Danilevich; Pexels; Thank you!

 

The Appointment Economy: Customer Engagement

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Appointment Economy Customer Engagement

An appointment economy is emerging to improve consumer engagement, and field experiences as the globe opens up. So take a moment to check your Calendar and get your appointments scheduled and up to date.

An appointment-as-a-service indicates that time is valuable to both parties. Have you ever made a service appointment and been told to maintain a window of several hours open because they couldn’t commit to a time? Ever made an appointment at a hospital just to spend an eternity in the waiting room? Have you ever strolled into a company and wished you could arrange an appointment ahead of time? Or wished you’d scheduled a remote work conference differently?

We’ve all had these inefficiencies that are time-sucks — but you can tighten up your schedule for maximum productivity.

The Appointment Economy — Customer Engagement — and Productivity

Increasingly, clients demand creative, tailored, and time-efficient services due to the epidemic and increased digital penetration. In an “appointment economy,” you may rapidly become a competitive distinction in gaining client connections and loyalty if you’ll maximize your time — and theirs.

The pandemic changed businesses and customers

Customers’ personal and professional life became digital-first because of Covid-19 safety regulations and the fear of illness. People learned to browse and find products using digital applications and gadgets, whether they were purchasing groceries, a meal at a local restaurant, or a new vehicle or house.

A combination of health concerns and physical distance restrictions necessitated the rapid adoption of virtual applications such as remote learning, telemedicine and telehealth, courtroom litigation, insurance claims processing, and more.

Covid-19 changed culture and behavior swiftly along with the advent of digital-first activities came a new kind of client, Generation-N. A new routine and expectation in the experiences — business associates chose inspired new routines and expectations in the first 90 days of pandemic disruption.

Businesses and social contacts demanded services in both physical and digital contact points to be integrated, convenient, intuitive and frictionless, experiential and customized. Maybe you noticed, as we did — Many clients became more impatient and expected results on their timetable.

The order of the day was for firms to speed up digital interaction while introducing new experiences — and most of these constraints had to be done while we worked at home. And now, it seems, customers and clients want businesses to up the scheduling and appointment game even more — or think we can — because we are back at the office.

During the epidemic, businesses began to digitize obsolete procedures and infrastructure quickly.

Now is the time to invest in next-generation experiences, particularly in the new miles of consumer contact. Consumers increasingly find the usual four-hour appointment time inflexible and unappealing, and it’s paving the way for an appointment economy.

Reimagining the Service Path

We are seeing a reimagining of the service path, and this new path puts the digital-first client first. Recent research found that clients regard appointments as a way to save time. As a result, more appointments and scheduling are being made in business than ever before.

Changing your appointment and scheduling protocols

These new scheduling and appointment protocols are an opportunity to redefine field service as a critical personal contact points, boosting engagement and satisfaction among clients.

Digital infrastructure is required to facilitate seamless scheduling, on-site customization, and relevant follow-ups.

In a digital-first era, people prefer face-to-face service. 77 percent of US clients choose in-person appointments with digital alternatives — up from 67 percent in June 2020. So what do analog appointments represent for digital transformation in a world where digital-first is becoming the norm?

That means digital infrastructure from appointment scheduling to on-time engagement to post-service follow-up. In the future, one-third of clients aged 18-44 will choose virtual appointments over in-person meetings. While now a minority, it might be regarded as a sign of the appointment regulation’s future.

Saving time and accelerating results may become more crucial when younger consumers mature and become the market majority.

Customers want appointment-based business transactions and services.

Customers would feel more comfortable visiting a company in person if they could arrange an appointment. But that’s just the start. And what is the inclination of your client?

Eighty-two percent of your clients and customers would prefer to visit a firm with an appointment. It all boils down to action and who you choose to do business with. Over 75% stated they would be more inclined to visit a company in person if they had an appointment.

