Category Archives: Scheduling

5 Mishaps Businesses Can Avoid By Using Scheduling Software

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Scheduling Software

There are a lot of bumps in the road that businesses travel every day. It could be a difficult customer interaction, an invoice that hasn’t been paid, or even an internet outage. More often than not, however, the mishaps businesses can encounter have to do with time management.

If you learn to master your time, you can avoid dozens of unfortunate circumstances every week. Time management is harder than it seems, but there are solutions at your disposal that can make everything easier. Scheduling software is one of the best tools you can add to your business operations.

Below we discuss five common problems that businesses regularly deal with. We also explore how scheduling software can provide instant relief when they face future problems of the same variety.

1. Appointment Overbooking

The first mishap is one you’re likely familiar with: appointment overbooking. This can be an honest mistake that occurs when the time of appointments is noted down incorrectly by an employee with good intentions. Even so, that mistake can snowball into a logistical mess for an appointment-based business and its customers.

Scheduling software makes it nigh well impossible to overbook appointments. The program will simply stop you from booking two appointments in the same time slot. This acts as an effective safety net on occasions when a busy workday causes you to accidentally overlook future scheduled appointments.

2. Late Starts and Delays

Few things will frustrate your clientele more than arriving on time to their appointment only to be faced with a delayed appointment. Sometimes this occurs due to circumstances out of your control. However, you should do everything you can to make sure every appointment starts on time.

One way this can be accomplished is by including buffer time in between bookings. You can set this up with your scheduling software. Appointments will only be able to be booked based on the parameters you set. A 15-minute buffer in between bookings gives you a little wiggle room to work around late arrivals, chattier-than-average customers, and other complications.

3. No-Shows and Late Arrivals

Speaking of late arrivals, not all of your customers will arrive to their appointments on time. While you might feel like there’s nothing you can do to prevent this, you’d actually be mistaken. Scheduling software has a few tricks up its sleeves that can get your customers to keep a tighter schedule.

One such trick is the use of appointment reminders. Well-timed and well-written reminders ensure that appointment times aren’t forgotten and are more accurately kept. This process can be automated and easily adjusted through scheduling software. You can send reminders to email inboxes, cell phones, or even through a company app.

This will also help with those pesky no-shows. While a no-show appointment doesn’t jumble up your schedule like a late arrival, no-shows can cost your business time and money. Those same appointment reminders will help keep customers accountable to their commitments or at least give them ample time to cancel or adjust their bookings.

4. Employee Scheduling Errors

Scheduling software isn’t just useful for appointments. This tool will also come in handy for managing your employees. Especially in a larger organization, avoiding scheduling errors with your employees will save you a lot of headaches.

Using scheduling software, you can lay out the exact shifts for every single employee. This will include your full-time employees, part-time workers, and even any contractors you have enlisted for specific projects. You’ll have a detailed overview of every workweek that employees can also easily access to view their own shifts.

Better yet, scheduling software makes asking for time off or switching shifts with others easier for your employees. When a team member takes time off, it no longer needs to be an ordeal that has your entire staff scrambling to make the arrangements work.

5. Meeting Mishaps

One last note on managing your team involves scheduling and executing team meetings. More often than not, companies waste time and money by holding meetings that are too frequent, inefficient, unnecessary, or a combination of all three. Master your meeting planning by using scheduling software.

With this software at your fingertips, you can see just how far apart your meetings are spaced and when the best time to schedule your next one will be. You will also have access to employee schedules to get the timing down just right.

Last but not least, scheduling software will help keep your meetings concise. You can use the software to ensure that meetings don’t run too long and that they have been sufficiently planned. The reminder feature may come in handy here as well.

The difference you’ll see in your business before and after adding scheduling software will be massive. Now is the perfect time to add this tool to your arsenal to improve your company’s efficiency and your customers’ satisfaction.

Image Credit: Energepic.com; Pexels; Thank you!

Get It Together – Ways to Use Google Calendar for Remote Teams

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google calendar

Remote teams can take advantage of online calendars such as Google Calendar to better manage their time. If there was a way to keep your team on track and improve their focus, wouldn’t you give it a try?

Google Calendar has several great features that remote teams can utilize to stay organized and plan ahead. Additionally, it can increase your team’s productivity and help with collaboration.

When your remote team has the tools to work as efficiently as possible, you instantly notice results. Google Calendar is one of the most popular and accessible calendars available for teams worldwide.

In this guide, we will show you several ways you can empower your team by using Google Calendar. This includes using features such as appointment slots for better scheduling. You can also create an advanced search to help you track down any specific event on-demand.

Let’s dive in and explore how Google Calendar can help your remote team thrive.

Empower Your Remote Team with Google Calendar

To thrive, remote teams need to be equipped with the right tools. After all, remote work wouldn’t even be possible without the technology we have today.

