Category Archives: Scheduling

Why Syncing Your Work and Personal Calendars Simplifies Appointment Scheduling

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Why Syncing Your Work and Personal Calendars Simplifies Appointment Scheduling

If you’re a busy individual, you probably have a separate calendar for work and for your personal life. This helps you divide up your different commitments so that a single calendar doesn’t get overcrowded. However, managing two separate calendars comes with different challenges you need to take into account. 

No matter what kind of error you want to avoid when juggling dual calendars, syncing will be your best solution. This will make your appointment-scheduling process so much easier whether you’re planning activities with your family and friends or organizing a new entrepreneurial venture. Here’s how calendar syncing is going to help you:

Improves Planning

When your work and personal calendars are intertwined, both calendars can be reviewed simultaneously. This allows your online appointment scheduling software to show you all available time slots that work for you. Otherwise, you might book a meeting that fits into your work calendar while overlooking a family commitment you had made for the same time. You don’t want to miss your daughter’s soccer game because you arranged a simultaneous client coffee date. 

With both calendars linked together, you’ll have a better idea of what you have to plan for in the upcoming days. Improved planning leads to increased efficiency, fewer mixups, and ultimately better results as your schedule falls into place.

Helps Manage Your Life Balance

With both calendars synced up, you can also improve that much-needed work-life balance. If you’re noticing that your work calendar far outweighs your personal calendar, maybe it’s time to schedule some more activities with your family. This can also be done in reverse. You might realize you’ve been taking a lot of time off recently and recognize the need to get back to the old grindstone, refilling that work calendar once again. 

Syncing your work and personal calendars will also help you learn the difficult art of saying no. Some appointments you’re just going to have to decline in the name of life balance. Turning down a single work appointment won’t be the end of the world for your career, especially if it contributes to a better family life. 

Stops You From Overbooking

Appointment software will not allow you to schedule over other events, even if you try. You’ll get a nice, big alert warning you that the time slot you’ve selected has already been filled. This will help with tricky situations like the one mentioned previously, where you create a work event without realizing there’s been a personal event scheduled there already. 

This will also prevent others from trying to overbook your time. Many managers use appointment software to make their time available to employees needing to ask questions or report on a project in progress. You don’t have to list out any specifics, but having both of your calendars covered in your available time slots will stop an employee from trying to bother you while you’re at a family gathering. Emergencies are always an exception, of course. 

Automates Schedule Additions and Changes in Both Places

After any appointment is scheduled, it’s automatically added to both of your calendars. This is one less thing you have to do, saving you a little bit of time and hassle when scheduling. Manual syncing is tedious, and also leaves more room for human error than any of us would like. You could accidentally input the wrong time in one calendar or simply forget to include the commitment when taking your other calendar into consideration. 

Automatic syncing will also come in handy when you share your calendars with other people. For example, you might share a personal calendar with your significant other. If they plan an event in your shared calendar, you’ll want that to pop up automatically. This will enable greater communication between you two and prevent conflicts from arising because of a lack thereof. 

The syncing of calendars with appointment software is great if you use these tools to better coordinate with your team as well. Sending an appointment invitation for an upcoming meeting will give employees the time to arrange their personal schedules accordingly. 

Enables Easier Transitioning

It can be difficult to shift your thought process from your work life to your personal life. By syncing their two respective calendars together, you’ll be able to make easier transitions throughout the day. 

For example, a major perk of using appointment software is to send and receive reminders and notifications. This can help cut down on tardiness and no-shows. However, you can find yourself feeling flustered if your notifications seem to be competing instead of coming in a linear fashion. Synchronized calendars will reduce this effect. 

There’s no time like the present to begin syncing up your work and personal calendars. It will make your appointment scheduling so much easier and improve your time management as you head into 2022.

How to Get Your Schedule Organized With Appointment Software

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How to Get Your Schedule Organized With Appointment Software

If getting organized was an easy task, we would all have immaculate homes, keep perfect desktop folders, and manage our time with ease. Unfortunately, getting and staying organized takes a lot more conscious effort, and it’s easy to slip up and get a little messy.

Nobody’s perfect, and nobody has to be. However, organizing your schedule even a little bit better can improve your life dramatically. How can you do this? The secret ingredient is online appointment software. Here are a few things scheduling software can help you do: 

Write It Down

Good organization must be tangible. You can’t always rely on your memory to navigate your schedule. There’s too much room for error when you don’t write down key appointment times and dates. By subconsciously moving a meeting time by an hour, you could miss the entire thing.

Using online appointment software, you can lay out at minimum the basics of your daily schedule. You should include important meetings and deadlines. You can also add any other key parts of your schedule to help you visualize your day. 

Not only will online software help you check your upcoming schedule, but it will also send you automated reminders to ensure you’re prepared. You can even add reminders for simple tasks such as picking up the dry-cleaning on your way home. 

Coordinate With Others

As an adult, your schedule will often coincide with what your co-workers, family, or friends have going on, too. Whether it’s managing a project at work or coordinating a carpool schedule, you’ll need to balance your schedule with other people. Luckily, appointment software excels in collaboration as well. 

Sharing events with others is a great way to start. Teams can get their calendars in sync so that each of their responsibilities will be completed by the same target date. Creating a schedule with other parents will help you communicate who is picking the kids up from soccer practice. You can also coordinate with a partner or spouse to make sure those date nights are locked in. 

Display Your Availability

Managers and team leaders have different needs when coordinating and managing their availability. If you’re in a leadership position, people will be vying for your attention even while you’re tackling your own busy schedule. 

When you activate appointment software, you can create a personal ID with your schedule. You can then share a scheduling link with others so they have complete access to your availability. You don’t have to share specifics of your schedule; you can simply block out time as “busy.” Then others will know when not to bother you with phone calls and surprise visits. 

Give Yourself Some Wiggle Room

There’s always a chance of overscheduling when you’re trying your best to be productive every day. Having too much on your plate can be incredibly stressful and derail your productivity. In creating your ideal schedule, be sure to give yourself a little wiggle room.