In the tech industry — we have always had people just drop by the office — and this is many of our clients and customers. But as we get back into the office, we see that nearly all of our clientele and customers prefer an appointment. So keeping everything scheduled requires an uptick in scheduling and for the teammates to pay an additional amount of attention to details of the business day.

Like the attention to detail increases, as people make and keep their appointments appointments — a remarkable thing is occurring — the productivity is up on a significant level.

Personalizing customer experiences draw new consumers and future-proof businesses.

Most customers (78%) feel customized care makes them more inclined to buy. Moreover, this figure will likely rise as AI fuels digital-first experiences.

The surprise to business is that teenagers and those in their twenties are far more likely to agree with the viewpoint of having an appointment. Maybe schools are preparing teenagers better to make and keep appointments. These meetings save consumers time and allow brands to learn about their customers in advance, either by asking questions or by using data like purchase history to give a genuinely tailored experience.

Youth prefer purchasing online and picking up in-store or curbside.

While this isn’t precisely “shopping with an appointment,” it does represent that younger and perhaps more digital-first consumers prefer to buy on their terms — and that often means on a schedule. They prefer screens to aisles and want to pick up their items when they want.

Their time is their most valuable asset — so plan accordingly.

Customers don’t want to give up their convenience, control, and better digital-first experiences as the globe opens up, but it appears our clients and customers won’t go back to normal. It’s clear that time and experiences matter in the appointment economy and businesses must progressively distinguish themselves via field service personalization.

Businesses may utilize appointment-setting to improve field service quality, plan better, employ resources more efficiently, and plan better.

You’ll want to clue your team to up their game in the appointment and scheduling department. We are still in January, and there is no better time in the first quarter. Appreciate the customer’s time and presence and find greater productivity that benefits everybody.

Offering the right experiences at the right time and scale is the hallmark of good business with the right technology. To see how you are doing with these new goals, invest in real-time analytics and scheduling. One of your most significant ways to facilitate digital self-service appointment scheduling, rescheduling, and cancellations are with your Calendar.

How to manage today’s scaled up appointment needs

Automate, self-service, and chatbots to manage today’s needs. Enable human agents to foresee and solve issues and achieve desired results by scaling automated technologies to gather and unify critical client contexts.

Remember that you will want to make experiences part of the unified customer experience, with digital at the center. So move beyond a “how did we do” email or survey and thank consumers for their business.

Video and voicemail messages

Try a video or voicemail message. Use your appointment and economic data to forecast the future. This is a business opportunity to adjust capacity if reservations surge or fall next month so that you schedule with predictability.

The expectations of service have shifted.

The expectations of services have shifted, and you still have to work on experiences and services — your upgrades are here to stay.

Conclusion

Your customers can and should be able to anticipate more convenient scheduling and tailored services both now and in the coming years. Companies that can effortlessly provide value to customers online, curbside, and in-person will succeed in the appointment economy.

Image Credit: Sora Shimazaki; Pexels; Thanks! 

The Appointment Economy: Customer Engagement was originally published on Calendar by .

A Beginner’s Guide to Intuitive Calendar Management

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Calendar Management

Entrepreneurs and business professionals have a lot on their plates. There are forms to sign, meetings to attend, and a work-life balance that’s always teetering on edge. But, while the focus of business is almost always money at the end of the day, the real currency for businesspersons is time. The adage “time is money” is more true today than ever before.

If you can genuinely harness your time, there’s almost nothing you can’t accomplish. However, mastering time management is easier said than done. A lot of effort is required to manage time effectively, as well as a solid desire to structure your life and business with extra precision.

To satisfy the time management needs of every person possible, the calendar in its physical and digital forms was made. By learning better calendar management, you can make huge strides forward in your personal time management. Here is a beginner’s guide to help you get started:

Aim for Purpose and Results

When it comes to time management, everything you do should be intentional. Don’t just fill your calendar for the sake of looking busy. You will find a lot more success by aiming for a specific purpose and focusing on results.