It’s time to step back and consider which tools you’ve given your remote teams to date. For example, do they have a reliable planning tool like Google Calendar? What collaboration tools are they using most frequently? By understanding their needs, you’ll be able to help them move forward.

In the sections below, we’ll explore Google Calendar’s best features for remote work. You’ll learn how each of these features can benefit your team and what their best use cases are. Let’s begin!

Set up appointment slots

Appointment slots are a powerful Google Calendar feature that lets you block off specific periods for appointments. Instead of having someone send you a meeting invite and accept, these time slots make things much easier.

When you create appointment slots on your calendar, these become “reservable” blocks of time. Anyone who has access to these slots will be able to book a time to meet with you.

This has been used by professors looking to create reservable office hours for their students. It’s a great way to let others know your availability each day and allow them to choose a time.

Appointment slots were created as a way to offer teams maximum flexibility with their schedules. Instead of being required to schedule events wherever they “seemed” to fit, it provides a better solution. Your team can see the exact blocks they can reserve, take action and reserve them, or ask for time modifications.

If your team hasn’t been using appointment slots up to this point, let them know it exists. This excellent Google Calendar feature gives you a good amount of time flexibility.

Use calendar meeting rooms

While remote work is gaining in popularity, hybrid work is also increasing. A hybrid employee is defined as someone who works several days in the office and the remainder remote.

If your team is only remote a fraction of the time, setting up calendar meeting rooms may be worth setting up. This feature in Google Calendar lets your organization create and label meeting rooms. Every room you create can then be added to calendar events and meetings and is shown to all participants.

Based on who you invite to an event or meeting, Google Calendar will help you choose which room fits best. This is established on the data you’ve provided about each member of your team.

Find anything with advanced search

Google Calendar’s advanced search functionality makes it easy to find any event or meeting. If you’ve never used this search feature before, it can be accessed from the magnifying glass. Once you click on the magnifying glass, a menu will drop down with multiple parameters.

Based on what you’re trying to find, enter the appropriate search parameter and wait for your results. For example, even if you’re trying to find a meeting years ago, if the record still exists, Google Calendar should find it.

This is a feature your remote team should consistently use to find past communications quickly. We see duplicate efforts being completed fairly frequently, meaning someone did additional work. You can save both time and money with your remote team by teaching them to use advanced search effectively.

Online and offline notifications

When team members are working remotely, it’s essential to know when each of their coworkers is available. This is made remarkably easy with Google Calendar and the Google Suite of tools.

Whenever a member of your organization is online, they show up as available. This lets other team members know they can finally reach out and ask a question.

When somebody is busy in a meeting or away from their computer, an appropriate status will be shown. If you want your remote team to be as effective as possible, don’t forget to enable online/offline notifications.

While it may not seem like a big deal at first, remote teams can have trouble communicating effectively. If you’ve just recently put together your remote team and begin to run into issues, these notifications help facilitate communication. There’s no faster way to save time and get your questions answered straight away than making the most of notifications.

Zoom out with a year view

Most of your planning will be done on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, but not an entire year. Has your team ever sat down and planned an entire year ahead, time blocking important events and activities?

Google Calendar features a year-long view of calendar events, helping you see where you spent your time the most. You’ll also be able to look further ahead and make better decisions based on how projections change into the future. If a holiday or critical event is coming up, you’ll have everything you need to plan around such events with sufficient time.

Your remote team should understand your company’s vision and the value your company is providing by the year-long view. Scheduling events in this manner ensures nothing gets missed and makes sure you plan around major holidays far in advance.

Concluding Thoughts

Google Calendar can be an excellent tool for remote teams, improving both their productivity and efficiency. If you have a team that needs to collaborate and work together, ensure you give them the right tools.

We’ve walked through several ways to use Google Calendar within a remote team for maximum effectiveness. This includes setting up appointment slots, where anyone interested can schedule a time to meet or chat.

We discussed using the meeting rooms available in Google Calendar for ease and simplicity. Additional features were the advanced search function, enabling online and offline notifications, and zoom out to a year view.

All in all, Google Calendar is an excellent tool for remote teams to utilize to maximize effectiveness. It can help remote workers become more efficient and improve productivity substantially over the long run.

Image Credit: Caio; Pexels; Thank you!

Get It Together – Ways to Use Google Calendar for Remote Teams was originally published on Calendar by .

How to Marie Kondo Your Schedule (or Work Life)

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How To Marie Kondo Your Schedule

Marie Kondo is a master of organization. She began a tidying consultant business as a 19-year-old student and has since become an author and TV show host. She is now heralded as a master of tidiness and organization and is an individual who many look up to when trying to get their messy lives back on track. While much of Kondo’s advice is for tidying up your physical space, she can teach you a lot about tidying up your schedule and your time management.