Use your online appointment software to add some buffer time in between larger commitments. This could be as simple as creating a five- to 10-minute window to check your email. Maybe you can block out time in shorter intervals to give you extra time in case a meeting runs long. Even just a little bit of wiggle room can prevent a whole lot of stressful scenarios throughout the day. 

Balance Every Responsibility

If you’re struggling with your work-life balance, you need some scheduling software in your life. Appointment software is for so much more than being punctual for all of your business meetings. It will also help you make time for the things that matter most, such as family, friends, and your mental health. 

Make an appointment for each of your son’s football games, and you’ll never miss another touchdown. Another appointment can remind you to take a day off to de-stress from a busy work week. More than anything, appointment software helps you be proactive and intentional when balancing your life. 

Learn to Batch Tasks

One way to keep your schedule on track while getting everything you need done is to batch your tasks. This method consists of taking tasks with similar properties and combining them together in your schedule or to-do list. This makes your schedule appear less cluttered while still covering all of your required tasks. Use your appointment software to set up similar tasks together in blocks of time. 

For example, you can organize your day’s task list based on when you are most productive. Then batch similar tasks together around those times. Say you have a big project due next week, and you feel sharpest in the morning. Work on high-level tasks like creating your slide deck and writing your presentation notes in the morning. Then batch your smaller to-do items like scheduling meetings, running reports, or answering emails together to tackle in the afternoon. 

Learning how to organize your life takes practice. Individual preferences and lifestyles will require different approaches. Online appointment software can help you make organization a habit and add more structure to your daily life than ever before. 

Scheduling Self Care When Working From Home

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Scheduling Self Care When Working From Home

Even though many people have already been working from home since before the pandemic began, these past two years have increased the need for remote and flexible work. Gallup’s May 2021 study says that 7 in 10 U.S white-collar workers are still working remotely. In that same study, it was concluded that 4 in 10 white-collar employees prefer the option of working remotely. As remote working numbers increase, the habit of scheduling self-care becomes more and more crucial.

Mental health is a big part of that because working from home can bring a lack of socialization that most people had previously to our words being turned upside down in early 2020. Working from home may seem like it’s better for your work-life balance on the surface. However, it can also blur the lines of work and personal time way to easily.

If you still want to prioritize yourself while working from home, here are some top tips for scheduling self-care.

Commit to a Schedule That Honors Self-Care

Scheduling self-care all starts with creating a daily routine and calendar that leaves room for prioritizing yourself. Create your ideal daily schedule including time you spend working and having meetings, along with time spent on household tasks. Then, be sure to work in breaks and room for self-care as needed.

Define what self-care means to you and add it to your daily calendar so you’re never lacking it. When you work from home, staying active and healthy can easily be scheduled around meetings throughout the day especially if you are in control of what goes on your calendar. Some assignments can be mentally tasking so instead of jumping right to the next task getting a walk around your neighborhood or other exercises in can be great for both you and the next coworker or client you interact with.

Start Your Day With a Healthy Breakfast

A healthy breakfast has been recommended ever since many of us were young and in school. Don’t turn away from this principle now that you’re an adult and working from home. Eating a healthy breakfast is one of the best ways to replenish your body after receiving 8 hours of sleep.

Better Health calls breakfast the most important meal of the day. It replenishes your glucose to help boost your energy and alertness. According to WebMD many studies have pointed eating a healthy breakfast to better memory and concentration which are key ingredients to a successful workday. They also mention the low blood sugar in your body when you wake up and how important breakfast is to replenish it. Some of those items that give you those essential vitamins and nutrients are grains, dairy, and fruits.

Get Up Early

Getting up early could be your ticket to a productive day. Scheduling self-care can be as simple as making sure you get 8 hours of sleep each night. Your body needs time to rest and recover from all you do each day. The key is to make sure you get to bed around 8 hours before you plan to wake up.

Setting yourself up to wake up earlier will also give you more opportunities to practice self-care and adopt a better routine. You could work in 30 minutes of exercise or 10 minutes of meditation which can go a long way in helping keep you focused and feeling great throughout the workday. Or, you could journal, read, or do something that fills your cup during the day. These tasks are just a few of the many that you can use to shift your mindset before starting work or even throughout the day as you schedule self-care.

Schedule a Hard Stop Each Day

Starting your day on the right foot is important, but so is ending it as well. I have heard of plenty of stories when people are noticing work emails come in and out late into the night. It doesn’t have to be like that. Don’t put your brain through that. Find a time that you want to call it quits for the day and make that happen. It’s easy to want to work all hours of the day if you work from home. That’s not something you did when you worked in the office though.

You may not be able to actually ‘clock out’ and head home as you finish your workday. However, you can schedule a time when you can turn off your notifications until the next workday. Those emails and calls can be a distraction that isn’t healthy. We shouldn’t have to worry about work every minute of the day. Working from home should also include taking time for you and your families.

Be Intentional About Rest and Play

Take advantage of the opportunity to work from home. If your schedule allows, get a change of scenery and work from a coffee shop one day. A different place to work might give you just the boost you need to get a big project or task done.

Sometimes, being at home can be a distraction so getting out to somewhere that can help you be more productive can make both your boss and clients happier. Get out and spend time with friends and family for lunch. What better way to promote self-care and socializing than getting together with loved ones?

Create your schedule so you have time to do something relaxing like go get a massage or attend group class and interact with others. People who work during the day don’t have this opportunity so you might get lucky enough to schedule self-care that would be more challenging to obtain if you worked a 9 to 5 job in the office.

Plan to Get Dressed for the Day

Getting out of your pajamas and into clothes for the day can help signal that it’s time to get into work mode. This is part of your morning routine that doesn’t have to change. Getting cleaned up and putting on a new set of clothes can be the simplest but also very effective way to practice self-care. It can act as a mental shift that it’s time to get serious and start getting work done.