One way to ensure that your scheduling remains intentional is to follow a tried-and-true planning method from a time management expert. For example, the Rapid Planning Method from renowned motivational speaker Tony Robbins is crafted with intentional time management in mind.

Use an Organizational System

Once you have a good idea of how you want to use your calendar to improve time management, you need to keep it nice. If you purchase a three-ring binder but fail to follow an organizational pattern, you’re not going to get much value out of it. However, if you’re utilizing a system by using things such as tabs and dividers, you’ll find the binder to be quite useful.

Your online calendar of choice will have various options and features you can use to stay organized. One of the most common and effective options available is color-coding. This will change how your events appear based on how you want to organize them. For example, you can match work events with your company’s logo to easily differentiate them from the rest of your schedule.

The great thing about online calendars is that they are highly flexible. You can use your own combination of color-coding and organize in a way that works specifically for you. Key points to remember are not doing too much and using a practical and memorable system. Too many colors can be challenging to keep track of.

Take Advantage of Recurring Events

As you’re setting up your calendar, note any repeat events you see. For example, you might have a team huddle every Monday morning or attend a spin class on Friday nights. Instead of manually inputting every single one of these events into your calendar, you can take advantage of recurring events.

When you set a recurring event, it pops up in your calendar at an automatic interval. This can be done for monthly, weekly, or even daily activities. This will save you a lot of time when planning out your schedule, as you don’t have to input the same event over and over again manually. This also will ensure that you never accidentally miss an event because you didn’t happen to add it to your calendar once.

Recurring events are also helpful for scheduling routines. You don’t always need to put a morning routine into your calendar, but doing so for a few weeks can help you adapt to a new schedule. For instance, if you’re moving from day shifts to night shifts, you might want to plan out the specifics in your calendar with recurring events until you’re used to the new schedule.

Learn How to Batch

At this point, you should have most of your calendar squared away. You can now start working on fine-tuning your calendar to make it work even better for you. One such thing you can learn to tune up your calendar is how to batch tasks. This will condense your calendar, making it appear less cluttered while still getting just as much done.

Most people batch tasks by starting with a to-do list. This is separate from the schedule that ends up in their calendar. Once you create a to-do list, you can organize each task by function and priority. This will give you batches of tasks that can be added to larger time blocks in your calendar instead of individual pieces that have you bouncing all over the place.

Don’t Forget Buffer Time

If you’re still concerned about how to fit everything into your busy schedule without overlapping, be sure not to forget about buffer time. Adding buffer time to all of your events can be a daily life saver. More often than not, you’ll be glad you included buffer time even if you didn’t need it.

Always leave some amount of time in between your meetings and events. For example, if you have back-to-back meetings, you might try and schedule them on the hour to fit them nicely into your calendar. Including 15 minutes of buffer time in between meetings will protect you if one meeting happens to run long and threatens to make you late for the next.

If you don’t need to use the buffer time, you can always have a backup plan for how you can use that time. For example, you can do some bonus prep as you move on to your next meeting, take care of some emails, or outline your next blog post. Of course, none of these tasks are urgent, but you might as well take advantage of any opportunities you find.

Who knew that something as simple as a Calendar could be used for so much. Simply using a calendar regularly is already a step in the right direction. Add these details along the way, and time management will begin to come naturally to you, and there won’t be anything you can’t achieve.

Image Credit: cottonbro; Pexels; Thank you! 

The 13 Most Accessible Calendar Apps of 2022

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Accessible Calendar Apps

Is staying organized on your list of goals for the coming year? If so, it is essential to choose a time management app that offers the proper functionality for your needs.

Here are the topmost accessible calendar apps of 2022:

1. Calendar App

The Calendar App is unique in that it utilizes machine learning to help improve your productivity. For example, you can send a link to a colleague, and they can pick the best time for your next meeting without any additional correspondence. It also includes time tracking features, time zone availability, and more. What else makes this one of the best accessible calendar apps? You can analyze your schedule to see how your day is broken up by task type.