By taking her decluttering approach to your schedule, you will be less stressed and have more free time. Here are just some of the ways you can channel your inner Marie Kondo to take control of your daily schedule:

Combine Your Calendars

Your schedule consists of many different parts. There’s your work schedule that contains your weekly shifts, team meetings, and project deadlines. A family schedule reminds you of all of your kids’ after-school events and homework due dates. Finally, you have a personal schedule for pursuing hobbies and tending to certain responsibilities, such as bills and dentist appointments.

Managing all of these calendars separately can be exhausting. Instead of clicking through multiple calendars trying to get through every day, try combining them into a single schedule. Most online calendars have this function, allowing you to combine your separate schedules and even share them with others.

Once you’ve combined your calendars, all you need is a proper organizational method to keep everything tidy. This could be as simple as color-coding your events based on different criteria. For example, all of your work events could be labeled in red so that at a quick glance you know exactly what’s going on at work that day.

Prioritize Your Task List

Some tasks need to take higher priority than others. Subconsciously, it can be difficult to remember which items on your task list should be labeled as higher priority. If you haven’t made a priority list before starting your day, you can get caught up in the menial tasks that get in the way of completing meaningful work.

Start by writing down your entire daily or weekly task list. Next, start marking the tasks that have urgent due dates or can’t be delayed. Other parameters you can use include the amount of time required to complete each task and whether certain events rely on another person.

Once you’ve done this, you can lay out your schedule more effectively. Low-priority tasks can take a back seat to the items that made the top of your list. This can help you cut down on the busywork and focus on the tasks that really matter.

Learn to Say No

A big part of Kondo’s philosophy is learning to let go of certain things. Clutter builds up when we are unable to discard certain items or clear our space of the things that hold little value. You can bring this same mentality to your schedule by learning when you should say “no” to certain events and commitments.

Sometimes you need to decline an invitation to a meeting that you know you won’t benefit from. You can say no to certain tasks that aren’t your responsibility rather than forcing you to pick up others’ slack. And you can even learn to say no to certain bad habits, such as sleeping in or going out to eat for lunch every day.

By saying no every once in a while, you can free up your schedule a little bit. This will give you more time to focus on the most important things in your life rather than letting a jam-packed schedule stress you out.

Let Automation Do the Work

Any time there’s the possibility of automating your schedule, you should look into it. By automating simple tasks, you can save time for the things that really matter.

An example of automated schedules is scheduling links. These links display your availability to others. For example, a client of yours can look at your scheduling link to see when you might be free for a phone call. They can book a time with you straight through the link, automatically filling your schedule with important events.

Another thing you can do is add recurring events to your calendar. These events will cycle through your calendar on a designated loop. You won’t have to constantly add events to your schedule, and you’ll always receive the reminders you need for each event.

Time management requires discipline and a concentrated effort over time. However, it certainly helps to have people like Marie Kondo to learn from. Take advantage of the tips above to seize control of your life through more effective time management.

Image Credit: Energepic.com; Pexels; Thank you!

Why You Should Use Scheduling Software

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Why Should Use Scheduling Software

Using scheduling software improves time management. But not everyone is making use of this new technology. When you don’t utilize your time management software — it’s similar to having a new Ferrari, but driving it barely five miles under the speed limit.

To unlock a sports car’s ultimate speed, you must understand its engine. You must learn software advantages and how to leverage the power it has to boost your productivity. You’re only getting surface value for your software if you’ve looked at it solely like the Ferrari above — and only been interested in the paint and leather seats. Change how you think about your scheduling software.

Anticipate What Your Software Can Do for Productivity

Living in the moment is exciting but not very productive when you’re thinking about software. So you need to plan if you want to maximize your time using the software. Ask any industry leader or successful entrepreneur how much planning goes into their daily lives — and the same goes with using a piece of software.

You should plan daily, weekly, and monthly by changing your schedule program’s perspective. Above all, with daily planning, you may schedule challenging tasks at times when you know you are more productive. For example, plan all meetings and deadlines weekly. Monthly planning allows you to review your own KPIs and prepare for a more productive month. Meanwhile, your scheduling software lets you and others cooperate and plan together when you all have open times.

Leaders must juggle several jobs, duties, and deadlines. Your scheduling software will also assist in decreasing manager-team misunderstanding and miscommunication. For example, X’s new blog post is due tomorrow morning, with editing by an in-house editor at the end of the day — is that on the editing schedule? You need to have a spot to manage your team’s metrics for your scheduling software. He says the metrics help team leads and managers plan their time for each development cycle.

Personal-Professional Balance

Even if your profession is vital to your lifestyle, your family and yourself should always come first. According to a Deloitte study,  organizations that promote work-life balance see double the employee productivity. Therefore, the most excellent scheduling software encourages work-life balance.

Set aside time for family. Schedule dates with your spouse and your children’s athletic events and recitals. These events should be non-negotiable, and you may arrange them using the same tools you use for your business.