Be sure to simplify and plan out what you’ll wear each week in advance. That way, you can get dressed each day with ease while working from home.

Summary

Working from home is the norm for many across the nation. While working from home can seem flexible and freeing on the surface, it can also add to your stress levels and deter your self-care efforts. The best way to combat this is to prioritize scheduling self-care.

Set self-care goals, and prioritize your schedule. Make the boundaries clear early on and get a schedule in place so you’re not working up until bedtime. These tips along with the many others we mentioned will play a big part in making sure your self-care is included in your workday.

Why Every Gig Worker Needs an Online Calendar

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Why Every Gig Worker Needs an Online Calendar

The spotlight was shined on the gig economy during the heat of Covid-19 as thousands of workers looked to earn paychecks as businesses closed around them. While most of the world has since reopened, the gig economy is still alive and well. There are a lot of positive aspects of being a gig worker that has kept people around for the long haul.

Several skills are helpful when becoming a gig worker, but none are as important as that of time management. When you’re not being paid by the hour, time is extremely valuable to you. That’s why every gig worker should have an online calendar. Let’s dissect the reasons why:

Managing Your Workload

Not having direct supervision as a gig worker is both a blessing and a curse. On the positive side, you get a lot more freedom and flexibility than you would by working on a salary. On the opposing end, though gig work is exciting and much more interesting — becoming a successful gig worker requires a lot of drive and initiative to get moving.

You also need to be careful about biting off more than you can chew. By tracking projects in your online Calendar, you can see if you’re getting a little overloaded and need to stop taking on new projects for a short time. For example, it’s better to complete three projects in a week with time to spare than to take on five and need to push back deadlines and endure some stressful, sleepless nights.

Meeting Deadlines

As a gig worker, the most essential aspect of your job will be to meet a plethora of deadlines. If you miss deadlines, you don’t get paid, and you’ll quickly lose customers. You want to be known as a reliable worker so that the request and recommendations continue to roll in.

What do you need to do in order to meet deadlines? Perhaps you need project management software to break down your projects into manageable pieces. On the other hand, maybe an endless stream of reminders and notifications is what you need to stay on track. Find out what methods work best for you and put them to work using your online Calendar.

Balancing Work and Home

A lot of gig workers are actually able to work from home. For these individuals, the lines between work and home can sometimes blend together. If you’re not careful, work can overtake your personal life entirely, which can be dangerously unhealthy.

With your Calendar in hand, make a proactive effort to dedicate time to family, friends, and hobbies. Learning where and how to use your time might feel forced at first, but it will help you learn how to prioritize the various aspects of your life and create time for everything. Of course, if that means you have to schedule in your family dinner in your Calendar — so be it.

A great way to tell how your work-life balance is faring, turn to Calendar analytics. This page of your Calendar will display the usage data of your time for accurate comparison. For example, if you’re noticing a very low percentage of your planned activities are geared toward family, you’ll know it’s time to plan some more activities in this area.

Scheduling helps you make sure that your created life pans out according to your dreams and the goals you’ve set for yourself.

Connecting With Clients

Your customer and client meetings are essential to both schedule and master to provide the best results to customers. Using your Calendar, you can start every meeting off on the right foot by being punctual every single time. Showing up late to your own meeting is never ideal for a first impression.

Using an online calendar will also help your clients be more timely with proposed meetings. It’s mighty frustrating to waste idle time for a customer to show up for a preplanned meeting. Reminders will often come in the clutch, and the ability to share video conferencing links directly in event invitations for any digital meetings you have.

Handling Money

Many contracted workers in the gig economy have found that there is more money to be made by being your own boss. However, paychecks can be inconsistent, and company benefits are no longer available. Therefore, you need to be smart with your finances if you want this to be a viable long-term commitment.

While online Calendars are known for their ability to help you manage your time, they are also helpful when it comes to budgeting. For example, you can set recurring reminders to set aside money for taxes, contribute to a savings account, or stay on top of bills. When you stay on top of your bills, it will help your finances feel consistent even when your paychecks aren’t.

Marketing

Gig workers are basically just miniature versions of entrepreneurs. Instead of running an entire business, they operate through a personal brand. With that being said, how you market yourself is incredibly important.

Depending on your line of work, there might be umbrella companies that can help you with marketing and advertising or eliminate the need entirely. Ridesharing or food delivery, for example, typically run through apps that customers use without requesting a specific driver. In addition, gig worker sites such as Fiverr provide a platform for all sorts of different contracted projects to increase visibility.

Other gig workers might need to use other means to draw attention to their services. Social media is an excellent example. Let’s say you’re an independent plumber working under your own name. A simple social media page can have contact information, pricing, and examples of your work to help increase customer acquisition.

If you want to see if the gig economy is right for you, pick up a few projects in your downtime to ease into the transition. If you decide to make the complete switch, keep these tips in mind so your new lifestyle can be a successful one.

Scheduling Kids Activities as a Working Parent

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Scheduling Kids Activities as a Working Parent

Being a working parent can make your life extremely busy by itself. That’s not even including scheduling kid’s activities in as well. With students back in school and fun activities now more of an option, it’s only natural that kids will want to do more, and as a parent, this will fill your weekly schedule. However, kids can thrive in these activities and learn so much. They keep children busy and are also a great way to meet new friends.

Instead of getting overwhelmed by scheduling kid’s activities, the key is to establish a routine and start working these after-school activities into your current schedule.

Here are a few ways to help carve out the time and energy for the kid’s activities as a working parent while still balancing and finishing work in other areas of your life.

Specify Your Daily Schedule First

The great thing about scheduling kid’s activities is that you’re in charge of which days and times you sign up for. So be sure to look at your current Calendar first to see when the best time would be to add an activity. Now, you may not be able to fully control precisely when practices or meetings are, but knowing when you’d have free time can help you narrow down the best kid’s activities for the current season you’re in.