2. Google Calendar

There’s a reason why Google Calendar is trusted by millions of people around the globe. This robust program easily syncs across multiple devices, making it easy to track your entire day in one spot. Plus, it integrates with thousands of other apps, programs, and time tracking tools to really give you optimum productivity. It is also free.

3. Apple Calendar

Those who generally tend to lean towards Mac and iOS devices should consider Apple Calendar. Included as part of the iCloud platform, it comes automatically installed and integrates with your Apple Watch. Sadly, there is no Windows or Android option, but that isn’t a big deal for some people.

4. Outlook Calendar

If you’re familiar with Microsoft Office, then you’ll probably enjoy using Outlook Calendar. This product is automatically installed on Windows devices, but a separate iOS app and Mac program are available.

5. Calendly

Those who have clients regularly self-scheduling meetings or calls should consider Calendly. This app integrates with many other programs, including Zapier, Salesforce, Stripe, Zoom, and others. The app also integrates with your website, making it simple for customers or clients to set their own appointments within the structured time blocks you’ve set.

6. My Study Life

Students have a lot to keep track of during the week. Unfortunately, general calendar apps aren’t always as useful as they could be for improved productivity. Instead, My Study Life makes it simple to track class schedules, assignments, lectures, and more. As one of the few student planner apps on the market, it’s worth checking out.

7. Trello

While Trello itself isn’t precisely a calendar app, it does make it possible to see projects visually on a Kanban board. These digital cards allow you to easily see what’s due on a project and what state each step is in. Additionally, you can sync it to your existing Google, Apple, or Outlook calendar. This is especially handy as a tool for teams or those looking to increase productivity for specific projects.

8. Any.do

Those interested in a task management app that offers robust functionality should check out Any.do. More than just a calendar, it provides ways for you to balance your personal and business lives by offering task lists, grocery lists, trackers, and more. This is a good blend for balancing personal and business tasks during the week.

9. Cozi

If you’re looking for a family-friendly calendar program, then you’ll like Cozi. Designed as a lifestyle planner, the program is designed for users of all ages to keep track of household necessary tasks, events, and outings. Additionally, the easy-to-use interface is simple and effective for just about anyone to use.

10. OurHome

Families with little ones will adore the OurHome app. This calendar tool works great for adults, while a unique chore tracker makes checking off tasks fun for the kids. Best of all, it is available for both Android and iOS devices.

11. TeamUp

Managing groups of people is much easier with an app like TeamUp. This calendar program is specifically designed to keep individuals organized with what’s going on. Best of all, it is free for small groups, too.

12. Float

If you like visual planners, you’ll want to check out Float. Designed specifically for teams, it makes it simple to see where each person is on an individual project and what they have going on for a specific day. Additionally, you can log hours to ensure billing meets up with invoicing, payroll, etc.

13. Plan

It’s always a beautiful thing when project management and calendar apps come together. Plan allows you to assign tasks, check status, and work directly with your team to complete tasks. Additionally, it offers quite a bit of integration with other tools like Google Mail, Outlook, Github, Google Drive, and others.

Top Calendar Apps of 2022

Now that we’ve discussed the thirteen most accessible calendar apps, it is time to try them out for yourself. It might be hard to narrow it down to your favorite with so many features and integrations.

Here’s to a productive and stress-free coming year!

Image Credit: George Pak; Pexels; Thank you!

5 Ideas for Staying Busy During the Slow Season

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Ideas for Staying Busy During the Slow Season

For many businesses, the winter months tend to slow down considerably. Unfortunately, a slower season is a reality for those businesses who depend on seasonal tourism in the summer months — or reduced activity due to colder weather, among other things. During this time, the challenge for business owners is finding ways to keep themselves and their employees busy until things pick up again.

If your business has started to slow down and you want to keep productivity high, there’s no need to fret. This list will help get your gears turning as you fill your Calendar with meaningful activities that will boost your business even during a slow season:

1. Start a Deep Clean

Sometimes your business is just too busy to put together a proper spring cleaning. With that being said, now is the perfect time to start a deep clean while you have the time. A clean business space leaves a good impression on customers and creates a better workspace for all employees.