The balance between work and life is much easier to accomplish. Use scheduling strategies that help you maximize your productivity while on the clock. For example, the Pomodoro technique divides work into little blocks with brief pauses in between. Using this scheduling strategy will help you focus better during the day, do more things in less time, and take less work home.

Color Coding for Geeks — Great at-a-Glance Scheduling

A unique color-coding system helps you to comprehend your itinerary quickly. Each item on your timetable can be assigned a different color. Red can be used to highlight important client meetings. For example, yellow can represent longer-term tasks like planning or reporting. Blue may stand for family time, personal obligations, etc. To complete activities faster, you’ll want to establish your schedule’s priority. There are many ways to accomplish this.

Visual cues can help people understand information faster, so go ahead and be colorful. Once you learn your color code, your daily schedule will inform you where and when you need to be. For example, a red light indicates a board meeting that you must prepare for. Consequently, no matter what the event is, a sliver of blue at the end of your schedule will remind you that you can’t work late tonight because you have a family event.

Set Alerts on Scheduling Software

Scheduling an event isn’t always enough — you’re not using scheduling software to its full potential if you don’t set reminders for important events. Therefore, setting up reminders for each meeting or appointment will help you keep track of your schedule. Remember to set an alarm for your travel time as well.

Your reminders will serve as a backup if you forget something or misplace your paper notes. There’s nothing worse than missing a critical meeting or giving the incorrect impression — these types of things damage careers. Use your scheduling program to avoid this.

Reminders can also help you prepare for upcoming occasions. Consequently, a half-hour notice before a big presentation provides you time to gather your thoughts and organize your materials. You should know yourself well enough to see if you need more time than a half hour. That’s all you will need if you have prepared the night before and have everything ready to go for that meeting.

Others to Contact in Scheduling Software

Preparing and attending a meeting where the other party does not show is counterproductive. Both parties must agree on a schedule. Even if you do everything perfectly —  there are times when someone may be late or not show up for a meeting. All your planning and organizing will be for naught.

To avoid this, send reminders to folks with whom you have made plans. Most scheduling software allows you to set up reminder messages.

Leaders can create the perfect reminder once and use it for all future engagements for everyone on their team.

People won’t have to worry about colleagues or clients skipping meetings or writing personalized emails every time. They may also share a meeting agenda or a scheduling link to improve collaboration — and the same process and work while managing your hybrid teams’ hybrid work schedules.

We need to cease utilizing our scheduling software for only the basics. Instead, leaders should use this software tool’s array of valuable features to boost productivity companywide.

Start today to make the most of your time. Remember that using your scheduling software — “now” — spelled backward means you’ve “won.”

Why You Should Use Scheduling Software was originally published on Calendar by Choncé Maddox.

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5 Ways to Streamline Your Schedule So You Don’t Miss Anything

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Streamline Schedule Don't Miss Anything

How you use your time each day is extremely important. If you want to be as productive as possible within an 8-hour workday, you need to learn how to best allocate your time. By following a proper schedule, you can get a lot more done in the same time period.

Slapping events and projects onto a calendar is only the start. Once you’ve got a schedule laid out, you need to maximize it. A few simple adjustments will get your schedule firing on all cylinders, streamlining your personal workflow without missing any important details or activities.

1. Use Collaborative Scheduling

Team calendars are a great way to optimize not only your own time, but that of everyone in the office. In a collaborative workplace, a lot of your schedule will be dependent on the people you work with. Meeting times, hybrid work schedules, deadlines, and more need to be coordinated throughout the entire organization without missing a beat.

With a shared team calendar, all of this information can be found in one place. This way, everyone knows what’s going on and can check each other’s schedule before booking meetings or appointments with one another. This will keep you in the loop even during a busy week where keeping track of all of these events seems impossible.

2. Take Advantage of Event Reminders

You can’t always rely on your memory, even if you have a mind like a steel trap. Reminders will provide a failsafe for every event and appointment you book so that even if you do forget about one, you’ll be able to jog your memory in time.

Consider the best event reminder strategy for each meeting and appointment. Instead of accepting the 10 minutes prior default, you may need to set some reminders a couple of hours in advance. That will give you time to prepare for the meeting beforehand and still arrive on time. Reminders set the night before an event might remind you not to overbook your schedule for the upcoming day. In some cases, you might even benefit from multiple reminders to help you through every stage of the process.

3. Avoid Overbooking

Whatever type of time management or scheduling software you use, make sure that it has a feature that prevents you from scheduling events that conflict. If your program of choice doesn’t alert you to potential overbooking, you may inadvertently stack events together and get yourself into quite a predicament. It won’t be until your events collide in real time that you realize the mistake you’ve made.

The right software will ensure you don’t actively have to think about overbooking. While you’re making plans, it will stop you from scheduling too much. This will allow you to shift events around or reschedule various commitments so everything works out. If you’re not getting any alerts from a program with this capability, it means you’re good to go.