Establish a Good Routine Post Work 

Once you have your schedule settled in, a crucial aspect is establishing a good routine once you’re out of work. Your routine is key because if you don’t get tasks done between getting home and bringing your child to a program, you’ll be in bad shape.

Go in with a game plan and use that time block between work to schedule important prep tasks. For example, your game plan could include preparing dinner, household chores, or errands. If you have other kids around the home, assign them a household chore as well and get organized.

If your partner is home around the same time and can help too, that’s even better. Divide and conquer. You can also intentionally schedule fewer things on activity days. By narrowing down your schedule and keeping a detailed calendar, you can prepare by having dinner cooked in advance or ordering out on busy days. You can also have your kids do their chores the night before to clean the house or postpone errands to a less busy day.

Utilize After-School Transportation

If your child is doing an after-school activity and transportation is provided, be sure to take advantage of that. For example, if basketball practice runs directly after school until 5 pm, this can give you more time to finish up work tasks and take care of other responsibilities. In addition, joining activities through the school means your child doesn’t have to leave campus, and there may even be transportation options afterward.

If transportation is an issue, see if you can team up with another parent and carpool. For example, assign a day or two where you can pick up your child and a friend from their activity and another day where the other parent can take over that responsibility.

Limit Activities and Consolidate Other Tasks

Avoid overwhelming yourself with too many activities. No parent wants to be running around across town every afternoon. Know your schedule and limit yourself to maybe one-weekday activity and one-weekend activity. Or, alternate if you have a few kids. For example, one child could do an activity in the fall while another child does an activity in the winter or spring.

In addition to limiting activities, try to consolidating other tasks to free up more time. One example is to prepare simple dinners on activity days. Whether it be 15-minute meals, crockpot meals, or grab-and-go options, these are just a few of the ways to consolidate dinner and make it easier to get back out the door.  For those dinners using plastic, utensils can help you avoid a pile-up in your kitchen sink. Be sure to stock up on paper plates, cups, forks, and spoons. That way, you are filling up the garbage can instead of the dishwasher or kitchen sink.

If your kids have study hall at school, encourage them to do homework during that time or stay after class one day of the week for tutoring from the teacher. Having children manage homework directly at school can limit time spent doing homework at home and clear their schedule for an activity. In addition, I have found that managing homework in a more business-like manager can help teach and prepare kids for working in an office.

Order things online to save time spent at the store and consider using local grocery pick-up options. As a family, you can also deep clean your home once a week or hire someone to do it, so all you have to do is maintain it during the weekdays.

Use Your Calendar!

Another way to get or stay on track is by utilizing your Calendar every day. It may sound like a small part, but this is one of the most important. Life is busy, and things can get skipped or forgotten. So you shouldn’t set an expectation for yourself to remember every little thing and keep every little appointment.

If you have everything on your Calendar, then you should be in a good place. Calendar makes it easy to schedule out your days that way, you can turn your attention to the things that matter. Calendar strives to help you organize your schedule. One tool is the smart scheduling link which enables you to avoid the back and forth emailing to schedule meetings with other people.

It’s also easy to add any events on Calendar, and you can even connect calendars that sync with Outlook and Google. But, of course, the other benefit to syncing these calenders is having everything in one place, so you know what time slots you have open and what days are your busier ones.

Summary 

Scheduling kid’s activities as a working parent and maintaining your sanity is possible. Work is essential; we all need to make money to take care of everyday expenses.

Working as a team with coworkers — and working as a team, especially in your own home is essential. But, as always, staying organized is your key to success.

Try to make time to allow after-school activities for your children. The reality of after-school activities for our children can make all the difference to their success when they enter the adult world.

Please take some steps to make your child’s world a great place to come from — and remember. Hopefully, these steps can help you make it all work.

Great Shared Calendar Apps for Startups

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Great Shared Calendar Apps for Startups

It may not be at the top of your priorities, but sharing a Calendar with the rest of the folks in your startup is a must. After all, it’s the best way to keep everyone on the same page. It also boosts productivity and prevents precious time from being wasted. But, creating and managing your team’s calendar starts and ends with the right calendar app. And, here are ten of the best options for startups.

1. Calendar

Calendar is a time management and scheduling tool that eliminates those lengthy back-and-forth communications when setting up an event. Instead, share the app’s scheduling link, and it does the rest of the work for you. It’s not magic, if you’re wondering. Instead, Calendar relies on machine learning so that it will make smart suggestions on how to schedule your next meeting.

But, that’s just scratching the surface. Calendar also uses machine learning so that you can add new events quickly. It’s also time zone friendly, meaning that it takes care of availability for you — as opposed to you attempting to figure this when traveling or scheduling meetings with remote teams. Finally, Calendar integrates with your Apple, Google, and Office 365 calendars so that you have one real-time view of your life.

2. Google Calendar

Is this an obvious choice? Sure. But, Google Calendar has proven to be one of the best online calendars on the market. Mainly this is because it’s easy to use and comes packed with features that allow you to get the most out of it, such as color-coding and sharing your calendar via email or embedded link.

Google Calendar also allows you to add your team’s calendars, create out-of-office messages, and add events with natural language. Also, because it’s part of the Google suite of tools, your events from Gmail are automatically added to your calendar. And, you can share and collaborate on docs, spreadsheets, Keep, and Jamboard.

Even if you can’t use the free version, this is still an affordable option. Business plans start at just $5 per month.

3. Any.do

Any.do is more than just a calendar app. It’s one of the best tools to house your agenda, to-dos, and goals. As a result, it’s arguably one of the best options to keep you and your team organized and productive.

There are also some pretty cool features within the app. For example, there are location-based reminders and the option to receive your agenda every morning. In addition, the color-coded dots for all of the events in your calendar make it easy to identify what you have on the docket for the day.

Any.do does have a free version. However, for teams, you may want to switch to the premium plan, which starts at $2.99 per month.