Start by making a list of all the deep cleaning needs to be done. Year-round you’re staying on top of basic cleanings like taking out the trash and vacuuming, but now that there are fewer customers to take care of, it’s time to put in a little extra elbow grease. Carpet cleaning, painting, and digging through old files to see what can be shredded are all examples of deep cleaning activities you can add to your to-do list.

Once you have a list of tasks, use your Calendar to schedule appropriate times to tackle your list. For example, you can schedule times for cleaning between meetings and appointments, or designate the closing hours of each shift for some deep cleaning.

2. Dive Into Your Data

All year you’ve been gathering data. If you haven’t, you’re really missing out on the benefits of data and should start doing so immediately. Assuming you have some data to work with, now is as good a time as any to do some thorough analysis to see how it can improve your business during the upcoming year.

Take a look at all of your data from the past year. This will include sales data, customer data, as well as marketing numbers, and statistics. Can you spot any trend lines that might be of importance? Then, you can use data patterns to try and repeat your success in the coming year.

For example, data gathered from your website might show you that most of your site traffic occurs after five P.M. You can use this information to alter your marketing strategy so that your ads are pushed harder in the afternoon than in the morning. If the data holds true, this should lead to an even more significant increase in traffic and sales growth.

3. Experiment With Something New

If your busiest time of year is the summer, as is familiar with many industries, there isn’t much time to experiment with new things. All of your time and attention is focused on taking care of all the customers lining out your door or flooding your website. However, during a slow season, there’s more wiggle room for trial and error and taking a careful approach to a new experiment.

Let’s say you’ve been wanting to try using video as a marketing tool. There simply isn’t the time to plan out and produce videos for your business during the busy season. This is the perfect time to try out video production now that you’re able. You can even stock up on content to release over the course of the year. Having videos to post during the summer could pay off handsomely for your business.

An off-season or slow season is also a great time to do some product development, try new marketing platforms, or experiment with a new vendor. If things don’t go your way, you have time before the busy season starts to get realigned.

4. Focus on Training

You can fill your employees’ extra downtime with some quality training. Training is never a mistake and will up your business game by better equipping them for when business picks up again and help them feel more capable for any challenge they will face. In many cases, employees won’t pursue this training independently, so take advantage of this time to give them a lift.

Every industry could do with some customer service training. Look up some courses online or look into adding a seminar into your Calendar with a certified instructor. Of course, industry-specific training will always be a good idea, so look into options that fit your organization as well.

Other general training like marketing, writing, and public speaking will also be beneficial. This training will also prepare your employees to take more significant roles within your company or elsewhere. Finally, employees that leave for greener pastures are sure to leave a good word behind in gratitude for your assistance.

5. Run a Promotion

If you really want your off-season productivity to bring in revenue, try and run a special promotion. The holiday season is chock-full of opportunities for promos, such as Black Friday deals, Christmas events, and even a New Year’s special. A great deal can bring in extra customers in an otherwise slow-paced season.

Get creative with the promotions you run. Since business is slow, you can put a little extra effort into the promotions you put together. Just make sure your team is prepared for things to pick up the pace all of a sudden once a promotion is launched.

Just because you’re in a slow season doesn’t mean it has to be a slog. Filling up your Calendar with these activities will ensure you’re staying just as productive as you always do, even if it’s a different way than usual.

How to Power Calendar Your Meetings

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How to Power Calendar Your Meetings

Being a leader typically means giving time to your team. But, what is the right amount of time? As businesses grow, they develop a system for keeping schedules (mostly) organized. Here are some helpful tips to ensure that your time stays in order.

Use your calendar as a time-saving and efficiency tool. These suggestions will help you keep an edge while working smart.