4. Set Up a Scheduling Link

One way to streamline your schedule is to get other people to organize it for you. This might sound like an abdication of responsibility, but it’s actually quite practical. All you need to do is set up a scheduling link for yourself.

This link will be connected to your online calendar software. You can attach it at the end of emails or on a website for others to access. By using the link, coworkers, clients, and others can see your availability and schedule a time to meet with you. This eliminates the seemingly endless back-and-forths that occur when two parties try to coordinate schedules.

You can update your scheduling link to only allow certain times of day to be made available to others. This way no one will book a time slot where you’re at the gym or taking a lunch break. If every day follows a different routine, you can adjust your scheduling link accordingly.

5. Don’t Overdo It

If you don’t want to miss anything on your schedule, stop overpacking it. If your schedule is constantly at its breaking point with meetings, phone calls, deadlines, and events, you’ll run a higher risk of missing something important. This could create a catastrophic domino effect — or at the very least be incredibly stressful to handle.

Cutting back can be easier said than done, especially for busy professionals. Instead of hoping that your schedule will magically develop breathing room, try a new approach. For example, you can force yourself to include 10 minutes of buffer in between each commitment. This will ensure that you always have time to make it to your next appointment or prepare for back-to-back meetings.

Another thing you can do is track your time. Certain calendar apps will monitor how you’re spending your time, which can help you plan more efficiently in the future. By tracking your schedule, you may realize that you’re spending too much time in meetings and can take steps to cut down the number or duration of those you schedule.

To improve your time management, try to review your schedule at least once a month. Make some slight adjustments and continue pressing forward. By year’s end, you’ll have the most streamlined schedule possible.

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How to Keep Your Office Running Smoothly During Spring Break

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How to Keep Office Running Smoothly Spring Break

Spring break is known for crazy beach parties and exotic getaways. But for many people, spring break means business as usual. For your business, this means managing your team and operations during one of the more interesting times of the year.

With so many people out of school or taking time off from work, there are a lot of adjustments you need to make to make this week a successful one. Here’s a little advice to help you get through the break:

Avoid Internal Miscommunication

Before spring break even begins, communicate with your team and make sure everyone is on the same page. Everyone should know who is taking time off during the break and who will be taking their place to complete tasks and manage workflows. When there’s proper communication in place, nothing will fall through the cracks.

One idea you can implement is designating an out-of-office contact who is in the loop about current projects. They can be a quick phone call or message away when an employee has a question about a task that the out-of-office employee normally handles. That person can enjoy their spring break without leaving the rest of their team high and dry.

Schedule Everything

A good schedule will keep your business on the right track even when spring break takes a lot of people out of your orbit. For instance, you should have your employees’ schedules set well in advance. If workers are trying to ask for time off at the last minute, things will get complicated rather quickly.

Whether you use scheduling software or appointment software, just keep in mind that it’s absolutely essential to plan. It’s also important to have a collaborative schedule that the entire team has access to. This can help avoid unnecessary questions about where someone is during spring break, when they return, and who is scheduled to work over the break.

You won’t always be able to stick to your perfectly organized schedule. Unexpected events will occur, and you’ll have to make adjustments along the way. Having an established schedule will make it easier to make those adjustments and roll with the punches.

Keep Customers in the Loop

As you make adjustments to prepare for the upcoming spring break, don’t forget to keep your customers in the loop. For example, if you have several employees taking time off, you may want to post a notice that you are unable to accept as many appointments or take care of as many customers during this time. If customers know this is the case beforehand, you won’t get backlogged by frustrated customers assuming that business is running as usual.

Many businesses keep their customers in the loop through social media posts. This is a great way to connect with customers as well as increase your visibility to potential new customers. However, not everyone will be checking social media pages for business updates. You should also be updating your company website regularly, especially if you’re dealing with online appointment bookings. An email newsletter can also help inform customers of upcoming changes they need to be aware of.

Add Some Incentives

Your business might not be worried about employees taking time off for spring break. But it might struggle with employees clocking in and feeling unmotivated because they wish they were on vacation. Whether it’s due to lingering travel concerns or a tight budget, your active employees could use a little push during spring break to keep motivation and morale high.

A few incentives should do the trick. A week-long sales competition with some tantalizing rewards can perk up the office and keep morale going strong. Offering a prize like a paid company vacation or the newest video game console should help pick up the pace of sales.

A guaranteed incentive will shine some light at the end of the tunnel as well. The office atmosphere will be a little lighter if employees are looking forward to a nice team dinner on Friday night rather than going home without any spring break plans.

Enable Remote Work

If there are aspects of your business that can be performed digitally, give it a whirl during this upcoming spring break. Your employees who want some extra time off during this time period will be able to do so while still being able to complete some necessary tasks. This may even set a precedent moving forward where hybrid work is enabled and allows employees to spend more time at home with their families.