4. Teamup

This tool was designed specifically with groups in mind. As a result, you can schedule assignments, track progress in real-time, and share calendars with everyone on your team. And, you can organize all of this information by using color-coded sub-calendars.

One of my favorite things about Teamup is that you don’t need an account to access your calendar. That means anyone you share your calendar with a view without having to waste time logging in. Best of all, for small teams, it’s free. For larger one’s plans start at just $8/month,

5. Calendly

Calendly is another app that makes scheduling a whole lot less stressful. Less stress because it reviews your existing calendars, and checks your availability. You then share your availability with others, and they pick a time when they’re free.

You can then set buffers between meetings and block last-minute meetings requests. There’s also time zone detection, and it works with a wide range of apps like Zapier, Salesforce, GoToMeeting, and Stripe.

The basic plan is free. But, if your startup has various event types planned each month, you’ll need to get with a paid plan. The premium version is $8 per user/per month.

6. Float

Float is a scheduling and planning tool. It provides real-time scheduling updates and the ability to edit events through drop-and-drag. You can also create recurring events and receive reports to help you improve your efforts.

There are also features like time-off tracking and overtime alerts for your full-time staff. But, if you’re working with contractors, you add short-term gigs. It also plays nice with iOS, Android, Slack, and Zapier. And, there’s a flat fee of $5 per person scheduled per month.

7. Plan

Described as part calendar and part project manager, Plan goes beyond creating and sharing a team calendar. There’s the ability to create agendas and a working timeline. The team feed can be useful when working together on a project since you can see what’s been completed and solicit ideas.

Plan organizes all of the data you have stored in your calendar, email, Salesforce, Zendesk, and Github. Doing so means that all relevant projects and scheduling information are in one convenient location. Because of this, teams report that they save 15 hours per week.

The plan is free if your startup has no more than four users. For larger groups, the premium plan is $6.67 per user per month.

8. Woven

Woven is an intelligent calendar that uses a visual graph for scheduling and planning. As a result, you can see how you’re spending your time so that you can better manage your days. The app also comes with a virtual assistant that handles all of your scheduling for you.

It also lets your team collaborate on any upcoming events. You can share your schedule via email, text, and Slack to speed up the scheduling process. As of now, Woven syncs seamlessly with Google and G Suite calendars. However, the free tool is working on Office 365 integration.

9. Teamweek

Teamweek is another tool designed with teams in mind. It also takes a more visual approach to planning and scheduling the projects within your startup. Teamweek lets you see what everyone is working on, as well as their progress so that you can hit the goals you’ve set.

Additional features include project roadmaps and timelines for your team. There’s a free plan if you have fewer than five people. But, for larger teams, you’ll have to select a paid plan for $39/month.

10. Trello

Trello is a project management tool. Because of this, it’s ideal for assigning and keeping tabs on tasks and projects. But, what sets it apart from other similar tools is that it uses digital boards.

How does this work exactly? Well, let’s say that you handed off an assignment to someone. You would place a card on the board. Now, when switching to the calendar view, you can see when the task is due. Additionally, you’ll be able to see all due dates on that specific day, week, or month.

8 Rainy-Day Initiatives to Add to Your Online Calendar

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Rainy-Day Activities for Your Online Calendar

There’s no need to wish for the rain to go away — especially right now — we need it so desperately right now. Not only is any precipitation great for the planet — but it gives you an excuse to tackle some indoor projects. The sun will be back soon, and you’ll have plenty of time for those outdoor activities.

Unsure of what to do with your rainy days? If you look around, you’ll always find something. It’s just a matter of finding a spot in your online Calendar. I like to have a rainy day list, so there is no decision to be made — just grab out your list, and you’re in business. Get your list ready now — have your tools in a to-go tote or to-go book bag — and you’ll be excited and ready to grab your supplies (which are always on hand) and go to work.

BTW — I also have a Windy and Snowy day Calendar list. It’s not that you’re stuck indoors, exactly — it’s that you can take a moment to think differently on your Rainy, Windy and Snowy days. You can vary your thinking process to keep your life interesting and supple — and add some deep joy on Rainy, Windy, and Snowy Days.

Rainy Day Ideas for Your Calendar

These eight indoor projects are great additions to your Calendar when rain is in the forecast:

1. Clean Up the House

No matter how hard you try, your home will never be entirely clean. So a rainy day is the perfect opportunity to catch up on house cleaning.

Plan a “spring cleaning” (or fall cleaning) in your online Calendar for the next rainy day in the forecast. Clean the countertops, dust the furniture, move the furniture and vacuum the carpets — and generally give your whole home a polish.

Home improvement projects are also great for a rainy day. Take this opportunity to do some painting or remodeling inside with the time you might’ve spent out in the yard.

2. Read a Book

Is there a book you’ve sworn to read that’s collecting dust on your shelf? Now’s your chance to finally crack it open. For one — if you really want to read a book, read it — don’t wait for a rainy day. But sometimes I find something wonderful in a book — and I save it for this type of opportunity.

There are so many great reads out there to choose from, from creative fiction novels to inspiring self-help books. Scheduling reading time in your online Calendar will make sure you capitalize on a rainy day opportunity.

Reading isn’t just an enjoyable pastime; it’s also incredibly beneficial for your health. Regular reading strengthens your mind, reduces stress, and may even help you live longer. That’s not to mention the lessons we can learn from the greatest minds around the world.

3. Have Some DIY Fun

Taking charge of a project and seeing it to completion can be incredibly gratifying. In addition, tackling a do-it-yourself (DIY) project allows you to develop your skills, discover new hobbies, and refresh your home.

There are countless DIY projects you can tackle. I like to watch for these projects at the quilt store and the hardware store — like watch for some crazy, wild creative pursuit. One time I took pieces of scrap metal (I cut it up) and threw the metal pieces against a piece of pine — then glued the metal on the board where it would have stuck in if I’d tossed hard enough.