1. Don’t hold meetings on a specific day.

Create a company policy that says, “No meeting on Wednesdays.”It’s the day everyone puts up their feet and daydreams. With no interruptions, it’s much simpler to maintain the workflow. Try it; you’ll love it!

2. Let your team plan brainstorming sessions, updates, and meetings. Allow them to do their own scheduling. Your teams can do all their own planning and execution on the actual presentations. Just give them the lead and see what happens. You’ll notice they become more fully vested in the meetings. Your team may need a quarterly meeting to plan when to meet during the quarter.

3. Have the Team Lead check that everyone is prepared.

See to it that everyone is prepared. For example, if you plan to use audiovisual equipment, ensure that your tech staff has all the equipment set up before time. If you are able, conduct a test run-through before the event to ensure that everything is “ship shape and Bristol fashion.”

A quick run-through is especially important when presenting a PowerPoint or when using video-conferencing software such as Zoom for the first time. Make sure that everyone on your team is familiar with all new equipment and tools. Have regular pieces of training.

4. Create an agenda.

Meetings that produce the best results begin with an agenda and a clearly defined objective. If you’re trying to establish the plan for your meetings — confirm the appointment of an employee, or simply exchange ideas — describing the goal of the meeting can help set the expectations of all participants.

5. Follow the guidelines.

Allow time for an open stream of thought, but make sure everyone realizes that time is money and that your meeting sticks to an exact time schedule.

Keeping on an exact schedule for your meetings (and everything else) holds the entire team responsible for intelligent time management. No one should have to delegate the responsibility for managing time — everyone present should be present, engaged, and eager to display the ability to optimize everyone’s time.

6. Track your time.

Break your meeting times into 30-minute blocks. Ask the question: do you really need a full half-hour to hold your conference, or can it be done in just 15 minutes? It’s astonishing how much your team could achieve when everyone is time-sensitive. Have a clock on the wall — fully visible at the time of the meeting and in any meeting room. Clocks make everyone more aware that time marches forward.

7. Plan meetings in blocks.

If you can, schedule your meetings in blocks. It doesn’t matter if your meetings are in the morning or in the afternoon — using a time-blocking schedule will allow for a smoother operation.

Meetings are not the goal. It’s the actions that come from the meetings that are essential. One word of caution: with longer meetings, do not forget to schedule an interval of 15 minutes during your meeting block so you can take care of “nature’s call” and tummy treats.

Employees will want a drink of water or take a bathroom break and grab a quick healthy, and nutritious snack during the meeting. Having snacks available in the meeting room sometimes cuts down on needed break time.

8. Audits are held at the close of every quarter.

In the first week of every quarter, look over your regular gatherings and consider if it is appropriate to keep the meeting in the future? Should they be regularly scheduled, or is it possible to move to a biweekly, perhaps even an annual one?

Repetitive meetings can quickly take over your schedule. For instance, at the beginning of each Calendar Quarter, some companies eliminate all scheduled events from Calendars and start making a new Calendar.

9. Simply tell them “no.”

Be aware of the fact that time and energy are entirely yours to regulate. You have the option of saying “no” when you are asked to use your time. It’s quite a powerful practice. It’s crucial to are taking the time to review strategies, prioritize and ensure that your business is moving in the proper direction.

As leaders, our responsibility is to support our teams and convey the results to our managers. A vital aspect of a manager’s job is to present themselves as confident and enthusiastic. It’s challenging to stay confident and move forward in your business when you’re trapped in a void of meetings which only create more meetings.

Don’t have your company meetings only to decide not to continue to have meetings. Ensure that every meeting counts and that your team is all on board to get your work done. Then intersperse group meetings with one-on-one and face-to-face meets to keep your team rotations fresh, efficient, and valuable information exchanges.

9 Best Life Hack Sites That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

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Best Life Hack Sites That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

Everyone is looking to make the most out of their time these days and one of the best ways is through life hacks. People are so passionate about these that there are several sites available that document and provide useful pointers on life hacks.

Below I’ve compiled a short list of some of the best sites that can supercharge your productivity if you apply the lessons they offer.