There are many ways your business can enable remote work. A phone system can be set up in a home office to field calls from customers. Outgoing calls for sales or appointment confirmations can be made through a remote phone system. Any digital aspects of your business can also be done from home, such as payroll, marketing, and scheduling.

For many businesses, there has to be at least one person in-house in order for operations to continue and likely more if you run a customer-facing business such as a salon. It might not seem fair to employees that their coworkers are able to work from home, so consider incentives you can offer to make it up to them. Perhaps an extra paid vacation day at a slower time of the year will provide the needed motivation.

While it might not be as exciting to be working rather than vacationing over spring break, you can make it tolerable and even fun. You can also use these strategies for other holidays to keep your business running smoothly no matter what logistical hurdles arise.

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Maintaining a Schedule Can Help You Live Longer

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Maintaining Schedule Help Live Longer

Some may go on and on about how a schedule of activities or routines inhibits creativity or spontaneity. Of course, there may be a situation or two where that would be true — however, there are other situations in which this is not the case. Maintaining a schedule frees up time for your creative ventures.

People who do not adhere to a schedule, are more likely to skip appointments, postpone necessary work, live or work in an unorganized environment, and haphazardly finish projects if they finish at all.

It’s a recipe for catastrophe in every sense of the word. So how do you plan for uncertain times?

If you want to be successful, you must recognize the importance of having a schedule – one that sets dates and times that will allow you to arrive on time, finish the duties at hand, and prepare for extra successes.

The Best Way to Get Started With a Schedule

So, what is the best way to get started with a schedule? One of the most important things you can do is ask crucial questions. It is to ensure that you fully comprehend the timetable given to you.

For some individuals, keeping a timetable is as easy as checking off the items on a to-do list as they come across them on their computer. On the other hand, others may find that more specifics allow them to simplify a timetable or completely integrate a calendar into other parts of their lives.

Asking which activities on the schedule are the top priorities or which items on the plan may be postponed or swapped with other things are examples of questions you would ask.

Track Your Time — do Some Research

After completing your research, you may find that you need to change certain aspects of your life. You may find there is no link to your work or school schedule. As you would expect, not all of these activities are time-suckers; instead, they merely need a reorganization of your time.

Taking a two-hour lunch break, for example, may need to be shortened to one hour or half an hour to complete other tasks on your to-do list within that period.

If your goal is to spend the early Saturday morning hours with research at the library it may be necessary to shift your shopping habits to Sunday nights if you have been used to doing it on Saturday mornings. And remember that not all timetables are etched in stone. For example, you may change your schedule to accommodate new jobs or projects that need more or less time to complete than initially planned.

Following your experience, a few well-placed questions, and some minor rearranging, you will have a timetable that you can safely follow—knowing that your new schedule will lead you to achieve the essential tasks vital to your life. Much less effort has to be expended when you make a reasonable plan for your essential work.

The times, they are a-changin.’

Yes, the times change. Our schedules reflect this volatility — or they should. But sometimes, we keep our heads in the sand. Like the ostrich, we do not wish to see what’s happening around us, and we may try to duck out on reality. With careful observation, you’ll be able to see what types of procrastination are interrupting your schedule. Don’t be one that refuses to schedule in needed changes in your life. Go ahead and admit that your time management skills need a little refurbishing and just do it.

Being Flexible is Not the Same as Being Careless

When scheduling conflicts arise, as they will, a quick response is usually best. However, hemming, hawing, and beating around the bush is an excellent way of alienating others. Instead, be decisive with what commitments you say you will make, then stick with your decision. Opportunity melts like frost, and, especially as an entrepreneur — you have to take the reins and move quickly.

The most significant fatality to time management success is being noncommittal and deciding not to decide. After all, who looks back with pride at all the appointments they didn’t keep — and the decisions that were put off? There never seems like enough time, but actions that were never planned won’t be something you are proud of in the future.

It’s all in the timing

Professional comics say it’s all in the timing and point to the times to speed up and when to slow down. When the comedians hold a pause or stomp the punchline at the right moment — it’s magical. Timing can basically be applied in the same way for business leaders and organization managers. Timing is everything.

The Bible intones “there is a time and season for everything.’” So it is in business — there’s a time to start — and a time to end. A time to let go. A time to meet — and a time to lock the door and go over the audit yourself.

The trick is to know when to do what. And that trick is simple. Psychology Today has a great time management test. IF you follow basic time management principles, you can adapt to your particular circumstances. And IF you take advantage of the latest time management technology and theory, you will be a lot further ahead than if you don’t.

Basics of Time Management and Living Longer and Peacefully

Every MBA course offers dozens of classes on how to untangle the basics of time management.

Nobody has an easy schedule. Nobody. Not the janitor. Or the CEO. Not even the poet in her ivory tower. But once you learn to dance to the tune that time plays for you, life becomes more bearable and more your own.