It was a blast. When else would I feel I could just relax and do something free like that? Not with the hustle of work — no way — but a rainy day weekend was great. Perhaps you want to try your hand at woodworking to add some handmade decor to the house, or maybe you want to put together a craft to do with your kids. The possibilities are endless.

4. Prepare Next Week’s Meals

Meal preparation helps you eat better throughout the week. Put together a grocery list, put meals on the Calendar, and prepare them as a batch. With meal planning, you can control everything you eat, limiting the amount of fast food, snacks, and junk food you put into your body.

Not only will meal planning improve your health, but it will also save you money. Cooking from home is less expensive than eating out, although it does take some more time and effort. That’s why those rainy days are the perfect time to buckle down and get it done. Having meals ready for the rest of the week is worth it.

While you’re thinking about it, you can clean out the kitchen drawers and under the sink. If you’re low on sponges and disinfecting sprays, be sure you make a note on your grocery list.

4. Hold a Planning Marathon

This is where your online Calendar really comes in handy. When a rainy day disrupts your plans, take the time to make some new ones.

Your weekly and monthly plans can be as detailed as you’d like. When you hold a planning session, you’re able to fit more into your Calendar earlier so that other non-essentials take over your essentials. If you struggle with balancing your activities and responsibilities, then this is the perfect rainy day project for you

5. Clean Out Your Inbox

Managing your email can take a lot of time. If you run a business or work at one that relies heavily on email communication, you’ve experienced the overload and unanswered emails firsthand.

When a rainy day slows things down, take the time to clean out your inbox. Respond to all necessary emails and delete anything that’s not needed. You can even create some folders, such as “read” and “responded to,” to keep your inbox more organized for the future.

6. Make All Your Calls

Got a list of people you’ve needed to talk to? Give them a call while the rain pours down. You can reach out to partners or clients, but don’t forget to give grandma a call as well.

To avoid dropping in without warning on those who wouldn’t appreciate it, you can send scheduling links asking them if they are available for a call that day. Professionals like salespeople and investors can’t always take calls on a whim. You can schedule calls and get many people contacted, as you blast through your home cleaning if you put people on a Calendar schedule and keep calls to about 30 minutes.

7. Purge Your Paperwork.

If your filing system is full of old bank statements and mailers, take a rainy day and toss the junk. Keeping things organized saves you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

When the rain hits, block off time in your Calendar to go through your documents. Remember to save tax forms for at least three years. Shred or burn anything sensitive, so the information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Conclusion

You may not be able to take off work on a rainy day — but learn to appreciate rainy days as your friend. If you live by the ocean — it looks overcast every day, and it’s not rainy. You can get so much done during a rainy day if you put your mind to it. To hold yourself accountable, schedule your activities in your online Calendar.

I also have a windy day schedule and a snowy day schedule on my Calendar. Windy and Snowy days look somewhat like my Rainy day schedule. I used to sell paintings — but I don’t anymore (It’s hard to make a living in visual arts). On Snowy days, I pull out my artwork tools and force myself to begin a new piece. Maybe this piece will be for someone for the holidays or for a client. On Windy days — I try to write a piece of music or practice the piano in a deeper way.

The main point is — use these days as a reminder: rainy, windy, snowy — and catapult your beloved work to a new level. You’ll be amazed at how much richer your life will be — and how much you can accomplish in a few hours spent differently on those days.

Moving? Make it Easier With an Online Calendar

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Moving? Make It Easier With an Online Calendar

Moving to a new city can be equal parts exciting and nerve-wracking. It can also be a logistical nightmare if you’re not prepared for the challenge. There’s no need to make moving harder than it already is. You will likely. move many times in your life for a variety of reasons. Learn how to make the best of the moving process.

To make moving as easy as possible, leverage your online calendar. This wonderful time management tool will help you break down the project at hand, so it’s more easily managed. Check out these 7 online calendar tips for your upcoming move:

Go on a Shopping Trip

What kind of materials do you need to accomplish your move? In most cases, this means acquiring an absurd number of boxes and bags to store your belongings. However, if you don’t have enough, make a trip to get everything you need.

An online calendar can help you plan the most efficient shopping trip ever. Track the best times to miss crowds and traffic, and organize your to-buy list, so you don’t forget a thing.

Hold a Yard Sale

Getting rid of some clutter makes packing up a lot more manageable. Of course, you could throw some stuff away, but you might as well try and land some extra cash by holding a yard sale. Use your online calendar to plan your sale days in advance, leaving enough time to advertise it to the community.

For anything you’re unable to sell, consider donating it to a local charity. This will be one final act of goodwill before you pack up and leave the place you’ve called home for so long. If you have family and close friends around, you can send some gifts to them as well. Many young families will jump at hand-me-down clothes or baby toys.

Organize Your Packing

Once your move is in the works, you’ll need to start packing up your belongings. This will take a lot of time, and isn’t a task you want to put off until the last minute. To ensure it’s all done promptly, organize your efforts with an online calendar.

With this planning tool, you can set aside time every day to chip away at your packing. This way, you can log continuous progress up until the day of the move. Then, stick to your packing schedule, and there will be little to do once that day arrives, saving you a lot of stress and headache.

To further organize your packing, you can break down your time and where you concentrate your efforts. Your schedule can look a little something like this:

  • Monday – Pack any kitchen appliances and dishes you won’t be needing
  • Tuesday – Clear out and box up storage closets and bathroom cupboards
  • Wednesday – Pack the basement and deep clean
  • Thursday – Bubble wrap and box up pictures, wall decor, memory albums, books, and any fragile household items
  • Friday – Pack up guest and laundry rooms as deep clean

Of course, the days and tasks are totally up to you. The important thing here is that focusing on singular tasks will help you be more effective than just chipping away at random little things.

Plan the Trip

Does your move include a cross-country drive hauling a trailer of belongings? If you don’t have the necessary moving equipment, you’ll need to rent some. Moving companies typically charge by the day, so planning an efficient trip can prevent the costs from piling up.

