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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. 

5 Practical Tips for Keeping Your Team Organized

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5 Practical Tips for Keeping Your Team Organized

Your business might be made up of an organized, established, everyday team, or you might be assembling a project-oriented team to address a specific issue. Whatever the case, we all know that throwing people together on a team can produce mixed results. Productivity and effectiveness can vary widely based on skills, experience, personality, or simply placing the wrong person in the driver’s seat.

Whether your team is permanent or temporary, there are some basic, commonsense principles to apply. The way you handle team expectations can make or break any initiative.

Here are five tips you can use or modify to suit specific team needs.

1. Pick your communication tools carefully and use them effectively.

Nowadays, there are a number of communication tools designed to help teams share issues and progress. Effective and timely communication often makes the difference between project completion and seemingly endless delays. If you’re not currently using something to facilitate communication within teams, you might consider looking for a solution that works well in your particular context. Here are some options:

  • Trello allows users to create “cards” that help organize a list of tasks to be completed. Each card may include a checklist to indicate progress. All of your team members have the ability to edit a card, which makes for easier collaboration.
  • Asana limits the number of team members to 15. It features user-friendly “like” and “thumbs up” functions. The ability to view the popularity of an entry at a glance can bring enhanced clarity for decision-making. It can also cut down dramatically on the need for meetings.
  • Slack functions as a chat room for teams. Team members can get quick responses from colleagues even when they are scattered across the globe. Businesses that implement Slack tend to notice a sharp drop-off in the need to send and receive emails.
  • Basecamp syncs to Google Drive and Google Calendar and offers a cloud-based solution that tracks both productivity and time spent on specific projects. Companies that bill based on staff time tend to use Basecamp to evaluate ROI by project, customer, and assigned staff.
  • Teamwork Projects works best by breaking down large tasks into bite-size chunks and assigning them out to individuals. Each subtask can be given specific milestones and deadlines.

2. Use a team calendar for organized project reporting.

Your team members are routinely walking around with more computing horsepower in their pocket than was necessary to put Apollo 11 on the moon. You should only leverage smartphone apps to keep team members on task without being intrusive. While these devices make it possible for your team members to work constantly, you also want to avoid burning them out.

Step one is to create a project calendar on a platform that provides easy access to all staff. Many apps offer a granular approach to permission setting such that various team members can merely comment while others can make deadline edits. When setting up your team calendar, make sure you select a resource that allows you to evaluate progress regularly.

3. Assign specific tasks to specific individuals.

The importance of giving team members both responsibility and ownership can hardly be overstated. When these are lacking, confusion reigns and employees are encouraged to play a perpetual game of Pass the Buck.

Making sure an individual knows and accepts responsibility for the completion of a specific task is an art. If you are too “soft” or otherwise unclear, this can serve as an invitation to not take deadlines and milestones seriously. Should you veer into the opposite ditch and become overly authoritarian, you stifle employees’ willingness to be creative.

If you notice specific tasks that are falling behind schedule, reach out to the responsible team member privately. It may be necessary to reassign that individual, but they will appreciate your not shaming them in a team meeting. Another benefit is that you will learn things in a one-on-one conversation that you will never hear in a group setting.

4. Make team responsibilities organized and abundantly clear.

Be clear on roles and responsibilities. If team members must come to you or another manager to address every problem that arises, you can expect the team to get bogged down in frequent delays. Head off this common issue by designating a team leader to handle team problems. Each task should have one identified person responsible for reporting back.

Resist micromanagement. Give team members the authority to create subchannels using your communications tool. Encourage efficiency by allowing people to communicate only with the people affected by a specific issue. Allowing subchannel chatter encourages people to take greater ownership and frees you from managing the minutiae of every task.

Establishing responsibilities in this manner will make your team more efficient, as people can keep working without stopping to ask permission for every move they make. Clarify which types of issues require your approval. The rest of the time, your team can take primary responsibility for the details.

5. Hold only necessary meetings and require actionable agendas.

Keep organized team meetings few and short. Experiment with allowing meetings to last no longer than 15 minutes. After all, the purpose of meetings is to decide upon a course of action. Far too many discussions end up devolving into purposeless chatter. Make it clear that each team member should leave every meeting with action items.

As many meetings now occur remotely, inform team members that being on time and well prepared are still requirements. Urge your meeting moderator to avoid statements such as, “We still have 10 minutes left. Is there anything else?” Such questions imply that the purpose of the meeting is to use up the time rather than create a to-do list.

Once you draw up the action items, dismiss everyone. Results-oriented discussions help make meetings painless.

Keep in mind that “Your mileage may vary.”

Every business is unique. Even upper-level franchise managers will tell you that “identical” locations can vary greatly from another simply due to issues of geography, culture, population, and climate. The organizational principles listed above may or may not work flawlessly in your setting, so feel free to experiment with the practices that draw the best response from your team.

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