Some say that minutes are hard cider, hours champagne, and days become flagons of the finest mead. Just ask those who seem to have nothing to do. An accident? Nope. They have come to grips with their time and they wrestle it to the ground.

If you plan correctly and make time yours — you’ll come out on top. You shouldn’t dream of doing anything less!

Image Credit: Jess Bailey Designs; Pexels; Thank you!

4 Ways to Get Your Customers on a Regular Appointment Schedule

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Get Your Customers Regular Appointment Schedule

Life is so much easier when you have a well-planned schedule in front of you. Unfortunately for appointment-based businesses, this isn’t always the reality. Customers can be quite spotty when it comes to making their appointments, which leads to a lot of last-minute adjusting of schedules and bookings.

While a lot of appointment booking is out of your control, there are some things that your business can do to promote a more regular appointment schedule from your customers. Being able to plan further out in advance allows you to be more prepared to serve every customer well and not lose time and efficiency in a scramble.

If you’re ready for more appointment continuity and stability, here are a few ideas you can try this year:

1. Enable Recurring Appointments

There are a lot of customers who would appreciate a regular appointment schedule as much as you do. One way you can make this possible is by enabling recurring appointments. This allows customers to book appointments on a regular cadence rather than sporadically.

For example, your car garage might get a lot of business doing oil changes. Customers who make daily commutes and like to take care of their vehicles might come in for a bimonthly oil change as part of their maintenance routine. Being able to designate a particular day of the month makes it easier for them to organize their schedule, in addition to helping your business to get regular bookings.

Recurring appointments also work well for small businesses that have personal interactions with their customers. A customer might look forward to the hour she gets to spend with her masseuse each week, and being able to set a recurring appointment in her calendar ensures that her preferred booking slot is always secured.

2. Send Automated Text Messages

Sometimes your customers need a little nudge to kick-start their appointment streak again. Automated text messages are a quick and effective way to reach out to your customers who haven’t scheduled an appointment in some time. Such messages can notify them about upcoming deals they won’t want to miss or be used to send them a personalized offer.

Within an automated text message, you can include a direct link to your online appointment software. Send the right message to the right customer at the right time, and you can start getting bookings from them immediately. Of course, you should always leave the option available to opt-in and out of messaging as customers see fit. Otherwise, your text messages will drive customers away rather than pull them back in.

Emails and phone calls can also be effective methods of issuing reminders. Best of all, allowing customers to choose how they receive messages means you know that your nudging messages are being sent in the best way possible to every single person.

3. Keep Them in the Loop

If you keep customers in the loop with everything going on with your business, they’ll have more reasons to visit your website and regularly book future appointments. New information can also reinvigorate the interest that consumers have in your business.

If you don’t already, try creating and sending out a monthly newsletter containing information regarding upcoming events at your business. This can include special promotions, new services you’re offering, and other announcements as you see fit. Learning that you now offer a trendy new beauty service or will be offering two-for-one mani-pedis next month may be just the thing to spark a patron’s interest. Full calendars of events will prompt many customers to start booking their appointment slots earlier than normal.

Some pieces of news will need to be issued more immediately. For instance, if you’re planning on altering your business hours for an upcoming holiday, you should let your customers know as soon as possible so they can plan their appointments accordingly. Last-minute changes on your end will only cause complications with existing bookings.

4. Incentivize Consistency

If consistency is what you want from your customers, incentivize that behavior. Many businesses encourage return visits by handing out punch cards that provide additional services or rewards after so many uses. You can take this a step further by adding some more parameters.

Many appointment-based businesses prefer a regular appointment schedule over a quick string of appointments booked in pursuit of punch-card rewards. To change the trajectory of your incentives, you could build a reward program that offers points for cyclical visits. Bonus points can be awarded for consistent streaks set by customers, such as triple points earned for three consecutive monthly appointments.

Of course, your incentives program should be specifically tailored to your business, what it offers, and the customer base you’re working with. By thoughtfully taking your business’s particular variables into account, you’re bound to find a formula that works.

While you’ll never have a set-in-stone schedule as an appointment-based business, there are things you can do to promote continuity. Embrace these tips, you’ll benefit from the consistency they can help bring to your organization.

Image Credit: Mart Production; Pexels; Thank you!

Is There an Ideal Meeting Time?

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Ideal Meeting Time

Are you encountering meeting mortification? There are ways to tweak your meeting time to make a meeting marvelous — or at least productive and bearable.

When it comes to efficiency and productivity — time is everything.

When it comes to meetings, the one thing you’ll want in every meeting is efficiency. Of course, it’s necessary to handle your meetings in a professional manner, but the time you hold it is almost as crucial to success.

When is the optimum time to schedule a meeting?