Your online calendar will not only make your drive more efficient but more enjoyable as well. Plan hotel stays and stopping points along your drive, and you’ll make the trip in a timely manner. This will help you get some needed rest and make memories along the way.

Enlist Some Help

On the day your moving truck arrives, there will be a lot of packing and lifting to be done. To get this done as quickly as possible, you can enlist the help of family, friends, and neighbors.

To organize volunteering efforts, make an event in your online calendar. You can share this event with others to collect RSVPs and get all of the work done in a single time period. This will get all hands on deck to complete the project instead of a little bit of help trickling in here and there. You might even whip up a batch of cookies the night before to thank your helpers.

Execute Your Arrival

The move doesn’t end when you arrive at your destination. There will be just as much unpacking to do as there was packing. Everything you did to depart will need to be replicated for your arrival.

You can plan these efforts the same way you organized your leaving. Enlist help, have cleaning supplies handy, set time for unboxing, and make a plan to follow in your online calendar. This will help make it less of a chore and allow you to better settle into your new home.

Get Familiar With Your New Home

Unless you’re moving back to a previous residence, there will be a lot of unknowns in your new hometown. You will need to get familiarized with key locations such as gas stations, schools, and grocery stores. You’ll also be interested in hitting up local sites like movie theaters and parks for entertainment.

Schedule times to hit the town in your online calendar. This way, you can see as much as possible in the shortest amount of time. In addition, the more comfortable you get with your new surroundings, the sooner you can call it home.

Leaving one place in favor of another is a challenge in itself. There are so many things to get accustomed to, and the difficulty of moving shouldn’t stop you from making the transition as positive as possible. Use these tips and your online calendar to make moving a cinch, and get down to business in your new home.

9 Pro Tips for Conducting a Hybrid Meeting

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9 Pro Tips for Conducting a Hybrid Meeting

As companies return to having employees in the office, they may realize hybrid operations are a must. 

Now instead of having meetings with everyone in person or everyone online, you need a hybrid solution. However, this solution creates a new set of meeting challenges to overcome. 

Here are a few smart tips for including video attendees in important in-person meetings without making it awkward for everyone.

1. Share the Agenda

Meetings run smoother when you have an agenda and stick to it during the meeting—sharing it before the session helps attendees prepare. It also helps keeps remote workers connected so they know what is going on and meeting expectations. Add any online references or links to resources that everyone will need. The central information center will help keep the entire team in sync.

2. Use the Most Current Technology

If your conference room equipment hasn’t been updated in a while, now is the time to do it. After a year of everyone being on video conferencing, people expect to see and hear everything clearly. As a result, old conference room telephone systems and outdated audio need to be replaced to keep remote participants engaged.

Don’t forget to check for software updates too. For example, platforms are adding emoji options to give video participants ways to react and share feedback without disrupting the meeting. Some providers are also developing new tools so participants in the room can use chat along with online members. 

3. Show Everyone’s Face if Possible

Remind online participants to keep their videos running and show their faces. If that isn’t possible, encourage them to use a professional headshot for their off-video setting. You also want to have cameras set up in the conference room to capture people’s faces in the room. 

It also helps if you can use a big screen to show the gallery view of participants. Helping everyone be able to see each other’s faces and expressions builds a connection with online participants. In addition, it helps remind speakers to make eye contact with people not in the room by looking at the camera as another person in the room.

4. Start the Video Before the Meeting Starts

Assign someone to start the online meeting room before the official start of the meeting. This can serve a couple of purposes. First, it’s a good time to troubleshoot any technical issues. Second, it gives you a chance to ensure video and audio are working so you can save the meeting time for the agenda.

Finally, it also gives online participants a chance to accomplish a tech check of their own. They’ll be more engaged and less stressed if they aren’t trying to fix their tech issues after the meeting has started.

As a bonus, they’ll be able to take part in the informal conversations and watercooler talk that happens between in-person attendees while they are waiting for meetings to start.

5. Discourage Side Conversations

Online members can’t hear what’s being said clearly when more than one person is talking. Microphones will pick up the side conversations, even whispered sounds. It’s a sign of respect to your video participants to make sure only one person is talking. That way, everyone can hear and participate.

Sometimes the conversation may get exciting, and people try to talk over each other. You may want to add a touch of humor and a trick to moderate this by using a physical “talking stick.” The only person allowed to talk is the person with the stick. When they are finished, they can pass the stick to the next person. The meeting leader should proactively make sure that online members get a virtual stick and a chance to speak too. 

6. Be Deliberate to Include Online Members

It’s easy to overlook people who aren’t in the room. To keep them connected and engaged, be deliberate about making sure to include them. For example, when the meeting starts, greet them by name and ask them to recap their weekend. Giving them a chance to share helps people in the room connect with the virtual audience as well.

As the meeting occurs, don’t forget to ask those on video if they have questions or comments. And remember, silence can be your friend here. It may take people a moment to come off mute, so don’t be in a rush to fill the quiet.  

At the end of the meeting, go around and ask everyone for their takeaway from the meeting. And start with those online. That guarantees members have a chance for any final questions or comments they needed to add. 

7. Plan Facilitation Help

Meeting leaders may find it helpful to ask a co-worker in the room to act as a facilitator. Their role here is to watch the online participants for indications they need to add a comment. For example, virtual members may turn off mute or use the raise hand function to indicate they want to speak. If members in the room don’t notice, the facilitator should mention it to the room so the online members can share. 

8. Use Group Collaboration Tools

Many times, meetings include whiteboard activities. Most platforms have added virtual whiteboards that video participants can also see. If the virtual whiteboard isn’t an option, make sure you have a way of showing the papers in the room on camera so that everyone can read them.

Another good practice is to use polling software that can consolidate responses from people in the room and online. That may mean employees in the room also need to have an online device with them in the meeting. Let them know this ahead of the meeting to have their device with them and the app installed.