1. Lifehack

As the name suggests, Lifehack is loaded with all kinds of practical tips to help you “hack” your life. It doesn’t just focus on productivity but also tried and true methods including the Full Life Framework to enhance relationships, improve health, and help you live a balanced, fulfilling and successful life.

What’s also nice about this site is unlike others, the design of the site makes it easier to read. It’s comforting and convenient, making it one of the best life hack sites around!

2. Digital Inspiration

Digital Inspiration houses all kinds of helpful – and inspiring – things that are in the tech world. They cover things like website tools, blogging, tech news, computer help, provide online guides and much more. Their premise is to provide you with digital inspiration and practical tips to solve problems that we could run into when doing those things. It’s all around a handy site.

3. MakeUseOf

A self-explanatory name for the site, MakeUseOf is about leveraging items that enhance your productivity. Where it differs from other life hack sites is that it focuses on digital productivity.

We all use digital products in our lives. Being suggested other digital gear or getting tips on technology can help us. Especially if they all help us in being more productive than before.

4. Productivity501

Productivity501 exists to remind us that there are different kinds of productivity. Yes, all productivity works towards the same purpose – results, comfort, and happiness. However, this site breaks down and shows how even the simplest of tasks can be done in a more productive way.

For example, one productivity trope that’s used often is how we can be doing more by simply doing more. Productivity501 provides gentle reminders how things like learning how to prioritize tasks is a much better way to get things done rather than trying to do everything all at once.

5. Dumb Little Man: Tips For Life

Immediately with the name it’s intriguing. The last thing you’d expect is for DumbLittleMan to be another one of the best life hack sites around. But it’s the truth. It’s overflowing with smartness and several useful tips on life.

Even though the site focuses on general happiness, success, and wealth, it’s still a good productivity site. The advice that it offers is short and to the point about what you need to know. It’s not rambling on for minutes about what are the best strategies. This gives you more time to go and apply the things they mention so you can see the results for yourself.

6. HowStuffWorks

As the name suggests, HowStuffWorks is able to cover a wide array of things and explain how it all works. How this ties into productivity is simple. In order to make the most out of certain tactics, it helps to know how things work. Everything from beef jerky to how we are specifically impacting climate change, understanding how these things work allows us to better address those issues.

Paired with the fact the site covers things like adventure, auto, lifestyle, science, tech, culture and many more, it’s a site that comes in handy if you want to figure out how stuff works.

7. How-To Geek

Being a geek these days isn’t that big of a problem compared to what it was like a few decades ago. At this point, most people have embraced this lifestyle, though haven’t leveraged it. Case and point: How-To Geek is a site created by geeks for geeks that share all kinds of useful tidbits of information like how VPNs work or how to number or label equations in Microsoft Word.

While it’s a tech magazine first and foremost, a geek lifestyle is something more than being interested in technology or gaming as this site suggests.

8. Gizmodo

This site has been recommended many times over from all kinds of other productivity sites so naturally this site makes the list. Gizmodo focuses on technology with more emphasis on gadgets and devices as well as overall technology.

If you’re looking for insider tips on coping with technology today and leveraging it, check out the site.

9. AddictiveTips

The last of the best life hack sites to show off is AddictiveTips. This is not just another tech blog, this site leans more towards free and simple solutions to everyday problems. For example, the site talks about shortcuts in Gmail and what torrent sites are still working.

On top of that, the tips and tricks they mention are true to their name in that they’re highly addictive. They’re addictive due to their simple application and makes you feel like you should be doing these for the rest of your life. There is a surprising number of tips mentioned in the site that can be applied to the world at large.

Final Thoughts

The best life hack sites around are meant to make our lives easier and these sites do live up to that expectation. They cover a wide array of topics and the advice and tips offered are simple to apply and quick to read through and uncover.

If you have some downtime and want to make the most of it, check out any of these sites and see what they have to say about certain aspects.