Let’s look into the ideal time and day for a meeting for your company. The general consensus is that the best time of day for meetings in business is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

If a typical workday lasts from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., the day is divided into two halves. The schedule is basically the same in every office.

Earlier in the day, 9 –10 a.m.

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Lunchtime; 12–1 p.m. – Lunch break

Afternoon; 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Afternoon/Evening — late afternoon/early evening; 4 p.m. and forward

This leaves you with five-time periods to choose from.

So, seeing this schedule at a glance — what are the advantages and disadvantages of each timeframe?

The early bird

Early in the A.M. — Having a meeting first thing at first light might be beneficial if you want to be quick. Power people and very busy CEOs often want this time for their meetings. A fast 15-minute stand-up meeting or a quick check-in is best done early in the morning.

On the other hand, early morning meetings should be avoided for some types of employees, such as graveyard employees, since those workers may still be tired. In addition, you don’t want to spend time repeating yourself or waiting for someone to return from the coffee machine.

Teach your employees to prepare the day before

Meetings at the start of the day require employees to prepare the day before or arrive early. As most tech businesses get going early — you can teach your employees to better navigate this world by showing them how to set plans and goals — prepare the night before.

If you have given leeway during covid for your staff to start at various times of the day, getting everyone in the same room at the same time to start the meeting might be challenging. Get everyone back on the same schedule, if you can, for success.

Many employers have found that mid-morning meetings are more productive since the change from home to the office. In addition, if you use mid-morning meetings, often employees have had time to settle in, and they aren’t in the flow yet. In this case — mid-morning meetings tend to be more productive. Around 10 or 11 a.m., flexibility also seems to increase.

Some workers don’t want to spend time in a meeting shortly before lunch because they believe you will drag on and they’ll be late for lunch plans. So always start and end meetings on time.

How about a lunch meeting?

Lunchtime/Lunch break: Meeting timings are often influenced by mealtimes, so grabbing and paying for your employees’ lunch can be a great week to connect. If you’re holding a conference during a meal, plan on supplying the food — and let that be known.

Employees will feel more productive and invigorated if they are given some beverages or little snacks, even if it isn’t a full dinner. Still, a lunch meeting with great food can also go under the team-building budget for your dollars. In addition, these meetings bring your team closer together as they talk with each other before and after the meeting.

Afternoon: Employees are generally lethargic soon after lunch, but by three p.m., the energy picks up. I used to have a boss that always said, “Every person caffeinated, and we’ll meet in the conference room in twenty minutes.”

The vote by workers is that they are far more inclined to accept meetings after three p.m. than early morning. As a result, they’ll be more enthusiastic and have had more time to think about and prepare for the pow-wow.

A three p.m. meeting allows you and your colleagues more breathing space than a nine a.m. conference, which you must attend as soon as you get to work. Note though that for your three p.m. meetings — most of the day is passed, so your participants leave straight after the meeting.

This meeting is not for you if you have a team that works late and gets a lot done.

Never too late for a meeting

Late Afternoon/Evening Meetings: During late afternoon or evening conferences, workers may watch the clock tick and wonder when the day will conclude. If the purpose of your meeting is to increase employee passion for something, the enthusiasm will fade as the person approaches the conclusion of their workday.

Following an examination of the five time blocks in a research done by Keith Harris of WhenIsGood.com, — he said that he discovered the ideal time for a conference seemed to be about three p.m. (afternoon), even if you live in the metaverse.

By three p.m., employees have completed most of their tasks, had a meal, and regained their energy.

Three p.m. is break time. Everyone knows that. So offer snacks and beverages if you’re meeting at that time. Otherwise, food is a distraction.

Monday is the best day of the week for a conference type meeting

Let’s move on to the best day of the week to have a meeting now that we’ve discussed the optimum time. Because workers may utilize personal or vacation days to have a three-day weekend, Mondays and Fridays are typically the least productive days for holding meetings.

On Monday, employees are often still in a weekend mood and ready to leave the workplace on Friday. Yet, you must consider that sometimes your Monday meetings get your team all there and revved up for work. If planned correctly (not last-minute role call), this MO can be motivational and productive.

Days and daze

Some offices claim that conferences should be held in the middle three days of the workweek to maximize productivity and participation. However, the most significant days for conferences are the middle three of the week, and the afternoon is the optimum time for a meeting.

So, when is the best time to conduct a conference throughout the week?

According to a recent survey conducted by the meeting scheduling service WhenIsGood — the optimal time for most of their workers and respondents is Tuesday at three p.m.

While Tuesday was the favorite day in that study — it may not be for you. So if you have a real go-getter team that isn’t afraid to talk meetings and productivity — send out a survey.

Choose the day that resonates most with you and your staff, no matter what your preconceived notions turn out to be.

Image Credit: Christina Morillo; Pexels; Thank you!

Is There an Ideal Meeting Time? was originally published on Calendar by Choncé Maddox.

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!

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