9. Get Feedback

As people start returning to offices and in-person meetings, hybrid meeting practices will grow and evolve. Seek feedback from meeting attendees. Ask them to rate the meeting and provide suggestions for how to improve the experience. It may also help to make sure facilitators occasionally attend hybrid meetings virtually. This first-hand experience will help them get a feel for the online experience and what can be done better.

Conclusion

A recent survey conducted by McKinsey shows that nine out of ten executives expect to have hybrid work. Moreover, as people return to in-person operations, most people expect more remote work than before the pandemic.

The tips above can help make sure your hybrid meeting runs smoothly and keep everyone engaged wherever they happen to be located.

Your Calendar Will Help Make Your Camping Trip a Success

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Your Calendar Will Help Make Your Camping Trip a Success

Remember going camping as a kid? Even if it was only a few times growing up, camping trips make for enjoyable summer memories for the whole family. So invite friends and family — and have a blast!

Your Calendar Will Help Make Your Camping Trip a Success

Unfortunately, many people don’t have great memories of camping — but everyone needs to say they’ve camped at least once in their lives. I call it “life lessons and learning.” And, yes, I laugh when I say that. But, whether the former camping trip was boring, got rained on, or someone was eaten alive by mosquitos — some things can get in the way of a good time. Prevent catastrophe from striking your camping trip by organizing your efforts with your Calendar. Here’s how:

Choosing Dates

Hey, you only have about six weeks before the kids are back in school — so get cracking! First things first, you must select the dates of your camping trip in advance. Very rarely will an impromptu trip work out well, especially for larger families and all of their different schedules. However, some of our impromptu trips ended up the best ever —  so don’t discount that possibility.

Using your Calendar allows you to view all of these conflicting schedules and find free days for everyone. Then, once the date is chosen — create a Calendar event and share it with everyone who plans to attend so that they don’t end up booking something for the dates selected.

Remembering to Pack

Nothing is worse than arriving at your location and realizing you forgot to pack something important. Don’t let that happen to you by setting one or several reminders in your online Calendar. I, for one, always have camping specifics in a packed bag so I can just look through the items and make sure they aren’t out of date.

You can set a reminder for virtually anything you think you might forget. For example, a Calendar notification will help you get out the door at the right time. Another event will remind you to make a trip to the store to get all the snacks and supplies you need.

You will also find it useful to set a reminder to make sure you double-check your home, set the lock, turn the camera on, check the auto sprinklers, let the neighbor know to pick up mail. I keep this same list for trips on my Calendar, so I don’t have to write a new list each time we go somewhere. That puts everything in order before leaving town for a few days. I also have a “before you go cleaning list” to not be overwhelmed when I return home.

Planning the Road Trip

The best camping spots are usually a long-distance away. Those drives can get pretty grueling, especially for young kids and big families. Your Calendar will come in handy for planning the upcoming road trip and making it as painless as possible.

Most National Parks have a number you can call and select your date and reserve your spot. You have to be there by a certain time (usually 6:00 PM) or give them a late check-in time. If you aren’t there on time — the park will give away your spot.

Looking for a spot to camp at midnight, especially if you’ve brought a baby along, is not a pretty sight. And sleeping in the car because you lost your camping spot tends to be the memory that sticks with your fam and friends forever.

Thanks to GPS technology, you don’t have to plan your route as extensively as in generations past. However, it may be worth your time to plan some stops along the way. For example, optimize your bathroom and lunch breaks or scope out some roadside attractions that are worth checking out.

Plan these out in advance, and you can make the drive more enjoyable while still making it to your campsite at a reasonable hour.

Creating an Itinerary

Camping is so much more than sleeping in a tent on the hard ground. What makes camping worth it is all the activities you plan throughout the day. Your Calendar will help you create the perfect itinerary to fill your days with plenty of activities.

Do you want to go on a family hike? You want to plan water activities when it’s the warmest and plan everything else around it. We like to take our bikes and have a big long bike trip around the lake early while it’s still cool and then have lake time to cool off around noon or 1:00 PM. You could also check to see if the park rents bikes, paddle boats, or canoes. That way you don’t have to bring your own. But all these types of activities and questions can be answered by making an itinerary for your trip.

There’s also some merit in making time to do nothing but relax and get lost in your surroundings. Feel free to include your personal “away” time on your Calendar as well. Especially if it’s a high priority to you. If you’re an adventurous type, you can also freestyle the trip and see where it takes you.

As a footnote, your Calendar doesn’t always have to be online in order to be helpful. While traveling, you can still access the itinerary in offline mode. Thankfully there are fewer places where you won’t have cell service. But be aware no cell service does occur. Sometimes I take a screenshot of my Calendar so I have it in my photos if cell service is not to be had.

Getting Work Done

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean the work has stopped. If you’re taking a weekday trip, you’ll need to ask for time off and might need to get some extra work done before you embark. Even a weekend outing can be a little stressful if you get home late Sunday night and need to get things ready to go to the office the following morning.

This is the perfect opportunity to use your Calendar for what it does best; time management. Leading up to your trip, try using time blocking or experiment with the Pomodoro Technique to get as much work done as possible so that you can take a camping trip without stressing about missing work.

Your Calendar will help you make a seamless return as well. You can organize all of your meetings and deadlines ahead of time to arrange your entire schedule before you even leave for your trip. Then, once you make it back home, all you have to do is check your Calendar for everything that needs to be done next.

Recording Memories

Just as was mentioned from the start, the goal of a camping trip is to have fun and make memories. Therefore, every event and note you add to your Calendar will serve as a reminder of the fun you had even long after the trip has finished.

You can also use your online Calendar to plan out a scrapbook or photo album of all the camping trips you ever take. This is a more visual and organized way to preserve memories for a very long time.

You can have a lot of fun roughing it if you come prepared. Before you leave to come home from a trip (camping or otherwise), get everyone to share photos from your phones. I put a reminder in my Calendar because sharing photos has become such a staple of our adventures and the highlight of our trips now.

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