Best Types of Apps for Business Travelers

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Best Types of Apps for Business Travelers

Numerous work capacities require a lot of annual travel. Some occupations travel for a living, such as hotel inspectors that need to hit multiple cities throughout the year. Entrepreneurs and business owners might travel to each of their companies or meetings with other business leaders in their industry.

The average business traveler takes almost seven trips a year. That’s the equivalent of jumping on a flight at least every other month. Therefore, taking advantage of travel time is crucial to making the most of all of these trips.

Being equipped with the right software makes traveling so much easier and more effective. The following list will detail the six most valuable types of apps business travelers should have downloaded for every trip:

Time Management

Time is a businessperson’s most valuable asset. Managing your time on a trip is just as important, especially if you’re juggling a heavy meeting schedule with a business back at home. That’s why a time management app should be your highest priority to download.

Of course, Calendar is an excellent option for all the business travelers out there. Time zone recognition seamlessly moves all of your appointments and reminders to your geographic location. Your team can also see your schedule, so they know when they are able to contact you in between travel commitments.

Using Calendar will also help you stick with good routines even while on the road. Keeping up with morning and evening routines can be difficult without a Calendar schedule to give you some needed structure.

Sleep and Meditation

When you’re on the road, sleep can sometimes be elusive. However, that doesn’t make it any less important, so you need to do what you can to get enough rest each night. An app that helps you fall asleep can do just the trick.

Sleep apps use white noise or guided instructions to help you wind down for the night, even in a strange hotel or in a different time zone. These apps also have guided meditation to relax and focus before a big meeting or for nervous fliers.

Your smartphone might even have a built-in app for monitoring your sleep. While this might not be as useful for ensuring that you get good rest, it can help you evaluate your sleep and if you need to make any changes to your routine.

Communication

Let’s say you’re taking an international business trip where your cell phone service coverage is sketchy and doesn’t reach you. So how do you stay in touch with family, friends, and coworkers? A simple communication app will fix all of your problems.

WhatsApp is an excellent example of a communication app you can download for an international trip. It can work off of a Wi-Fi connection alone, meaning you can send texts and make calls without the need for a cell phone connection.

Most social media apps also have communication features, such as Facebook Messenger. For example, you can send messages back home to friends and family quickly this way.

Fitness and Exercise

Getting your daily exercise is essential even on the road. An exercise app can help you put together workouts and commit to exercise even without access to your local gym or home equipment. You might even be able to find a workout routine that you can do in your hotel room without any equipment.

An app such as MyFitnessPal will also help you keep track of what you eat. A balanced diet is another essential aspect of health and fitness, and one where you might lose control throughout a trip. Keeping an app on hand will help you stay conscious of your health goals and actively pursue them.

Project Management

When the cat is away, the mice will play. This saying is a common phrase used to describe a work setting when the boss is out of the office. Without direct supervision, workers are more likely to slack off and kick their feet up. Of course, this is just human nature, but it’s not what a manager wants to see when they’re away on a trip.

Entrepreneurs and corporate leaders often turn to project management software to ensure that work is still getting done. These programs allow managers to assign tasks in great detail over a long period of time. The boss can even send notifications while they’re in a different city.

Most project management software has a mobile app that allows leaders to guide even from afar. In addition, you can download programs such as ClickUp or Slack to your smartphone or tablet to check in from time to time and keep things running smoothly.

Ridesharing

Most business travelers will choose ridesharing over renting a car. Ridesharing is less expensive, especially if you don’t need to drive around much. Having your rideshare app ready to go ensures you get where you need to go at the exact time you need.

Uber and Lyft are the two big ridesharing companies right now. You can easily download both apps to compare prices and availability in the area you have traveled to. This way, you know you’re getting the best rate and the quickest service no matter where you are.

Open up your smartphone and take inventory of the apps you have. Then, start downloading everything you might need for your next trip and give them a try. After some trial and error, you’ll have the ideal digital suite for all of your traveling needs.

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