Everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day. However, not all hours are created equally.
Some people seem to get more productivity out of their time than others. Meanwhile, others can’t seem to catch their breath, and before they know it, another work day has slipped by.
And we cannot forget the importance of time management!
Prioritizing, scheduling, effective communication, and project management – these seemingly innocuous things all add up to a more productive work day.
More productivity means more dollars in the back for a business owner, like a real estate agent or a photographer.
Managing your time does not need to be overly complicated. It just takes some organization and discipline. And, a couple of time management and scheduling tools don’t hurt, either.
When you are able to plan out blocks of time in your day in advance, with speed and efficiency, you will notice that you will feel less rushed and less burdened by impending deadlines.
If you work as part of a team, you need to figure out how to communicate effectively and manage your projects so that everyone is always on the same page.
Effectively managing a team and multiple deadlines is both a science and a fine art, and it all comes down to scheduling and managing time and priorities in a way that feels second nature and transparent to everyone.
Incorporating some time management and scheduling tools into your business day-to-day does not need to be cumbersome or elaborate. In fact, there are many tools and applications that are perfectly suited for small businesses and solopreneurs, such as realtors and photographers.
Some tools will work better for you than others, but we have done some research for you and come up with a short list of time management and scheduling tools that may help you be more productive when it comes to running your business.
In all likelihood, you have used or at least heard of Google Calendar.
This no-frills, easy-to-use, and free tool is perfect for tracking your appointments and sending you reminders throughout your day.
It is very convenient and effective for realtors and photographers who are constantly on the go, who need to adhere to a set schedule.
Because it is part of Google’s G Suite, it integrates seamlessly with other useful business apps, such as Gmail, Drive, Contacts, Sites, Sheets, Docs, and Hangouts.
If you’re working as part of a team, you’d be able to share your calendar with your workmates, check each other’s availability, and schedule meetings and appointments accordingly.
And, you can do all of this from your computer, phone, and/or tablet.
What Google calendar lacks, however, is a feature that makes scheduling fast and easy – but, keep reading because we will cover some options for that now.
You Can Book Me
Now that you have a calendar tracking system in place, wouldn’t it be great if someone could just magically schedule all your appointments for you?
You Can Book Me is a tool that will automate your scheduling for you.
The first step is to link your You Can Book Me account to your Google Calendar, and set your availability.
This means you can block out certain days and times when you do not wish to take calls or meetings.Once you’ve done that, you can publish your booking grid and share it via your company website, Facebook page, or email.
Now, your clients can book an appointment with you at whatever time is convenient for them. Your availability is updated in real-time.
This eliminates the need for you and your client to go back and forth with calls and emails to set up a time for your meeting. Just think of how much of your time will be saved in this regard alone!
You and your clients will get notifications and reminders once the appointment has been set, so that everyone is kept on track and on schedule.
If your client needs to reschedule, they can do so simply within the You Can Book Me tool, without involving you – again, protecting your valuable time.
Furthermore, you are able to customize your booking grid so that it blends in with your website’s company branding.
There is a fee to use You Can Book Me, so crunch the numbers figure out how much a tool like this will save you in time and hassle, and how that translates into dollars.
Calendly serves a similar function as You Can Book Me, but has a basic package that is available for free.
Calendly’s basic package will also allow you to integrate with Google Calendar (or Office 365, Outlook, and iCloud).
You can then set your availability and the times and durations of your appointments, just as in You Can Book Me.
You will then get a customizable link to your booking grid, which you can then share with your clients and team, but Calendly’s branding cannot be removed with the free version.
There are, of course, many more features offered with Calendly’s paid packages.
Once you’ve got the tools in place to help you keep track of your calendar and schedule your appointments, you will need a tool to help with communication.
If you are managing or working within a team, back-and-forth communication between members can be a drain on your time if you’re not careful.
Miscommunication and missed deadlines are even worse.
Slack is a simple tool that allows you to organize group conversations in one place. This will facilitate your workflow and ideally save you time.
This tool allows you to easily search and find all of your files, calls, messages, and colleagues – again, all in one centralized platform.
Slack also integrates with other tools, such as Google Drive, making it easy to share large files – such as photos from a recent shoot you might be editing with a team.
Slack is easy to use, and you can get started for free. Next time you talk to another photographer, prospect, or customer say, “You can slack me”.
Trello is a powerful project management tool.
It is an easy way to organize your to-do lists and facilitate communication with other people involved.
Trello has a very visual interface, making it easy for you and your team to get a quick and accurate overview of your project status.
Within Trello, you create a card and assign a task to it. You can then add members to this card and incorporate checklists, add comments, attach files, set a due date, and get notifications whenever someone has added to a card.
Trello is a great way to stay on task, on schedule, and delegate tasks to various team members.
Time is money in the business world. Taking control of your time is essential to running your small business effectively and efficiently. Thankfully, there are many online business tools that you can use that will help you with managing your calendar, scheduling appointments, communication with groups of people, and project management. Google Calendar, You Can Book Me, Calendly, Slack, and Trello are some popular business tools that can help you get more one in a work day.
Stay tuned for our final part of our Small Business series as we dive into the world of file sharing business tools.
Thank you again to our iGUIDE Operators that started the business tools conversation.